Interesting Videoclips of the Week (June 27 – July 4)

Editor’s Note: In this series of articles, we include important or interesting videoclips with brief comments. Our Web Software does not permit embedding of the clips into our articles. So we shall have to be content to include the links to the actual videoclips. We are very happy with the response of readers to this series of articles. We thank them sincerely and profusely.

This is an article that expresses our personal opinions about comments made on Television and in Print.  It is NOT intended to provide any investment advice of any type whatsoever.  No one should base any investing decisions or conclusions based on anything written in or inferred from this article. Investing is a serious matter and all investment decisions should only be taken after a detailed discussion with your investment advisor and should be subject to your objectives, suitability requirements and risk tolerances.

This was a short week and no one day dominated the videoclips segment as in previous weeks. The eventful day of the week as Thursday when the jobs number came out and disappointed investors sold & sold. The word ugly describes it completely.

This week we feature the following videoclips:

  • Discussion between Liz Cheney, former Dep. Asst. Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs with Greta Van Sustrand of Fox
  • Rich Harvard Poor Harvard – Vanity Fair writer Nina Munk with CNBC
  • David Rosenberg on CNBC Fast Money
  • Finding Wall Street Jobs – Career Coach Charlotte Lee on CNBC
  • Dennis Kneale of CNBC on a rant against Bloggers

1. Is Secretary Clinton bossing the President? or is the other way around? – Liz Cheney on Fox with Greta Van Sustrand – Wednesday, July 1 – 10 pm

The title of the clip belongs to Fox. No one else can turn an intelligent, rational debate into a farce with such a title. The expert guest on the show was Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney and a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs in the George W. Bush Administration. We realize that these two sentences are enough for many readers to skip this interview.

They should not. This is really a rational, sedate and thoughtful clip. Ms. Cheney is a professional diplomat and she speaks not about the policy but how policy seems to be made in the Obama Administration.

Ms. Cheney points out that in prior administrations, “it is the Secretary of State & the National Security Adviser who are the face” of foreign policy issues whereas the Obama Administration put out David Axelrod, their political strategist to discuss Iran. Her basic thesis centers around the following comment:

  • “I think, it is causing some people to have concerns about what role Secretary Clinton is able to play and what success she has, what role the National Security Advisor Jim Jones has and whether the people who really have the President’s ear on foreign policy are his political strategists..”
This reminded us of our conjectures expressed in our June 20 article Bernanke-Greenspan, Bush-Obama & An 18th Century French Diplomat.

  • In that article, we wrote, “President Obama has centralized power in his White House to an unprecedented extent. There is no policy that the Obama White House does not control completely. He has appointed several czars that report to his White House team thereby reducing his cabinet to being royal sycophants. He has even marginalized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by his appointment of czars for every important region.”
As we said, watch this clip.

2. Rich Harvard Poor Harvard – Vanity Fair Writer Nina Munk
on CNBC – Thursday, July 2 -1:40 pm

                              (photograph – Vanity Fair)

The July 7 issue of Vanity Fair will feature this article and writer Nina Munk gave a preview of sorts to Michelle Caruso Cabrera and Sue Herrera of CNBC. The travails of Harvard Endowment are widely known. The Endowment “lost” about $8 billion in 2008, a staggering sum. Writer Munk describes this as the
“worst, most dangerous crisis” in Harvard’s 373-year history.

The list of people to blame includes Larry Summers, National Economics Council Chair and President Obama’s main economic adviser as well as Mohamed El-Erian, now the CEO of Pimco, the largest bond manager in the world.

This is an interesting clip to say the least and we urge readers to watch it. For more details about the article, go to Rich Harvard Poor Harvard preview on Vanity Fair website.

We were very impressed by the following comment and question by CNBC’s Michelle Caruso Cabrera:

  • “A frequent guest here on CNBC is Mohamed El-Erian. He is now the CEO of Pimco. We have been interviewing him for years. He is lauded. You know, Squawk Box calls him one of their Icons and Rebels. He ran the (Harvard) Endowment for little less than 2 years. Some people say very nasty things about him in this article. Give us a sense, our viewers would like to know, how much of a role do you think he played specifically in the problems of Harvard?”
Writer Munk does not really answer this question and basically says she has not figured out who is to blame for all the problems. The answer does not impress us but the question does. It is an extremely rare occurrence at CNBC when an Anchor acts like a true journalist and asks a question that might embarrass another CNBC show, & that too a franchise show like the 3-hour Squawk Box.

Kudos to Michelle Caruso Cabrera for her courage and spirit. We fervently wish that other CNBC Anchors learn from her example.

3. Outside the Stocks & Economy To Pick Up in Q3? – David Rosenberg on CNBC Fast Money – Tuesday, June 30 – 5:14 pm

These are two different segments and clips. The first clip is a conversation between Anchor Melissa Lee and Trader Karen Finerman. The second clip is an interview with David Rosenberg, the economist with the best forecasting record about the current state of the US economy.

The entire object of the first clip seems to be to provide Karen Finerman a platform to describe her views about US Treasuries.

  • Anchor Lee – “I know Karen, you still believe in the TBT trade (double short Treasuries ETF)
  • Karen Finerman – “Absolutely, I don’t love that ETF as an instrument, but it is an easy way. Nothing really has changed for me, the idea that we have so much debt yet to come & we will potentially have some inflation numbers sometime in the next few months..I can’t see is it possible we don’t have that? Yes it is possible but it does not seem to be the most like it outcome. That’s the trade I like for the next quarter, for the next year”
Watch the clip and notice that Anchor Lee does not ask any questions of Karen Finerman. Also notice that Joe Terranova, Guy Adami and Pete Najarian do not challenge Karen Finerman or ask a single question. Heck, they do not even offer a comment.

The second clip is an interview by David Rosenberg, the former Chief Economist of Merrill Lynch. Mr. Rosenberg has had the best track record in guiding investors through the economic mess in 2008. Mr. Rosenberg has also been the Biggest Bull on US Treasuries. So we were all ears to hear Mr. Rosenberg’s views about buying US Treasuries and his rebuttal of Karen Finerman’s opinion.

We waited in vain. Anchor Melissa Lee did NOT ask a single question about US Treasuries or even the best investment in today’s economy. She kept asking Mr. Rosenberg about his views about the equity market. When Mr. Rosenberg sounded bearish, CNBC Trader Joe Terranova attacked him.

So there you have it. Fast Money Anchor Lee asks Karen Finerman, an equity hedge fund manager, to bash US Treasuries without a single question or challenge and then Anchor Lee refuses to ask the biggest Treasury Bull on Wall Street his views about US Treasuries. To add insult to injury, Trader Joe Terranova becomes a silent accessory to Karen Finerman but attacks David Rosenberg. The other two traders, Guy Adami and Pete Najarian stay silent.

In clip 8 of our last week’s article, we asked
whether protecting the reputation or ratings of Karen Finerman is more important to Fast Money than making money for viewers or protecting viewers from losses by sticking with a losing trade. Is this why Fast Money has NEVER invited any big name expert to recommend long maturity Treasuries and thereby refute Karen Finerman’s trading convictions?”

We let our readers decide whether Fast Money behavior towards Karen Finerman and David Rosenberg provides evidence to support our question.

This is an important debate. We have argued that securing a Safe Income Stream in one of the most critical needs of today’s Income-Starved America (see our 
May 30 article America’s Income Problem), the sort of safe income stream provided by US Treasuries.

We have no quarrel against Karen Finerman. She is a trader and she is entitled to her investment opinion. We just wish that she would disclose to viewers that she is mainly an equities manager and NOT a Treasuries investor.

But we have deep discomfort about the behavior of Anchor Melissa Lee and the Fast Money Management. This week, they refused to allow the biggest bull on Treasuries to give his Buy Treasuries recommendation on Fast Money. 

In our opinion, this behavior is in the worst traditions of CNBC. It is eerily similar to the 1999-2000 “Qualcomm, Qualcomm” chant of Kernan-Faber and their unabashed, shrill exhortation to viewers to buy overpriced, bubblicious technology stocks in late 1999 and early 2000. We had heard then that they did not allow their guests to sound bearish on Technology stocks. The above two clips show that Fast Money Anchor Melissa Lee and the show’s management are behaving in the same manner today about US Treasuries.  

4. Finding Wall Street Jobs – Career Coach Charlotte Lee on CNBC
– Thursday, July 2 – 10:16 am

Charlotte Lee was advertised on this clip as a career coach and a former investment banker. She discusses the state of today’s hiring on Wall Street and gives her opinions about how to get an interview as well as how to behave during the interview.

We urge readers to watch this clip if they are interested in getting a job on Wall Street. If they know someone who is, they should send this clip to them. Ms. Lee offers sensible and practical opinions.

5. Dennis Lets Bloggers Have It – CNBC’s Dennis Kneale Rants against Bloggers – Tuesday, June 30 – 8:02 pm
This is the most hilarious clip of the week. CNBC Anchor Dennis Kneale took offense at some blogs that had expressed negative comments about him. So on Tuesday, June 30, he went on a rant against them. This is a much watch clip and below we present some juicy excerpts of Mr. Kneale’s monologue.

  • “I had predicted on Friday night that some cynical, mean-spirited bloggers would trash me for this end-of-recession proclamation. They haven’t let me down.Their invective is lighting up the dark, anonymous and cowardly corners of the bloggosphere”

  • Then Mr. Kneale repeats some of the adjectives used by the bloggers to describe his show and emphasizes what he apparently considers to be the worst insult “comparing me to watching a 350 lb woman in a thong bikini on the beach(careful, Mr. Kneale – you might have offended aficionados of what you describe if they exist – you should always add the seinfeldian “not that there is anything wrong with it” disclaimer after expressing your contempt of the physique of any group of human beings).

  • Then Mr. Kneale addresses his critics “you digital dickweed & I say dickweed became it is indeed a plant” and adds that “name calling is a lingua franca of the bloggosphere”.
Now comes the most interesting part. Mr. Kneale says:

  • “We contacted 7 different bloggers who have taken a shot at me from their dark and cozy safety of their mother’s basements, I presume, and we invited them to come on air & have at it.”
Apparently, six of the seven bloggers refused to go on air with Dennis Kneale. One did and his conversation is best heard on the clip. Frankly, it is a pretty tame affair.

What do we have to say for ourselves and our blog after Mr. Kneale’s diatribe against bloggers?

  1. We were not contacted by either Dennis Kneale or any one else at CNBC.
  2. If contacted and invited, we would happy to defend our criticism in person on air with any CNBC anchor.
  3. Our criticism of CNBC is straightforward and based on issues. We, like countless viewers, rely on CNBC for fast, accurate and UNBIASED information as well as a diverse set of opinions about financial markets. When CNBC acts in our interests, we applaud it and when CNBC hurts our interests to protect their short term ratings, we criticize it. It is as simple as that. We will defend our opinions any day and twice on Sunday. 

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