New York (Times & CNBC) vs. Washington (Post & MSNBC) – III

In our article “New York Times vs. Washington Post”on June 28, we listed some structural reasons why the New York Times is pulling so far ahead of the Washington Post –

  • New York is a diverse city with a global outlook. Washington DC is still a parochial city focused inwards. 

  • New York competes with London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and Mumbai every single day in finance, media, arts, trade and tourism. Washington DC does not have to compete because it inherits its standing from the White House and the Congress.  Take away the seat of executive and legislative power. Washington DC will instantly become a trivial city.

  • New York is a stunningly diverse city. Just take the subway one day and see for yourself. Washington DC is far more ethnically concentrated. This lack of diversity shows up in the outlook of the Washington Post.
We ended the article with the comment, “The fact is that New York is a self-confident city that builds and sustains its own magic whereas Washington DC is an inheritor of history. In any society and in any field, I will take a builder over an inheritor any day.”

Washington Post made our case for us last week. Usually, the opinion page of the Washington Post mirrors the ethnic concentration of Washington DC. This week, the Post decided to experiment with diversity by publishing an opinion from an Indian writer. But the Post remained true to the dominant influence of its city. They featured Shashi Tharoor, an Indian Bureaucrat who served as an undersecretary of the United Nations.

Washington Post should watch CNBC to see how many qualified, articulate, entrepreneurial people of Indian origin are available in America to discuss India. The easiest way would be to watch Erin Burnett’s lovely special on India; they would see about 10 exceptional Indians who can add far more value than any bureaucrat (see our May 16 article “Erin Burnett’s One Hour Special on India – Truly Must Watch TV on CNBC”–must-watch-tv-on-cnbc.aspx)

We are, of course, partial to New York (see our article “Living in Manhattan – A Personal and A Bollywood View” – July–a-personal-and-a-bollywood-view.aspx). But our views of New York and Washington DC are based on demonstrable evidence as well as the structural reasons outlined above.

Compare CNBC and MSNBC for example. Two networks within the same corporate family, NBC Universal; CNBC, which takes its inspiration from New York City and MSNBC, which relies on Washington DC for much of its content. 

CNBC is the probably the most global network in America, in mindset as well as reach. Erin Burnett and Maria Bartiromo, the two CNBC stars, between themselves cover more globally powerful people and issues than all of MSNBC combined.

In contrast, MSNBC has become very parochial and narrow-minded. Its star anchors, especially Chris Mathews, seem to have lost their sense of balance as well as decorum. MSNBC has become so bad that we simply do not watch it any more. After all, why watch Chris Mathews when we can watch Larry Kudlow? Both are opinionated and strident. But, Chris operates on raw emotion and deep personal bias whereas Larry Kudlow is constrained by the rigor of the markets. Larry’s guests include luminaries and experts like Fed Governors and Gary Shilling whereas Chris’s guests include other Washington DC reporters and bloggers. 

Mr. Jeff  Zucker, listen to us! If you want to save MSNBC, staff its evening programs with genuine CNBC New York talent like Jim Cramer, Larry Kudlow, Mark Haines, Joe Kernan, Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett (in order of opinionatedness!). This team will do a far better job covering the Election than the line-up you have today. You will have high ratings, increased revenue and lower costs. If you do that, then maybe just maybe, you could persuade GE stock to actually go up.

In conclusion, let us point out the most incontrovertible evidence we can present about New York and Washington DC:

We could not think of a single Bollywood song clip shot in Washington DC, whereas we have presented our readers with 5 superb Bollywood song clips about Manhattan.
Quod Erat Demonstrandum!

Editor’s Note: The 5 Bollywood clips about New York City can be found at:

  1. “125th Anniversary of Manhattan’s Brooklyn Bridge – Celebration Bollywood Style” – May 31, 2008 ––celebration-bollywood-style.aspx

  2. “The American Dream – Realized, Lost, Then Slowly, Painfully Regained – A Pure New York City Story” – July 5, 2008 ––realized-lost-and-slowly-painfully–regained–a-pure-new-york-city-story.aspx

  3.   “Living in Manhattan – A Personal and A Bollywood View” – July 5, 2008 ––a-personal-and-a-bollywood-view.aspx

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