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« ETF Update: Strength in Coal? Really? | Main | Learning from Mistakes: The Short Sale Ban »

December 23, 2008



Steve -- I had several emails from people offering the same advice. It is good advice for viewers with motives that we share.

Meanwhile, it is all about ratings. This is true not only for CNBC but for newspapers, and blogs. The best way to get a big audience is to find the appetite and feed it. CNBC does this. So do all of the big blogs, if one measures success by readership. Think Rush Limbaugh.

Thanks for the good comment.


Steve S

CNBC has without a doubt gone off the deep end. Their programming has turned into an endless stream of debates, arguments and shouting matches. Of course, they are a business, and their goal is higher ratings in order to attract ad revenue. So aren't we to blame for their devolution? The solution? Stop watching! Turn on Bloomberg for a change and rediscover financial journalism.


RB -- Good thoughts on the time frame. I have checked out your links -- sources that I also follow, but had not caught up yet.

As a regular reader you know my position on time frames for data analysis. Academics get papers published for doing innovative things. The overwhelming impulse is to use all data.

My approach is that one should begin by asking the question of how far back we can go and still be relevant. This is a question that is not often asked by the academic writer, despite the policy relevance. I need to review the paper before saying more.

Meanwhile, it seems obvious to me that many things are different. Stock option trading began in the 70's, for example. Can we really go back to a time before any financial derivatives, any computers, and whatever economic knowledge has been created, and still make valid forecasts?

BTW, I do not necessarily focus on 1987 for all purposes. I can see the need to write further on this, and you have put it on the agenda.

Thanks for a typically thoughtful and helpful contribution.



I should have linked to this post instead.


Off-topic but in the past you have held up the post-1987 period as the appropriate timeframe for comparison. I believe you have attributed this partly to the success of the Federal Reserve and the rise of econometrics as also witnessed in shorter recessions during this period. You have even commented about this in a recent post .

There is also a lovely Bespoke chart that shows the same.

But Christina Romer has apparently come to a different conclusion .
Any comments?


Couldn't agree more. I written to CNBC several times over the past couple of months complaining about: 1) Dylan and his non-stop ranting about "transparency, consumer confidence, lack of accountability and financial exec bonuses, 2) Kudlow and his "drill, drill, drill" first and incessant "mustard seeds".

They're probably all trying to copy Cramer's now famous "they know nothing" and current "fire Chris Cox" rants. It may be entertainment but it's definitely not unbiased business news.

Russ Wood

I enjoyed the post and it is a great reminder to pay attention to the information (or lack thereof) we receive.
However, I don't see a solution. It seems to me to be the result of our own preferences in a free media mariket. If we wanted to watch a slower, more thoughtful program, where the on air talent were real journalists instead of pretty faces needing to be fed questions by producers, we would. Instead, we get our best information from more deliberate and thoughtful sources, and we watch CNBC (and others) with the mute on just in case there is a breaking news items of importance.


Jeff, I know it's not your intent to pick on CNBC, but their coverage IS becoming more opinionated. With Larry Kudlow at the anchor desk and another eight commentators in Hollywood Square boxes, some segments are nothing more than Hardball shouting matches. It's so irritating that I hit the mute button or simply walk away. Thanks for the post.


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