Friday, October 10, 2008

CNBC should go with experience, not pretty faces; anchors too young to know true hard times

As a dispenser of critical information on the financial markets, CNBC needs to be giving anchor air time to experience, not looks.

While the mostly female faces are pretty, anchors such as Erin Burnett are simply apologists for Wall Street fatcats and Pollyannas for the economic future. I've been trading in the stock market longer than Burnett has been alive. I want to hear from experienced anchors like her morning counterpart Mark Haines. But his air time is limited because he challenges the fatcats' dinner party friends and analysts with rose-colored glasses.

Burnett and the other pretty faces have no concept of what hard times are about nationally. Some of us know what it is like before there was a Great Society safety net or learned directly from our parents who lived during the Great Depression. Others of us as journalists have been in some of the toughest public housing projects in this nation and in prisons, including Death Row.

This afternnon, my wife and I were shopping at the mall that attracts consumers from three states. And I shook my head as a pregnant woman in her 30s was trying out an expensive pair of sunglasses in a boutique. She is going to desperately need that money in six to eight months as the economy sinks to levels few of us have ever seen or experienced. And that downturn will last through 2010.

A lot of people in our communities are going to be desperate. The only desperation too many of the TV pretty faces of male and female genders have seen is entering a Starbucks with a broken latte machine.

CNBC needs to forgo the pretty faces of both genders and give us some folks who have seen bad times and learned of them directly from the folks who lived them. Even more, I want anchors who still live around these tough folks. Their disciplined lives are a testament to the heartache they've seen.

I realize that some experienced anchors are ugly and free market hypocrites such as the network's Larry Kudlow. He loves Bush and Paulson. He was calling on people to get into the stock market last spring. That should tell you enough about his credibility.

The future is going to be more seriously bad than any of us have ever lived. We don't need apologists and Pollyannas on TV trying to make us believe otherwise

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