Tag Archives: CNBC

Good question: Who cares about Omarosa?

Who on earth actually cares whether Omarosa quit or was fired it’s the dumbest story eve

This tweet came from CNBC correspondent and New York Times contributor John Harwood.

Oh, I have to agree wholeheartedly with this fellow. Yet the media are all agog over the departure of Omarosa Manigault Newman from Donald John Trump Sr.’s White House staff.

The White House announced that she quit. Then sources reported she and chief of staff John Kelly had an argument; Kelly canned her. Then she was shown the door by unnamed White House personnel.

So, why the big deal, indeed over this individual’s departure? As near as I can tell, she didn’t even have a real job in the White House. Her title was a convoluted string of words: director of the Office of Public Liaison for the White House.

Someone needs to explain to me: What in the world did she do?

She drew a $180,000 annual salary for doing … what?

Omarosa was a three-time “Apprentice” contestant who was fired three times by the show’s host, Donald John Trump Sr.

OK. She’s now off the public payroll. May she now disappear, never to be heard from again. I know. It won’t happen that way. I am just hoping she does just go … away.

Trump’s record ‘too controversial’? Hmmm …


This is too good to keep to myself.

OK, it’s already out there in the public domain, but I have to share a bit of it here. It involves something Donald J. Trump told columnist/TV commentator Chris Matthews in 1998.

It comes from the Guardian in Australia. A friend of mine sent it to me overnight in an e-mail. To wit:

“During a 1998 appearance on CNBC with host Chris Matthews, current Republican presidential nominee and then simple tycoon Donald Trump declared that if Bill Clinton’s personal peccadillos were enough to prompt impeachment proceedings, his own history with women was more than sufficient to keep him out of the White House.

“‘Can you imagine how controversial I’d be?’ Trump said at the time. ‘You think about him with women. How about me with women? Can you imagine?

“Trump was still confident that ‘his women’ would be better received by the American public. ‘Yeah. They might like my women better, too, you know?'”

Hmm. Well, time will tell — probably around, oh, Nov. 8 — whether Americans like Trump’s women better. My strong hunch tells me the decision voters make — once they get past his utter ignorance of the substance of anything at all — will also be based on Trump’s “own history with women.”

New polarization: pols vs. media


I hear it from time to time. People I meet during a given week occasionally engage me in a conversation that begins: Do you think the nation is more polarized than everĀ  before?

My short answer generally goes like this: Well, maybe not since the Vietnam War. But we got through it. I believe we’ll be OK.

The polarization today, though, seem to be taking on another dimension.

Politicians, chiefly those on the right, now are taking dead aim at the media. Oh, I forgot: the mainstream media, thoseĀ folks with the liberal bias.

Ted Cruz is the junior U.S. senator from Texas. He’s running for the Republican presidential nomination. He took some reporters pheasant hunting with him in Iowa this weekend.

Cruz scored plenty of points at the latest GOP presidential debate by taking aim not just at CNBC, which moderated the event, but at “all media.” The crowd in the Boulder, Colo., hall roared its approval — as did conservatives all across the nation.

The media now are seen as the enemy of the right. The left-wing, liberal media are out to “get” those who hold different views, say Cruz and other politicians on the right.

Cruz then took his beef an interesting step further. He suggested — with a straight face at that — that GOP debates should include “moderators” more friendly to their cause. He mentioned Fox New commentator Sean Hannity as one who he’d prefer to “moderate” a debate among GOP presidential candidates.

I agree with my pals on the right on this score: The establishment media — and I include conservative-leaning journalists in that group — have become legends in their own minds. They at times interject themselves into the stories they are covering. They become confrontational and snarky when neither is warranted. I believe we saw some of that from the CNBC moderators.

Then again, have our Republican friends forgotten — already! — what happened at the first GOP debate that Fox News sponsored. Fox’s Megyn Kelly got things started with a question to Donald Trump about the candidate’s history of anti-female statements. It went downhill rapidly from there.

The Republican presidential field of candidates has done a good job of demonizing the mainstream media as a tool of the left. It has cast the MSM as an institution to be loathed and mistrusted.

Are we polarized? Yes, we are. I’ll stand by my short answer: We’ll get past this … eventually.


Let’s allow Dems to face media grilling


All this talk over the past few days about the alleged mistreatment of the Republican Party presidential candidates by the “mainstream liberal media” brings something to mind.

Let’s suppose as we travel down the primary campaign road that the Democratic field — or what’s left of it — decides to debate among themselves in a nationally televised event.

What might happen if the moderators allĀ  turned out to conservative-leaning journalists? Believe me, there are plenty of them to go around.

Imagine a panel comprising, say, Britt Hume, Jennifer Rubin and Byron York grilling the likes of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders.

Hume is a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday; Rubin is a conservative columnist for the Washington Post; Byron York is a long-time conservative columnist whose work is syndicated in papers across the country.

They’re all smart and savvy political hands.

I’m trying to imagine how the Democratic National Committee might react to the tough line of questioning that such a panel would bring to a Democratic candidates debate.

I’m not sure the DNC would allow such a panel to present questions to their candidates. Yet the Republican National Committee signed off on the recent CNBC-sponsored debate and the moderators chosen by the network to quiz the candidates on the debate stage.

Still, there’s a part of me that wishes the DNC would agree to such an event, with that party’s candidates facing sure-fire relentless questioning on a whole array of issues facing the nation.

I know it won’t happen. But I can dream … can’t I?


RNC fights back: severs tie with NBC

horse race

Can it possibly true that the Republican National Committee doesn’t like its party’s presidential candidates to answer tough questions?

Someone, tell me that’s not possible.

The RNC has lashed out at CNBC and its parent network, NBC, by severing its relationship with the media outlet because of the nature of the questions asked by CNBC moderators this week at the GOP debate in Boulder, Colo.

This means NBC won’t take part in future Republican debates.

The questions weren’t “fair,” according to RNC chairman Reince Preibus. They were of the “gotcha” variety, he said.

I happen to agree with the view that the CNBC moderators did a poor job during the debate. My issue with them was that the debate became a madhouse during its two-hour duration. Candidates were interrupting each other; they were interrupting the moderators; the moderators were interrupting the candidates. Then came the attacks from the candidates against the mainstream media and CNBC.

One of the candidates, Ted Cruz of Texas, then said he thinks Republican debates need to be moderated by pundits who are friendly to the GOP. Donald Trump said more or less the same thing.

Look, the issue shouldn’t be the toughness of the questioning. What on Earth do any of these folks believe will await them if any of them gets elected president next year? Are they — and their political party apparatus — really fearful of tough questions that seek to determine the candidates’ ability to think on their feet and deal with unexpected occurrences?

I cannot believe what’s happening here. The Republican National Committee needs to get a grip on what it is demanding of the media that cover its candidates’ quest to assume the most powerful office on the planet.


What if MPEV debate had that kind of format?

Republican presidential candidates arrive on stage for the Republican presidential debate on August 6, 2015 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. From left are:  New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie;  Florida Sen. Marco Rubio;  retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; real estate magnate Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.  AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

I awoke this morning and a curiousĀ thought popped into my noggin about last night’s Republican presidential primary debate … so I thought I’d share it here.

What if Amarillo’s hot topic of the day — the upcoming citywide referendum on a proposed multipurpose event venue — had been the subject of a similar debate formatĀ between advocates on both sides of this highly controversial issue?

Suppose, then, that the two sides had gathered their forces, sat them in an auditorium, say, at the Civic Center or the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. And then imagine how they might try to out-cheer, out-shout and out-jeer each other whenever someone made a point they either liked or loathed.

You know, these kinds of things rattle around in my head from time to time. In this instance, they make me glad we haven’t resorted to the carnival atmosphere that has overtaken the Republican and Democratic presidential debates as they’ve been staged in front of the nation.

The GOP has staged three of these sideshows; the Democrats just one, so far.

The MPEV debates — and there’ve been a couple of them broadcast on Panhandle PBS — have been models of decorum and relatively good manners.

(Disclosure time: I am a freelance blogger for Panhandle PBS, so — as the Texas saying goes — I’ve got a dog in that fight.)

The second of those encounters will air tonight at 7 on Panhandle PBS. It features Amarillo lawyer Vince Nowak speaking against the MPEV and former Amarillo College President Paul Matney arguing in favor of it. This past week, the contestants were Amarillo City Councilmen Brian Eades (pro-MPEV) and Randy Burkett (anti-MPEV) making their respective cases regarding the $32 million sports and entertainment venue planned for construction in downtown Amarillo, across the street from City Hall.

Check both debates out here.

Were there catcalls? Cheers? Jeers? Zingers? None of that. It was just Panhandle PBS content producer Karen Welch grilling the contestants on why they favor and/or oppose the measure. There were differences of opinion, but on the whole the adversaries were courteous and respectful of each other’s time.

One can learn a lot when one is not distracted by crowd noise, glitz and show-biz bling.

Both sides have their share of passionate supporters. I prefer, though, to gauge the merits of an argument on the points made by the principals rather than relying on applause meters.



Political ‘debates’ become show biz

CNBC panel

I might have a solution to returning some decorum and dignity to these presidential joint appearances.

I’ve said it before: Get rid of the audience.

CNBC’s moderators became the targetĀ of many of the Republicans running for president at tonight’s so-called debate.

First of all, I concur that the moderators were terrible. They lost control of the event. They let the proverbial tail wag the dog — to borrow a political phrase.

Indeed, the candidates fed off the crowd that gathered at the University of Colorado in Boulder. They cheered ’em on. They provoked the zingers. They roared every time a candidate took a shot at the “mainstream media.”

Tonight’s GOP joint appearance lacked almost any semblance of dignity. It became a circus and the moderators — Becky Quick, John Harwood and Carl Quintanilla — became the ringmasters.

It’s not as though the questioners didn’t ask good questions. They sought to probe the candidates’ backgrounds, prod them to explain previous statements and provoke them to make memorable statements.

It seemed, though, that CNBC debate troika set themselves up to become as much a part of the story as the candidates.

Why is that? The moderators were fueled as much by the audience as the candidates.

I have an intense dislike for what these events haveĀ  become.

Both parties have become enamored of the entertainment value that the audiences bring to these confrontations.

I’m old enough to remember the very first televised presidential debates, involving Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat John F. Kennedy. They had three of them. Each one got a little more vigorous than the preceding encounter.

Audiences? None. Just the two men … and Americans learned a lot from them both, without the distraction created by the cheers and catcalls.


Keep falling, fuel prices

It’s been a strange past couple of weeks around the Texas Panhandle as the price of gasoline drops — occasionally several times during the day.

It’s $2.88 per gallon for regular unleaded gas as of this morning. It’s likely to fall even more, perhaps even today.


CNBC economics analyst Jim “The Screamer” Cramer thinks the price of crude could fall to $70 per barrel. If that happens, he says, we could see a “concerted decline” in oil production.

I’m not too worried about that decline. The energy market’s reaction to many factors is encouraging on a number of fronts.

* Supply is exceeding demand, which means Americans are a bit less gluttonous about oil consumption than we used to be.

* Alternative energy sources are replacing petroleum and coal to fire such things as electrical power plants. Natural gas exploration is way up, including in the Panhandle and throughout West Texas. Natgas burns cleaner and more efficiently, correct?

* Automakers are having to produce more fuel-efficient motor vehicles, which has had an impact on consumption. Hey, weren’t those new fuel-efficiency standards supposed to spell doom for the auto industry? Isn’t that what some in Congress protested?

I’m less worried now than I might have been two decades ago. Americans hadn’t yet absorbed the message about fuel conservation. We seem to be getting it now.