It is bad when an anchor from a sister network feels compelled to call out a colleague about the lack of ideological balance, but that's just what CNBC's Larry Kudlow did on his Oct. 27 program.
In a time when some of CNBC's critics demand the network be held to a high standard when it comes to balance, a different standard is applied to MSNBC. And a lack of balance is something Kudlow pointed out.
Kudlow, referring to the Oct. 26 broadcast of MSNBC's "The Ed Show," which featured Rep. Barney Frank, perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader and the host Ed Schultz, noted all the participants were left-of-center. And in the appearance, Frank made a pitch for the expanded role of government and argued the only reason people opposed it was because they were disillusioned by the government for its failures during the Bush administration, specifically dealing with Hurricane Katrina.
"Was there a conservative there?" Kudlow asked. "I saw Ralph Nader and Barney Frank. Did MSNBC miss a conservative dissent?"
Kudlow offered this rebuttal to Frank - big government was tried during the Cold War and failed because people yearned for less government and that was its ultimate undoing.
"Well, here's my response to Congressman Barney Frank: With all due respect to Mr. Frank, who I think is a very smart guy, we tried heavy government control and regulation in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe," Kudlow said. "It didn't work. They rebelled. They wanted economic freedom - the right to keep their own money, the right to start their own businesses, the right to climb the ladder of success in a free economy. That was the revolution."
Kudlow, the former associate director for economics and planning in the Office of Management and Budget under former President Reagan explained - free-market policies had a proven track record. The opposite, not so much.
"The Reagan free market - deregulation revolution, with a sound dollar and low tax rates launched a 27-year boom," Kudlow said. "The Gipper's policies were copied all around the world."
That, according to Kudlow, brought into question the validity of Rep. Barney Frank's argument, since the battle between the two competing philosophies had already been decided.
"So my question - what does Mr. Barney Frank know that virtually the entire rest of the globe doesn't know?" Kudlow asked. "The battle between democratic entrepreneurial capitalism and statism has already been won by the economic freedom fighters. This Congress is going in the wrong direction. Growth and wealth come from individuals and human action, not the heavy footprint of the state."
Later in the program, in a segment about the stimulus and whether or not the White House policies were pro-growth that included David Goodfriend, a former Clinton White House staffer, and Steve Forbes, Kudlow reiterated his point about balance. Kudlow also showed he wasn't just talking the talk, but walking the walk as well by presenting both sides of a debate.
"Look, this is better than that MSNBC show that had two lefties - Barney Frank and the other dope, Ralph Nader," Kudlow said. "At least we have an equal representation."