Could this be a sign of things to come?
Now that CNBC Chicago Mercantile Exchange reporter Rick Santelli has mysteriously disappeared from the spotlight after his criticism of President Barack Obama's mortgage proposal in February and now that CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer has been marginalized after his lackluster appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on March 12, could the new target of the Obama machine and the left and their accomplices in the media be CNBC "The Kudlow Report" host Larry Kudlow?
James Rainey, a columnist for The Los Angeles Times, set his sights on Kudlow in his March 13 column. Kudlow's show is one of the last vestiges of pro-free market capitalism left at a time when populism has become the theme of the day.
Rainey's column, headlined as a critique of CNBC focused on two personalities - Kudlow and Cramer, even though Cramer has been raked over the coals since he made his March 3 remarks calling Obama's policies "greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."
Rainey suggested as a credibility measuring stick, that Cramer and Kudlow should have to reveal their financial portfolios and if they weren't at least keeping pace with a major stock index, they should voted off "the CNBC island."
"I see CNBC running a bar graph with a composite of Kudlow and Cramer's portfolios (no dollar amounts necessary) right alongside a graph tracking a broad stock index," Rainey wrote. "If the TV touts fall more than 10% behind? We vote them right off the CNBC island. Then there'd be more room for me and my timeless, slightly cowardly style of money management."
Perhaps Rainey is on to something here. We could apply his standard to the entire Los Angeles Times as a business model and if his newspaper's parent company's stock, the Tribune Company (PINK:TRBCQ), wasn't keeping pace with the major indices, we could vote it off of "mainstream media island," or at least its business coverage and the analysis of business coverage.
If that were the case, Rainey would have had to have taken a pass on this column. The Tribune Company was filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last December, forcing its stock to be delisted from the New York Stock Exchange and share price plummeting.
But, for whatever reason, Rainey thought it was necessary to mention Kudlow's past - describing him as a "conservative standard-bearer and onetime Reagan administration economist, who left Wall Street in disgrace over drugs and drinking before rehabilitating himself on cable TV."
Rainey dismissed criticism that the new coverage on the NBC channels - NBC, MSNBC and CNBC - was liberally biased based on Kudlow's employment with CNBC (who appears on the network two hours a day - as a co-host on "The Call" and host of his show "The Kudlow Report"). So, he urged CNBC "to include the other side."
"Second, and more important, don't the General Electric channels have some obligation to air the other side (real time, same station) rather than force us to flip to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for a counterpoint we know will be off-point and gratingly smug?"
Rainey has made no effort of hiding his bias against conservative media. Last November, following the election, Rainey penned a column attacking Rush Limbaugh, another target of the Obama administration, headlined "Right-wing media feeds its post-election anger."
Memo to Rainey: If CNBC isn't doing it for you, there's always Bloomberg.