Friday, September 17, 2010

CNBC Stacks The Deck For It's Monday President's Town Hall Meeting

CNBC has been loudly trumpeting its upcoming 'Town Hall" meeting featuring the president. I believe it's scheduled for sometime on Monday. The host for the carefully-staged event is uber-liberal CNBC- and NY Times- reporter John Harwood.

As a member of CNBC's Exchange panel, I was invited to respond to 10 questions which will obviously be used to inform the president of their viewers' opinions.

Unfortunately, I didn't copy/paste the questions as I answered them, then found I can't access the poll, now that I've completed it. But I recall several of the questions.

They cover, as you'd expect, whether you think the current administration and party in power have the country on the right or wrong track. Whether the GOP would do better. What, among a list of some 7-8 issues, do you feel are the 2-3 most important facing the country, and how is the administration doing on those issues?

There were 2-3 questions specifically addressing the administration's tax-borrow-and-spend stimulus policies versus the alternative of cutting taxes and spending less. But, in an interesting handling of these issues, the poll, and CNBC, carefully avoided introducing any facts involving spending, unemployment, forecasted effects of the stimulus, etc.

In short, they presented the choices as theoretical, ignoring the obvious failure of the actually-implemented stimulus programs of this administration.

While I can't recall the exact few questions which I found to be misleading and worded to give softball-style results, I had the distinct impression that the entire poll is meant to give the president incredible leeway and running room to claim that those who registered disagreement with his policies and their poor results 'just don't understand,' or are too impatient.

I will give CNBC partial credit for at least asking what one thought was the primary cause of current economic problems, allowing, among the multiple choices, for naming Bush's policies or the current administration's policies. But, even here, the unstated presumption was that, nearly two years into this administration, it is even relevant to claim that the current situation is the fault of a prior administration.

This president has done so much to increase deficits and national debt, empower unions, interfere with business, and much, much more to create uncertainty in the business world, that it's simply impossible, in one question, to cover all the ways in which he and his administration have caused severe economic damage.

Thus, I don't have any confidence that my honest opinions and reflections of reality will be taken seriously. They will, no doubt, like others of my ilk, be spun positively by the liberal management of CNBC, the better to let the president evade responsibility for his actions, claim misunderstanding by voters, and generally be handled with kid gloves by his adoring, friendly host.

Furthermore, CNBC's ads for the event bill it as "America's CEO answers his shareholders," or some such verbiage. But this president has zero business experience or acumen. I don't think anyone, even on his own staff, believes that he knows the first thing about economics or business. Thus, having an event devoted to his taking questions and expounding on these topics is, by definition, a waste of time. You'd be better off having his economic council members, Treasury Secretary,, show up, because at least they are supposed to know something about business. Although none of them, either, as Bernie Marcus noted on CNBC this morning, have skin in the game, or relevant experience, either. But, seriously, can you really believe an hour or more with this president will bring forth any statements of economic insight, or business sense? I rather doubt it.

I wouldn't waste my time on that program, and suggest you not, either. At best, it's a home field love fest for this administration. At worst, it's going to be a free campaign appearance by the president with the intent of rescuing his party's fortunes in the upcoming Congressional elections.

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