CNBC seems a little lost these days.
I don't want to get caught up in the seedy world of financial news gossip, but the ticker network has recently been making more news than it has been reporting. Not that we care for the tittle-tattle, but what and who you listen to can be hazardous to your portfolio.
Ratigan says CNBC-ya
Most recently, co-creator and host of Fast Money Dylan Ratigan left General Electric's
Ratigan's exit comes on the heels of seeing Jim Cramer getting clobbered by Jon Stewart, as well as witnessing the Huffington Post's attack on anchor Mark Haines. It's not just coincidental that Ratigan sidestepped a large share of the heavy criticism being levied on the financial network. Despite co-creating a show composed of the words "Fast" and "Money," Ratigan has been one of the more thoughtful on-air interviewers at CNBC, as evidenced by his unrelenting style of meticulously asking questions. His departure is a loss to CNBC as the network seeks to maintain relevance, providing commentary on a game that increasingly feels fixed to battered investors.
A little less action, a little more conversation, please
It's been quite clear that Main Street's quarter-century infatuation with the stock market is quickly eroding into something resembling a daily visit to the dentist. Investors have gotten hurt, are nursing serious wounds, and probably need to slow things down a bit.
Don't get me wrong: I don't think that shows with bells, whistles, graphics, and rapid-fire segments are inherently evil. However, they do mislead the average viewer into thinking that speculating is the same as investing. Rarely do they draw the distinction that while speculation is for fun, investing is for life.
In its defense, the lead financial news network does produce some noteworthy content. For instance, David Faber has co-produced a series of award-winning documentaries on the likes of Time Warner
Promisingly, the network offered The Big Idea, a motivational show highlighting mostly private growth companies. In addition, its sister channel, MSNBC, has the American Express
A bright spot on the network is Suze Orman. While she didn't foresee the financial meltdown, she has been the Nouriel Roubini of consumer overspending. For years, Orman has called on Americans to stop living the lie of spending beyond their means and extricate themselves from debt instead. That's bad news for companies such as Visa
Don't settle for run-of-the-mill financial chatter
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Fool contributor Andy Louis-Charles thinks independent, original, scuttlebutt research matters the most. He owns a tiny, fractional interest in Bank of America through an old synthetic DRIP account, giving the term "it's cheaper to keep her" a whole new meaning. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy matters.