Gasparino vs. Salmon: The Catfight You Never Knew You Wanted But Somehow Feels So Right

So, CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino penned a column today for the Post called “An Obama Panic,” wherein he writes that the markets that have been getting worse as Obama’s lead widens, because of the proposed economic policies of the would-be president. Sayeth Gasparino:

And if [Obama] governs like a liberal ideologue – with a belief that the government that works best is the one that’s biggest and raises taxes the most – he won’t even have to work hard to get his way. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won’t stop him – the Democratic majorities in Congress are only likely to grow.
And the markets know this – even if pundits (even many of the financial ones) refuse to face it.
No one can blame the faltering stock market solely on Obama’s tax plans or McCain’s own inanity on economic issues. But stock prices reflect current market conditions plus best guesses of what’s coming down the road. And I keep hearing nervous traders and investors talk about “a lack of leadership from Washington.”

Portfolio’s Felix Salmon had a bit of a problem with the editorial. In a post this morning, he throws out terms like “wingnut,” “GOP talking points,” and, most offensively, the newly coined (?) “bensteinery.” Then he questions (and sort of answers) whether or not CG should be employed by the peacock:

Trust in the financial media is probably at an all-time low right now. CNBC needs less screaming and extremism, and more sobriety and trustworthiness. Even if Gasparino’s political views don’t influence his reporting — which is doubtful — they will reinforce in his viewers’ minds the idea that he’s unreliable. I just can’t see the
upside of Gasparino writing a column like this, and I’m surprised that his superiors at CNBC let him get away with it — especially since the Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, CNBC’s fiercest competitor.
The overall impression from reading this column, then, is twofold: that Gasparino not only lives at the wingnut end of the political spectrum, but that he is powerful enough within CNBC that he can go off and write whatever he likes for whomever he likes whenever he likes. Which means that there’s probably zero editorial control of him within CNBC, as well. (Remember the quote in Bryan Burrough’s Bear Stearns article in Vanity Fair about how “at CNBC, there is simply no adult supervision”.) This can’t be good for CNBC’s franchise in the long term, even if it does help Gasparino with his Republican sources
on Wall Street.

You probably thought that was going to be the end of it but you, my friends, underestimated No Sleeves. We spoke with Gasparino just now; he didn’t mention it but it’s clear his missed his BoFlex sessions today, though he makes up for it with some punishing reps on the Salmon. Short version: Knee-caps will be busted. Long version:

“Being called a wingnut by a wingnut is not the worst thing in the
world. The last time this guy wrote about me, he got everything wrong.
I think he’s got a credibility problem. Who the hell ever heard of
Felix Salmon? Where did he come from. Just another twerpy, pseudo
media critic. He has no credibility critiquing my reporting. He’s
never broken a story in his life. How can every other journalist have
an opinion but not me? People do it at the WSJ all the time. How about
journalists who write stories that are patently biased? I’m biased
because I write a column and I am honest about my views? This guy is a
nutjob. And I only know this because of what he writes about me. The
last thing the wrote about me, I think he was on drugs. When your
brain cells are so limited that you can actually come up with what he
does…wow. What’s worrisome is that he’s obviously not a smart guy,
but his editor is dumber is for letting him run this stuff. If you
take him serious for a moment, you realize how crazy he sounds.
Listen, Portfolio is irrelevant; I saw the story because of Google
alerts. If it ever became relevant, they’d have a problem with him.
he’s He’s got a bizarre fixation with me. He’s got some weird
obsession about me; why that is i have no idea.”

(hidden for your protection)
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61 Responses to “Gasparino vs. Salmon: The Catfight You Never Knew You Wanted But Somehow Feels So Right”

  1. guest says:

    Bess, how’d you manage to accidentally post this at ATL for like two minutes? And why aren’t those slackers working today?

  2. guest says:

    For some reason, I’m not surprised that Gasparino has a google alert on himself.

  3. guest says:

    This guy gasparino is ridiculous. He has no idea what hes talking about half the time either. He has no concept of finance or how markets work, if he did he wouldnt be a reporter.

  4. guest says:

    Gasparino == Ann Coulter – breasts

  5. guest says:

    I love posts like these. I wish that dealbreaker would do a post on CNBC and their on air people, and with their best guess label them right wing, moderate, or left wing. In what little I watch that channel, I bet you would find a 70-30 left to right split, which is kinda suprising given this is a right wing part of society… the “audience” anyway. This is the only thing that makes fox business workable, that the base is right wing and wants to look at extremely hot women (Jenna Lee, etc) talk about their work and money. Oh yeah, and some posts about Jenna Lee.

  6. guest says:


  7. guest says:

    Funny I’ve never heard Salmon go off on that Nobel Laureate wingnut Krugman.
    Think you meant =Ann Coulter + Breasts.

  8. guest says:

    Gasparino is an idiot and a douchebag. Period.

  9. guest says:

    This is excellent work, Bess!

  10. guest says:

    These political wack jobs are amazing. How easily they forget that for the past 8yrs under Shrub Jr and the GOP legislature we have record deficits and an imploding financial system.
    I wish people would stop focusing on political rhetoric and focus instead on results.
    Take the lobbyist money out of politics and maybe we will have true civil servants.

  11. guest says:

    So wait, this guy calls out Gasparino, but I am sure he has nothing but praise for Nobel Laureate Krugman, despite the fact that the guy dresses up his polemics under the veil of economic analysis.
    Funny how people pick their targets. It’s OK to slag one guy and say it’s for the sake of the economy, but don’t go after someone this guy likes, or God help you, you’re a wingnut.

  12. guest says:

    i don’t like gasba either but salmon is a 2bit loser who trolls other blogs and reposts their ideas. never read something original from him.
    it was funny when he started posting arb trades ideas with iceland cds. newsflash douchebag: you need more than a $5k e-trade account to do that kind of trades. so let the real men from whose blogs you get your education do that, and you stick to buy’n’hold.

  13. guest says:

    Krugman’s a columnist not a reporter.

  14. guest says:

    I don’t understand what Felix’s column has to do with CG’s arguement. Gasparino (who certainly been guilty of intellectual dishonesty in the past…my most vivid memory of him is seeing him on CNBC saying that we shouldn’t believe Dave Einhorn because Dave Einhorn is Dave Einhorn and Dick Fuld is Dick Fuld) does bring up an interesting intellectual point in his column. It’s intellectually dihonest (and just plain lazy) for Salmon to attack CG on his politcal leanings and not his arguement. I normally enjoy Salmon’s stuff, but this time he’s wrong.

  15. guest says:

    Fire the analyst who does your proof reading

  16. merkin capital partners says:

    Gasparino v. anyone associated with Portfolio…wow! And here i thought nothing would top the epic ’98 Special Olympics.
    Felix might want to hurry up and cash his latest paycheck, Portfolio is on her last legs.

  17. guest says:

    Yes the current administration should bear some of the burden for this problem. However, do not be blind to the fact that the beginning of this sub prime loan process was put in place by the Clinton Administration.
    Also, do not be blind to the fact that in both 2003 and 2005 increased oversight was recommended on Fannie and Freddie, but both times was shot down by the dems. Why? Because the top four political beneficiaries of F&F happen to be democrats. Do you know who #2 is… Obama.
    You can find the video’s on youtube if you are interested in seeing the dems blast the idea of correcting the F&F problems.
    These things are not rhetoric, these are your results.

  18. guest says:

    I don’t know whether Salmon has ever commented on Krugman, but even if he hasn’t (yet), the difference is that Krugman presents himself as an economist and a commentator (now a Nobel Prize-winning economist and commentator). Gasparino, on the other hand, pretends to be a television reporter, which obligates him to be fair and balanced. His column in the Post, his on-air blunder blaming Roosevelt for the Depression, and his typically hot-headed response to Salmon just demonstrates that he is not only unfair, but unbalanced. In every sense.

  19. guest says:

    Surely he doesn’t need to attack the argument – the absurdity of it should be obviuos to anyone. Are the US stockmarkets really dropping because of potential tax rises? Maybe they’re suffering for the same reason global stockmarkets are getting pounded – the credit markets.

  20. guest says:

    “bensteinery” was coined by Barry Ritholz, fyi.

  21. guest says:

    Whoops. This is poster #11, and I just want to go out and apologize to #7 for saying the exact same thing he said, only with more words and about 10 minutes later.

  22. guest says:

    I wasn’t weighing in on the merits of CG’s arguement, just the fact that the arguement should be addressed, not the motivations of the person making it.

  23. diablo says:

    If I were CNBC… never mind, that cesspool can’t be saved.

  24. guest says:

    “Obama Tells Tax-Burdened Plumber the Plan is to ‘Spread the Wealth Around’”
    “”It’s not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too.”
    via matt drudge
    Wait, this isn’t the capitalist system.

  25. guest says:
    “Paulson has quickly distinguished himself from his two predecessors in the Bush administration by formally identifying the wide gap between the richest and poorest Americans as an issue on his list of the country’s four major long-term economic issues to be addressed, highlighting the issue in one of his first public appearances as Secretary of Treasury.[15]”

  26. guest says:

    I gotta go with Gaspo on this one. Should he be employed by CNBC because he has political views? Of course – he’s one of the few who have the decency to disclose their bias.

  27. guest says:

    17, the pubs controlled congress in 2003 and 2005. why didn’t they get pass this important legislation on a party line vote?
    regardless, fannie and freddie had a shrinking portion of the subprime loans in those years. regulating them would not have affected the investment banks who were buying and selling many more subprime loans.

  28. guest says:

    Who else is tired of this “widening gap between rich and poor” nonsense? This makes it seems like poor people are getting poorer while the rich get richer. The poor in this country live like kings compared to the poor in almost every other country. Rich people are indeed getting richer, but that has nothing to do whatsoever with poor people.

  29. guest says:

    Question the Party? Question Jesus!!

  30. guest says:

    I told you that they were giving Jaime’s white horse a shave and a haircut. Can they find his white hat?

  31. miami says:

    Yeah, FNM and FRE held a shrinking portion in 2003, when McCain/Liz Dole were trying their hardest to rein them in. But Barney Frank and pals ran and continue to run interference on them so they can get their $100k+ donations, like Obama has.
    They had a vastly growing share this year as the % of the market topped 75%, showing consistent growth [towards bankruptcy] once the Dems took over in 2006.

  32. guest says:

    Gasbags must have gotten this one on GOOG alerts and had his jersey fist pumpers load up these comments….

  33. guest says:

    Miami-Stop with the Republican talking points.
    The reason the GSE share of loan originations gained this year is because volumes in the non-conforming space basically went to zero. I would say that absent a GSE bid the same thing might have happened to so-called prime loans. It doesn’t seem a like complete shutdown of the mortgage market would have been preferable to the still unknown cost of bailing out the GSEs. They were under enormous pressure from the Administration to step into the mortgage market in late 2007, early 2008 as the buyer of last resort.

  34. guest says:

    @32 – and of course, Old Gay Barney was running interference for the GSEs while his booty call was a senior exec at one.
    What conflict of interest?!?
    I’m not Gasbag’s biggest fan, but i agree with the guy above who said Felix didn’t attack the argument, he attacked the guy who made it. And I also agree that at least Gasbag wears his political leanings on his sleeve (you know, when he wears them), versus the other media folks who pretend to be unbiased yet are liberal by a voting record of 9-1.

  35. guest says:

    35 Its this simple: 1) Bush is a retard. 2) McCain dumped all pretense of being a reasonable choice when he chose an idiot like Palin as a running mate.

  36. guest says:

    (I put this same post on Salmon’s site)
    Salmon wrote “Yes, it’s a good idea for the government to spend money in a recession. Yes, it’s a good idea to target that money at the poorest members of society, where it will do the most good and have the highest velocity. And no, with stocks down 40%, there really isn’t an enormous number of people worried about capital gains taxes.”
    Gasparino may be a buffoon. But Salmon on the other hand, throws out totally dubious theory not backed by even a link to some research proving you correct.
    So tell me, given that government spending is simply a transfer of wealth via taxes, how do you measure its benefit, otherwise known as growth? At what point is it good for the government to spend money in a recession? 2% down? 5% down? Remember, we just had a massive tax relief bill earlier this year designed to stimulate spending AND PREVENT A RECESSION however, we are full steam on a downward cycle. Finally, he suggests redistributed taxes are best used by poor who will spend them quickly, which I suppose is “velocity.” How does this lead to a lower unemployment rates, greater savings to lower our need to borrow globally, greater energy efficiency (‘when we know economically, that green living is a leisure activity), reducing state and municipal deficits, funding pension deficits (let alone social security) and a stronger dollar?
    Salmon could be right (not), but to simply throw statements out as if they are immutable economic laws as a way of discrediting Gasparino is bush league. The truth of the matter is that CG hits on an important point in a ham-handed way, the markets were not at all impressed with the $700BN bailout. It begs the question of how much tax redistribution will actually change in economic trends. And if a candidate telegraphs tax increases, SPECIFICALLY as a measure of redistribution, don’t the markets have the right, even the obligation to incorporate what that means in pricing?

  37. guest says:

    If we are gung ho redistribution then are we going after the off shore deposits of the very wealthy. You know the guys who don’t pay taxes cause they ship their before tax income somewhere else?

  38. guest says:

    37 – Yes but if we assume that the markets are being “rational” and pricing in higher tax rates, then why are the obvious beneficiary of such a move, muni bonds, getting shelled?
    I know its hard for people who look at the world entirely through the lens of marginal tax rates to understand, but I think that higher taxes are pretty far down on the market’s worry list at the moment.

  39. guest says:

    @36 – you sound like a genius. The kind of genius who gets his kicks from Bevis and Butthead. Heh heh. Heh heh.
    Log off the school computer and go pack your bag. It’s 3pm – the short bus should be outside waiting to take you home.

  40. guest says:

    Muni bonds are not doing well because municipalities are indicating they may also need help from the federal government.
    And last week CNBC had guest after guest saying to go to Munis

  41. guest says:

    From a Bob barr voter: The talking point about blamming Clinton is interesting. He could not have signed the legislation unless it was passed by both the Senate and House – which were Republican. The republicans then had six years of House,Senate, and President to change or roll back the policy. Strange how the Dems could stop Freddie and Fannie but nothing else Bush and the Reps wanted pushed through. Sounds like the Reps really did not want increased regulations on F&F.

  42. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    anyone remember this piece?
    that was the best fake article i’ve read.

  43. guest says:

    I agree with Kubeck on this, Cooper was the idiot from the start

  44. guest says:

    40 I said it was simple. I could write pages – or you could just look it up. But the premise I put forth is correct: Bush is a retard. Palin an idiot (ergo, McCain is not worth our consideration).

  45. EricM says:

    @28, the most likely suspect would be a Senate parlor trick known as a secret hold.

  46. guest says:

    Hey, Bess, please continue posting on ATL. Those slackers are not posting today. You could help them out with some decent content.

  47. guest says:

    @39, this is @37, and I agree with @41. I work in munis. The natural buyers of munis are sitting on cash because they are smart enough to know that states depend on the fed to eat. There have already been a few municipalities to go BK and there may be more. Bond insurance is worthless and the same banks providing LoC’s are taking billions on balance sheet. This is why you see ARS bids at the cap rates. There is no ability to price risk right now so they are asking for the full coupon.
    Also corporate debt pricing is astounding!! Given the tax arb on I-grade munis at the highest rates, does it beat buying I-grade corporate yeilding 20%+ ?

  48. guest says:

    48 I-grade corps yielding 20%? what are you saying?

  49. guest says:

    @49…do your own research.

  50. guest says:

    CG will be vindicated, you watch. Palin-Gasparino 2012.

  51. guest says:

    CG will be vindicated, you watch. Palin-Gasparino 2012.

  52. guest says:

    50 I did and see, for example, IBM 10 years (single-A) yielding 7.7%.

  53. guest says:

    The Gasbag has no credibility if he seeks to be taken seriously as a FINANCE guru. As a journalist? Hey, say whatever you want, nobody cares enough to fact-check them – but at that point you’ve given up your cred for the cash of CNBC.
    Then again, as the disclaimers say all the time, CNBC is only entertainment, not actual financial advice.

  54. guest says:

    I can’t imagine anyone drawing the conclusion that they should sell out of their stock positions at the current (and potentially much lower) capital gains rate just because the guy that is (probably) going to win the election plans to “redistribute” their wealth the first chance he gets.
    I don’t know anyone that would plan ahead like that nor do I know anyone taking steps to shelter assets. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
    Please, continue ‘investing’, all is well.

  55. Anal_yst says:

    Um, the vast, vast majority of retail accounts are down 20%+ this year, which capital gains are you referring (at least this year)?
    Also, another tangential question to which I’m too lazy to find the answer myself: From an asset allocation standpoint, why is the vast majority of retail portfolios almost completely unhedged, net-long exposure to U.S. (or global, at best) equities?
    Besides the normal criticisms of the traditional brokerage model (joke), I can’t figure out why Merrill, UBS, Morgan, SSB, etc wouldn’t have their clients at least a small % allocated to short (and not just bear, or uncorrelated) funds?

  56. guest says:

    Just a guess but what about people that have a cost basis that is 10, 15, 20 years old that have another 5 to 10 years or so before they planned to migrate their portfolio anyway.
    I think that you will find that these are the people that have wealth worth protecting when you are talking about potentially doubling the capital gains they would pay.
    I have seen people argue that changing cap gain is immaterial. Tell that to a 50 year old that has been around the block a few times and has tried to save a few bucks. Trust me they don’t need to work in finance or Wall Street to do the math.
    As for the allocation to short exposure, it is diametrically opposed to the ‘buy and hold’ strategy (i.e. AUM) their business models’ were built on
    – plus it takes actual analysis.

  57. guest says:

    Gasbagarino has no set political views, he is just sucking up to Murdoch so he can get an FBN offer when his CNBC contract is up for renewal.
    Don’t forget he wrote a completely amnesiac oped for the NYPost on Spitzer, and how the media was manipulated by Spitzer when Gasbagarino was the No. 1 consumer of Spitzer leaks.
    Gasbagarino is just an unprincipled hustler. Nothing to see here, move along.

  58. guest says:

    The Dis-United States of America!

  59. guest says:

    Did Salmon really refer to a multiplier as “velocity”? Both of these cats are pretty ham pawed in their discussions of economics.

  60. guest says:

    I predict there will be a massive peanut butter recall in February of 2009.