Getting Down to Business with Charlie Gasparino, Senior Correspondent with Fox Business Network, Part 2
To see Part 1 of the Charlie Gasparino Interview, click here.
It's clear that they must have a lot to worry about. But what could be in here? Is it going to take down the bank?
Charlie Gasparino: I don't even know if I can speculate. The person who saw the documents doesn't know. He couldn't make heads or tails [of what he saw].
Let's just say it's robo-signing… I for some reason don't think robo-signing is going to take down Bank of America. I think a put, massive amounts of put-backs of mortgage bonds – now that could be a different story given [all the] Countrywide stuff. That issue [indicates that the] lending standards are lax or even frozen. A lot of their loans were sold to Fannie and Freddie, the packages of mortgage-backed securities. If you unwind this thing enough, you see where it starts to reach a level of major problems.
You dig deep for these pressing stories and aren't afraid of who you take down. Can you tell us about any other breaking findings?
Charlie Gasparino: I've been focused on that kind of stuff. It's been keeping me busy the last couple of weeks. It'll be interesting. I wrote a whole book about Obama and Wall Street, and I predicted that they, even though they had a little bit of a bumpy [ride], that ultimately they would have the same goals in terms of the economy and things like that, and that they'd reunite. And they are reuniting. The fact that Jamie Dimon (chairman and CEO of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM)) is back in the White House – that's a big story.
Do you think going into 2012 we're going to see a resurgence of financial money pouring into the Democratic campaigns?
Charlie Gasparino: I think so. We'll see party fights those. ‘Cause you do have a lot of Republicans that will always do Wall Street's bidding in terms of what they want, less regulation in the markets. That said, the Tea Partiers [are in] the Republican party right now, and they don't like the banks. They don't like the fact that we had to bail them out. So it's gonna be an interesting battle going on. It should be, for all intents and purposes, if you believe the rhetoric of the Tea Party, it should be a Battle Royale. Because Tea Partiers hate that there's an alliance between the Fed and the major money center banks.
Everything is pointing to Wall Street making a decent amount of money in the fourth quarter, and doing well next year. Zero percentage rates. The Fed essentially creating money by buying treasury bonds from these firms, which is known as quantitative easing, [which is] infusing the banking system with money. That's what they're doing. They're creating money.
What's it like knowing you're the only person in the room, if not the only person in the country, to know the next bailout or the next company to fall? The next policy move by the Fed or Obama?
Charlie Gasparino: It's scary. I used to try and read off the teleprompter when I had a huge scoop and I can't do it. I'm just too wired. So I just memorize my speech now, and think headlines. It's nerve-wracking. It's different from just talking – you know what you're saying is going to have an immediate impact.
What made you make the switch from CNBC to Fox Business?
Charlie Gasparino: The people at Fox Business, I knew them. I respected them. They're straight shooters. I guess what it really came down to was: do I want to take a chance? Anytime you take a chance, the payouts are big. The chance is big. Working for this corporation… We've got a good team. We're trying to start something new.
What would you say is the biggest difference between the workplace atmosphere at the two outlets?
Charlie Gasparino: You know, Roger Ailes once gave a speech where he said, “I tell my people to take the news seriously, but don't take themselves too seriously.” And I think that's the difference here. We're all human, we should have some fun within parameters of the job.
My brother works in the emergency room at a hospital. That's something where you've got to be serious 24 hours a day – you're dealing with people's lives. He's a doctor.
[Here], we have to take our jobs seriously because there's an importance to what we do. But we shouldn't always be taking ourselves so seriously all the time. That's the difference. We don't do that here.
You've never been afraid to show your passion. Is that part of being an aggressive reporter? Or is that more of a heat-of-the-moment kind of thing?
Charlie Gasparino: I think it's kind of a combination. I am who I am. And I don't hide who I am. Some of it is, you know, you can try and make a report better or more lively or whatever. It's not all seat of the pants, whatever comes in your head first comes out your mouth. But what you see is me. That's how I am. And I am more effective when I play myself as opposed to someone else.
I'm gonna give you the loudspeaker now, so you can sound off on anything that's going on in the world that you think needs your attention or is not being sufficiently reported, or simply give your opinion on any issue that you really care about.
Charlie Gasparino: I was having a conversation with someone the other night about the rise of blogs. While some of the stuff is really good, I've seen some horrendous practices in the blogosphere. For example, this guy in Reuters wrote something about me a couple months ago. His name is Felix Salmon. His story was 100% wrong. He didn't call me till after he published the story. He relied on one source. And I think he was able to get away with it, because I did speak with his supervisors because of the blog.
And I think if that's the way journalism goes… And this is Reuters! Reuters is a topflight – allegedly topflight – news organization. If that's the standard now at Reuters, that a reporter can literally put on your site or whatever, and Reuters will put its stamp of approval on a one-source story, where there were many, many facts wrong, and where the reporter literally asks for your comments after he publishes it. [Gasparino is speechless.]
When I was at the Wall Street Journal, I would have gotten fired for that. Fox Business would never allow you to do that. Most of the places I've worked, first of all, one-source stories – you better make sure you got it right. If you're gonna do a one-source story on somebody, you better make sure you call that person before you write it or publish it. Reuters allowed this story to get published. And you see a little bit too much of that.
Blogs are a great idea. There's a freedom to it. I don't believe that you need the stamp of approval from the New York Times or any of the big papers to be a journalist. And because we have blogs and a new way of communicating, we have diversity of opinion and it's great. But I think with that diversity of opinion came this bizarre performance that I just discussed.
What's scary about this is that it's done by a mainstream media outlet. You know what I'm saying?
Charlie Gasparino: I'm not complaining about some guy operating out of his basement. I think that [Reuters' behavior] is scary.
Finally, what is the best and what is the worst investment that you've made?
Charlie Gasparino: I don't believe in investing. I have a lot of money in the market… I think the best investment I ever made was keeping my money in a money market fund. The worst decision was not putting it back into the market after March 2009.
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