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Barron’s - Jim Mctague – A Political Operative Posing as a Financial Journalist

Barron’s - Jim Mctague – A Political Operative Posing as a Financial Journalist

I used to subscribe to Barrons. No more! It has gone down hill. I got tired of the blatant political right wing, diatribes. Like an editorial a few years ago that said that global warming was a myth.

In this week’s Barrons there appears an article entitled, Congress May Wallop Smaller Banks, By JIM MCTAGUE. It’s about how financial reform is going to hurt smaller banks. If there were any truth to this, small cap financials would be down, year to date. But just the opposite is true. The FBR, Financial Small Cap Financial Fund (FBRSX) has been on a tear, it’s up 32% year to date. I wrote about this fund here, 2 months ago.

If Wall St. (the smart money) believed that the financial reform bill winding its way through Congress would wallop small banks, this fund would not be up this much, since the fund is mostly made up of small, and regional banks. Details about the bill have been known for months. Yet this fact doesn’t prevent Mctague from presenting his thesis.

In the article, Mctague quotes one money manager: "The expectations for what a lot of the banks may earn in the future have not fully factored in some of the things that may play out," says Fred Cannon, chief investment strategist at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, a New York securities firm that specializes in banks.” Fair enough! A money manager is a legitimate source for a financial article.

The problem is that Mctague goes on to quote 3 lobbyists from the banking and security industry. Why would anyone pass off quotes from industry lobbyists as legitimate information sources, when everyone knows that lobbyists are tainted? The answer is that Mctague is merely a right wing political operative posing as a financial journalist.

Here is a list of some of Jim Mctague’s recent articles:

Obamacare's Fans Misuse Corporate Study
Health-care savings friction.

Health-Care Law No Palliative for Portfolios
These tax-advantaged investments will gain favor.

Dodd Prepares to Whack Wall Street
Rushed financial reform could have unintended results.

Unfortunately, the problem of political operatives passing themselves off as financial journalists has become more prevalent. The best example is Larry Kudlow of CNBC.

Kudlow, who used to be an economist, is a right wing political pundit. Kudlow was chief cheerleader for the anti regulation establishment that brought down the financial system. I wrote an article about this a few years ago. Here are a few quotes from that article:

“Kudlow is the most despised commentator on CNBC, according to the Marketwatch comment page. Here is a comment by a guy who goes by the name Lonely Planet: "Jon Stewart should have gone after Kudlow. He is the worst of the worst, cheerleading a 'goldilocks' economy through the whole economic collapse. The whole stocks for the long run...BS makes Kudlow far worse than anyone else at CBNC.”

Lonely Planet appears to be an astute consumer of CNBC and Marketwatch. I couldn't agree with him more. During Bush's 8 years, Larry Kudlow licked more Republican ass than Roy Cohn at a boy's night out.

Exuding and easy going, respectful demeanor to his guests, nevertheless Kudlow has no sympathy for working people. Once I heard Kudlow say that, "steelworkers were overpaid." Having some familiarity with the steel plants in PA., I found that comment particularly offensive because steel workers have suffered more than any other trade, during years of downsizing. And many steelworkers have lost their medical benefits and pensions when companies went bankrupt and were restructured.

During Kudlow's tenure at CNBC he has managed to seduce some of the other anchor people to his greed his good credo. I witnessed both Joe Kernen and Michelle Caruso Cabrera mouthing Larry's anti workingman ravings when hosting or co-hosting his show. I warned Joe Kernen in an email, that expressing political opinions on a business network was unprofessional and got back a humorous, pompous, email correcting my spelling mistakes. Apparently, Kernen is an intelligent guy, with a biting wit, who fell victim to Larry Kudlow disease, a frequent occurrence on CNBC.

About five years ago, I realized that the Bloomberg Business Channel was available on my Comcast Network and I made the switch. I like the serious, hard working, apolitical, Bloomberg crew. The quality is much better than CNBC.

I have little respect for journalists like Larry Kudlow and Jim Mctague who are merely right wing, Republican, political operatives masquerading as financial journalists. Since they are mere mouth pieces for industry groups, and self interested big business, who knows what financial incentives they receive? I have more respect for prostitutes, at least they’re upfront about what they do.

What can you do about it? Don’t subscribe to Barrons, or the Wall St. Journal. I’ll be damned if I’m going to give them a dime to proliferate their garbage. It’s a shame that the many good and responsible journalists, who work for the WSJ and Barrons, are tainted with writers like Jim Mctague. And if you’re a CNBC watcher, check out the Bloomberg Business Channel. It’s apolitical. Blatant political panderers like Larry Kudlow and Jim Mctague should be exiled from reporting the business news.

Posted-In: BARRONS BLOOMBERG NEWS CNBC JIM MCTAGUE Larry KudlowWall Street Journal Barron's Politics


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