Ezra Klein does everyone a huge favor by reprinting part of the the transcript from a debate (I’m being kind) he watched on MSNBC yesterday between CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo and New York Congressman Anthony Weiner over health care.
Here’s the interview.
And here’s the transcript:
REP. WEINER: Listen, Carlos talks about Canada. You talk about Europe. Let’s talk about the United States of America, Medicare —
MS. BARTIROMO: You have to look at where there are public plans.
REP. WEINER: No. No. The United States of America, 40 percent of all tax dollars go through a public plan. Ask your parent or grandparent, ask your neighbor whether they’re satisfied with Medicare. Now, there’s a funding problem, but the quality of care is terrific. You get complete choice and go anywhere you want. Don’t look at —
MS. BARTIROMO: How come you don’t use it? You don’t have it. How come you don’t have it?
REP. WEINER: Because I’m not 65. I would love it.
MS. BARTIROMO: Yeah, come on
As Ezra pointed out, Weiner is 44 years old and, therefore, not yet eligible for Medicare so Maria comes across as being incredibly uninformed.
My take is something a little different: Maria comes across as being incredibly inarticulate. She may have been trying to say that Weiner, as a member of Congress, has a better health care plan than Medicare. If that’s the case, she failed miserably and embarassingly. After all, for a television news anchor, inarticulate trumps uninformed every time.
But the far better question is what was Bartiromo doing debating Rep. Weiner at all. She’s not a health care expert and, as an anchor on a financial news channel, she’s supposed to be an objective observer who asks questions of others rather than someone with her own opinions.
This obviously sounds incredibly naive. Bartiromo works for CNBC, where Larry Kudlow, who is anything but objective, is also an anchor. In addition, CNBC and MSNBC are both owned by General Electric, and using one to promote the other as this interview did has become a tried and true marketing technique.
But do CNBC and GE really want one of its anchors to become rather than report the news in such a negative and embarassing way as Bartiromo did yesterday? Does CNBC really want it to become that clear that it has stopped reporting on and to Wall Street and now acts as if it instead represents the financial world?