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Daytime Cable News: CNBC and MSNBC Win (Fox News Off My List)

My day started this morning at 8a.m.  My self-assigned project: watch the daytime part of cable news channels.  My list: CNBC, CNN and MSNBC.  (I’m didn’t evaluate Fox News for reasons explained at the end of this post.)

My day started out okay, primarily because I was watching the reliable CNBC.  But by 2:30 p.m., I was starting to feel discouraged by the state of discussion and news coverage, especially after an all heat/no light screaming match over Bill Ayers on MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. 

But first, CNBC - the go-to channel for business news -  is magically,  confortably familiar.  You could fall asleep under a tree like Rip Van Winkle and wake up and Rick Santelli would still be reporting live from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, and the venerable Art Cashin (director of floor operations at UBS Financial Services) would still be holding court. 

CNBC is very much like an old friend with a style and quality is so consisent that it’s easy to take the channel for granted.  CNBC is part of my important morning ritual - my husband delivers a tall cup of Starbuck’s Serena (yes, he’s a mensch) while I check the markets, my email, newsfeeds and my Twitter group action.  I seriously might go into a funk if/when Sue Herera decides to retire. 

But then I switched over to CNN daytime.  (This is no reflection on CNN evening.)  All due respect to my female compatriots but to say these anchors lack the necessary gravitas to be holding down an anchor position is an understatement.

The story on Ohio voting issues was mangled into a he said/she said situation.  It’s not and CN failed to skim the surface. An anchor outfitted in a bright red suit falsely equated voter registration irregularity with voting fraud. (The two issues are not the same.)  The on-the-ground reporter in Ohio struggled to explain difference but the anchor only said she was confused, rather than leading a clarifying discussion.

Then, in a later segment covering campaign ad spending, a CNN anchor suddently suggested out of left field that Barack Obama use his campaign funds to help people facing foreclosure instead.  The flummoxed on screen analyst hardly knew how to respond. He stumbled around the issue by saying there were legal issues, the monies would have to be held by a non-profit etc.

At that point I scurried over to MSNBC where anchor Dara

I surf between MSNBC and CNN at night.  CNN gets higher marks here, especially Anderson Cooper 360, primarily because of the latest, unlikely sex symbol: David Gergen, the calm, soft-spoken and fiercely reasoned analyst.  Daily Beast’s Jessie Klein wrong an homage to Gergen just the other day.

This morning and into the early afternoon, I followed news cable channels pretty closely.   Fox News is airing an instructive and clear money management segment with Jill Schlensinger and Shepard Smith. Up next: "what Warren Buffet wants you to buy." 

Unfortunately, Fox News reputation is now very soiled and it will take a long time to rebuild credibility   The network lost its standing as a credible news network after they allowed on air Sean Hannity’s extremist smear on Barack Obama, using a virulent and mentally unstable anti-semite as his primary source.  Unlike MSNBC, which took action against anchors for the mere off-hand suggestion that the Clintons were "pimping" Chelsea, Fox took no action against Hannity.  Instead they reupped his contract.

So, until Fox News can at least apologize for Hannity and clean up their standards, the network is pretty much off my list for review currently.