The corporate lobbyists who want to pass the Simpson Bowles plan to lower the corporate tax rate and cut Social Security and Medicare benefits have far too many allies in Washington. But they also have found a powerful ally on TV: the network CNBC.
The station has given repeated positive coverage to the plan, and frequently features corporate CEOs to praise its features. Here’s one measure of just how skewed CNBC’s priorities have become.
I ran a media search on the term “poverty” during all of CNBC’s coverage during the past month. The term was mentioned 31 times, often in the context of international poverty (for example, talking about Mexico’s drug war). I then searched for “Simpson Bowles.” It was mentioned a whopping 116 times — almost 3 times as often.
CNBC is even more tilted than the traditionally right-wing Fox News. On Fox, Simpson Bowles was mentioned 59 times, and poverty was mentioned 100 times over the same period.
Out of all major cable news networks, MSNBC did the best in balancing out mentions of Simpson Bowles (70) with mentions of poverty (124). CNN had 72 mentions of the former and 111 of the latter.
Recall that CNBC stands for “Consumer News and Business Channel.” With its embrace of Simpson Bowles and its downplaying of the concerns of ordinary consumers — like poverty — it is failing to live up to its title, and is slowly simply becoming a channel of Big Business.