Booking Wars: ‘Business leaders are not going to be blackmailed’

By Alex Weprin Comment

Investor Place follows up on the CNBC booking policy story. The author, Jeff Reeves, is a regular guest on cable business news himself, and he talks to other guests and TV executives.

He praises CNBC for the quality of the programming, but also argues that the old days when CNBC was the only game in town are over.

CEOs have a choice of TV networks (even if CNBC is still the big dog) but can also publish their thoughts themselves, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently did responding to a New York Times review.

If I were in the booking department of CNBC, I would think twice about some of this lest big-time CEOs and hedge fund managers tire of the whole affair.

Or as Kevin Magee, the executive vice president of Fox Business Network, said to me more bluntly, “Business leaders are not going to be blackmailed, much less be dictated to by some booker in Englewood Cliffs.”

Magee uses the right word there with “dictated.” The problem is that CNBC thinks it has a captive audience and captive contributors, and thus can tell all parties whatever it feels like.