CJR: CNBC ‘Rises Above’ Into Advocacy

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By Alex Weprin Comment

The Columbia Journalism Review takes aim at CNBC’s “Rise Above” campaign, arguing that the network is using the campaign to engage in an advocacy campaign, a campaign that is decidedly one-sided, even if it has the veneer of balance.

You’ll note that CNBC has not Risen Above for the common good on issues like stimulating a depressed economy, ameliorating the housing catastrophe, or prosecuting its Wall Street sources/dinner partners for the subprime fiasco. But make no mistake: even if it had, it would have been stepping outside the boundaries of traditional American journalism practice into political advocacy. And that’s precisely what it’s doing here, at further cost to its credibility as a mainstream news organization instead of some HD version of Wall Street CCTV.

In the New York Times, Paul Krugman argues that the network is launching the campaign because it is what the audience of the network wants to see:

It is, I believe, a tribal identity thing; the consumers of business news want to see themselves as part of the economic elite, although they mostly aren’t. And Chris Mooney wins again: we’re talking about personality types who aren’t responsive to evidence. Indeed, the more often you show them that their hard-money, anti-spending prejudices have been proved wrong, the more deeply those prejudices become entrenched.