“Exciting and Upsetting” As BizNewsers Cover the Crisis

By Chris Ariens 

Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

This, too, shall pass. Stay the course. Cooler heads will prevail.

How now, brown Dow.

In covering the stock market collapse, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo and CNN’s Ali Velshi have used every cliché in the book (including, probably, “every cliché in the book”) to project calm to frantic viewers.

Moreover, the business aces actually believe their banal bromides.

“I don’t get emotional,” says Bartiromo. “I say it straight. My M.O has always been to get to the bottom line. I don’t like to pontificate and put in a lot of adjectives.”

Velshi, too, focuses above the neck.

“I cut through the emotional response,” he says. “I’ve got statistics I can lean on to show that markets do go up over time; that the right kind of investment strategies do win. Panic is not your friend.”

For such telegenic purveyors of chill, however, Bartiromo and Velshi both possess a verbal drive that could power a Fortune 500 conglomerate. Scary.

Then again, maybe it has to do with the fact that they, like many of their colleagues, have been working 24/7 chronicling the country’s economic madness.

Yesterday was particularly surreal, with the Dow plunging 777 points as Congress voted down the $700 billion bailout bill.

For Bartiromo, a 15-year CNBC veteran, “it’s exciting and upsetting at the same time. I follow the money. That’s what I do. As a human being, as a participant in the U.S. economy, I feel it. This is clearly a crisis.

“I walk around my neighborhood and see restaurants that are closed. I have friends at investment banks who have lost jobs. This is not about Wall Street and fat cats. We’re in it together.”

“The last couple of days have been extreme,” Velshi adds. “There’s a fire burning, but we can’t put it out because we’re trying to figure out how the fire started and who’s to blame. You need to put out the fire, then deal with causes as soon as you can get to it.”

As for the bailout bill, Velshi and Bartiromo both support it.

“It’s unfortunate that people voting on this legislation in Washington are having a hard time separating Wall Street from Main Street,” she says.

“One of the reasons the bill failed is because certain people in Congress are saying, ‘We’re not going to rubber stamp a $700 billion check for Wall Street fat cats.’

“The truth is, what happens in the market matters to all of us – the person wanting a car loan, the person wanting a student loan, the person looking to buy a home. This is not a Wall Street problem.”