Fox Business Network’s senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino spoke with Playboy about a variety of topics, including his former employer and the ratings success of Fox News. Gasparino calls being interviewed by Playboy a “milestone” of his career.
Why he left CNBC for FBN:
I wanted to work here. This was my career path: a bunch of shitty publications to a less shitty publication to New York Newsday, then I finally got to The Wall Street Journal. I was making pretty good money at CNBC. Did I get paid more by Fox Business Network? Absolutely. I have zero stock options, just so you know. God forbid I had stock options tied to our ratings right now, because I’d be in real trouble. But if it works out here—I’m not saying it will happen, but it might—the payoff is going to be great. And not just the money payoff, but the payoff of creating something.
On Jim Cramer:
Jim Cramer’s a friend of mine. I don’t think he’s evil. I think there’s a perception that he’s out there to screw people. He’s not. Listen, the best hitters in baseball hit .300, right? Warren Buffett has screwed up a gazillion times.
On what Fox News Channel does well:
One of the biggest problems with TV is predictability. I know Rachel Maddow really well, and she’s brilliant, but she’s predictable. The rest of them on MSNBC, I always know what they’re going to say. Fox is actually really good at this. It’s less predictable. You may not think so, but I’m telling you, Bill O’Reilly is not doctrinaire. There’s more of a debate at Fox than on other networks. Do I think Sean Hannity likes President Obama? No. Do Ed Henry and James Rosen hate Obama? No way. We have both sides of the story. CNN does too, but I think we do it better. There has to be a reason our ratings are better.
If you’re going to throw the first punch at me, be ready for nuclear war. Telling someone to go fuck themselves is completely within the bounds of ethics, especially when they’re wrong and I’m right. Truth is a defense. The guy we’re talking about is a fat, unctuous, sycophantic Wall Street suck-up. He’d been saying stuff about me behind the scenes, and then one day he said it on Twitter, and I lost it. I’m a combative person. I have to admit, I am kind of a prick at times. Even my friends will say, “He’s an asshole.”