FBN’s Charlie Gasparino Talks Twitter, Jorge Ramos and the Market’s Wild Week

By Brian Flood 

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Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charlie Gasparino has been a busy guy this week, appearing on just about every Fox Biz show as well as FNC’s Outnumbered and a variety of other programs. The straight-shooting, unfiltered Gasparino isn’t shy, often saying whatever comes to mind–a blessing and a curse on live TV. We caught up with the sound bite machine to discuss the crazy week, Twitter etiquette, his take on the ongoing presidential campaign and even CNBC’s Ron Insana.

TVNewser: Is this the craziest week you’ve experienced covering the financial world?

Gasparino: Since the financial crisis, yes. Nothing yet has surpassed that. When I covered the scandals back in 2002-2003, there was a rash of financial scandals on the heels of Enron and all the sleaze going on with the big banks. I remember saying at that point, ‘they’ll never be another time like this.’ Then 2008 came along and I said, ‘whoa.’ That was insanity that went on for three years. This isn’t quite there yet, but it was probably the most wild time in the market since then. It was a wild ride.

TVNewser: You’ve had some classic one-liners this week.

Gasparino: Like using the word masturbatory? I think they cut my mic. I was told they cut my mic on that, but they [FBN producers] say they didn’t. I was just emailed and the people here say they did not cut my mic. You should do some investigative reporting on it.

TVNewser: Yes, exactly like using ‘masturbatory.’ Good example. Do you plan them out or just think of them on the spot?

Gasparino: I wing it. You can get in a lot of trouble by saying whatever pops into your head on TV. With that in mind, you are on TV, you are representing a brand and you don’t want to hurt the brand or insult people. Most of the stuff is how I feel. It’s not quite unedited stuff coming out of my mouth, I think about it. But it is shooting from the hip and speaking with the emotion of the moment. My mom taught me not to say stuff that’s too off the charts. I try not to get personal with people unless they attack me first and pull a Ron Insana on me.

FBNCharlie Breaks ItTVNewser: Since you brought it up, you had a public Twitter feud with [CNBC’s Ron] Insana. Have you spoken to him since?

Gasparino: No, no. Although, he apparently—I’m quoting someone and I haven’t gotten this confirmed, but he apparently ran into [Fox News host] Eric Bolling and conceded that he started it. Which he did. He was saying stuff behind my back and he’s kind of a jealous guy. A little bit of yesterday’s news in there. I’m sure he makes a good living doing whatever he’s doing. You know, kissing up to Wall Street guys and appearing on that other network. He does very well doing that stuff but it’s not my cup of tea.

He would say stuff behind my back and I’d get it second hand and it was kind of building up. And they [FBN] did an ad about me here and he took a shot at it. I’m not saying I’m the best anchor; Ron was a decent anchor at CNBC, right. I’m not saying I’m as good of an anchor as him, but I know how to break news. I do break a lot of stories. Our ratings are getting a lot better, but I kept us in the news-breaking game against CBNC which is a much bigger operation. A global brand and we’re a startup. I’m a tenacious guy and I try to break news. For him to come at me and downplay that ability of mine is absurd. That combined with the other stuff—I fought back and I’d do it again if he throws another punch at me. I don’t think he will at this point.

TVNewser: You seem to be particularly good at swatting away Twitter trolls. This has gotten prominent broadcasters, such as Keith Olbermann, in trouble. Do you ever worry about being reprimanded by the suites at Fox for your actions on social media?

Gasparino: It’s not totally unedited on my part. I know, kind of, where the line is. I’m a respectful guy. I don’t start the fights and I understand where the line is. When it really comes down to it, to get me to say something really nasty, it does take you to push me. I watch myself. I am cognizant that you can get thrown out of the building for saying something really bad. Nobody has ever reprimanded me. We’re covering Donald Trump left and right. And what is his appeal to a lot of Americas? I think it is the overt political correctness in the country. There are bad manners and there is political correctness, right? That is the line on Twitter you have to walk. You try to be a gentleman. We’re humans, we screw up. But you try not to be a jerk.

TVNewser: You tweeted about Jorge Ramos not having a “constitutional right” to ask questions. Can you elaborate on what you mean by that?

Gasparino: Does he have a right to be in the press conference? Yes. Does he have a right, when called on, to ask a question at one of Donald Trump’s press conferences? I don’t think that’s in the constitution. I’ve been doing this a long time. When I call up Merrill Lynch, Bank of America or Citigroup that, quite frankly, think I’m the biggest pain in the ass in the world, there is no constitutional right that they return my phone call. For him to think that Donald Trump is violating his rights makes you wonder what journalism planet he came out of. There is no right for Donald to answer his questions.

TVNewser: In your opinion, did his strategy at that particular Trump news conference backfire?

Gasparino: I don’t know. Listen, we’re all in a ratings game. Here’s where I don’t have a problem with him. At times you do things to try and get people to notice you. I don’t think we should be criticizing Mr. Ramos for that. That’s what he gets paid to do. Within reason. It’s one thing to do something really crazy and another to go in to a press conference and ask Trump pain-in-the rear end questions. I don’t necessarily have a problem with what he did. What I have a problem with is him trying to get on his high horse and say the constitution protects his right, like a jerk. Because it doesn’t.

TVNewser: Which presidential candidate should investors support?

Gasparino: I think it’s too soon to know. I know two that I would not vote for if you’re worried about investments. I don’t think Bernie Sanders would be good for your investment. It doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy, but he’s a socialist. Someone who will raise taxes and screw corporations is generally not good for the markets. I would be hesitant to support Donald Trump if you’re worried about your investments. And I personally like Donald for a lot of reasons but if you’re going to espouse protectionism and say, ‘we’re going to get in a trade war with Japan and China,’ and all this other stuff, that’s probably not going to be good for the markets. As an investor, Trump and Sanders, based on what they’ve stated and they’re positions, probably aren’t going to be good for the markets.

TVNewser: How do you keep your energy up with constant TV hits throughout the day during a busy week like this?

Gasparino: There is no problem. That’s what we live for. That’s it.