Thursday, August 30, 2007

'Morning Joe' Scarborough Attacks News Corp on CNBC Story

Joe Scarborough on his MSNBC morning show, 'Morning Joe,' took a shot at Fox News and its parent company, News Corp, this morning, for, as he put it, "ginning up a story" in the New York Post regarding a rivalry between CNBC anchors Maria Bartiromo, Erin Burnett, and the rest of CNBC's female anchor staff.

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For those unfamiliar, the Post, over the past few months, has continuously written about a supposed "feud" between CNBC's top female anchor, Bartiromo, and its upcoming and quickly rising "international superstar" (as Scarborough calls her each day during her segment on Morning Joe), Burnett. I've written about these stories before but The New York Post upped the ante earlier this week when it claimed not just Burnett and Bartiromo were fighting, but dissension went far deeper at CNBC.
A source says reporters including sexy blonde Melissa Francis, who covers energy, have complained to CNBC suits that while they get zip, Bartiromo and Burnett are treated like princesses - with massive promotion, regular gigs on the "Today" show and "NBC Nightly News," perks such as limos and gushing quotes from network brass in newspaper articles.

"The catfight that started with Maria being jealous of Erin's rise has spread down the line. Now all of the other female reporters are getting p - - - ed off," our insider said.

"They're going to management and telling them they want equal treatment - better public relations, better placement on the air. They are all being divas now. It's gotten ridiculous."

So what was so suspicious in the eyes of Scarborough? The New York Post is owned by News Corp, which owns the cable network Fox News (which not coincidentally was promoting the story and the supposed feud on its airwaves) and is soon to own its own Fox Business Channel. So who has the most to gain by creating dissension within the ranks of CNBC? News Corp, who hopes to poach as much of CNBC's talent as possible for its new business cable channel.

If Joe is right, it's scary that sources that people use, or try to use, to get legitimate news, may be used to manipulate the news. And as Time.com's Ana Marie Cox brought up on Morning Joe discussing this topic, imagine what will happen, and how much power News Corp will have, once they start controlling the Wall Street Journal where they can really give legitimacy to these kinds of stories. Paranoia? Maybe. Probably even. But, maybe not.

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