The midterm elections from a business perspective
TALKING BIZ NEWS EXCLUSIVE
Fox Business Network anchor and managing editor Neil Cavuto will be hosting the network’s election night coverage on Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m.
Cavuto will lead the coverage from New York City, where he will be joined by various economists, business professionals, CEOs, politicians and financial experts to discuss the economic impact surrounding the election results.
In addition, Cavuto will be joined by a team of Fox Business anchors and reporters stationed across the country providing expert analysis on election results as well as foreign market reactions.
Cavuto’s “Your World” show is currently the No. 1 rated cable news program in its 4 p.m. time slot and covers the business world from all angles. In addition to his television duties, Cavuto began anchoring a financial newscast, “The Cavuto Money Report,” for Fox News Radio in January 2007.
Prior to joining Fox in 1996, Cavuto anchored and hosted more than three hours of live programming daily for CNBC, including the network’s highest rated program, “Market Wrap,” as well as “Power Lunch” and “Business Insiders.” While at CNBC, he also served as a contributor to NBC’s “Today Show” as well as “NBC News at Sunrise.” His 20-plus years of financial reporting include a stint at PBS’ “Nightly Business Report,” where he was the New York bureau chief, as well as a stint at Investment Age magazine.
How important is the political scene in this country to business news consumers?
This election is quite consequential even as midterm elections go. It is a referendum on whether the approach to fix our problems in the past two years is going to continue. You’re going to have a battle of philosophies. The Democrats want to do it one way, and the Republicans want to do it another way. The American people repudiated the latter two years ago. We’ll see what they do now. The American people at this time are of a mindset of hating both.
What do you see as the most important business issue for politicians to tackle in the next two years?
What gets short shrift is what is going on with our governorships. We have a record number at stake — 37. For most people, their governor is more important than their senator or congressman. At the state level, you see more of an impact on taxes and how much you pay for goods and services. The states are the ones that have do to with these Medicaid and Medicare issues, that dole out the stimulus dollars. The fact that we have 37 and that Republicans could control some traditional blue states is a big deal. It goes without saying that that’s going to have a lot to determine the follow through of the legislation at the national level.
If you look at the states that are up for grabs right now, they represent 422 electoral votes, divided evenly right now. It could wipe 100 electoral votes off of Democrat control, and that’s a big deal. The governor of a state can deliver a number of resources to the presidential party nominee.
Do you think the coverage of the intersection between business and politics has changed since you became a journalist?
I came along at the right time. Business in its earliest days was relegated to the back pages. It was never mainstream. Ronald Reagan forced the mainstream by cutting all tax rates and he completely changed how we looked at federal budgets.
I’ve never really distinguished between the two. I don’t say this is a business story or this is a general story. They are intertwined. My show at 4 p.m., which is an amalgam of all these issues, is the best performing show at that hour. It’s definitely not because of my sex appeal. I think it’s about finding a way to explain these issues in clear terms. If you’re going to do a story on the dollar, and you think it’s dull, it will be dull. But if you explain that it’s the world rejecting the United States, then you have a good story.
It illustrates a very commonsense way of explaining what is going on. We can get into the arcane that might impress brokers and Wall Street types. But good information in an appealing way can bring in both crowds. It take the same approach. Get the big picture right and try not to sound like the smartest kid in class.
Have there been any business stories underplayed as it relates to the election?
I do think that regulation has been underplayed. I don’t blame my colleagues for not covering it, but in not being more creative in trying to give it a go. I recently showed my parent’s two-page closing document to buy their house compared to my huge closing documents for my house. It gets close to making the story understandable. I think for a lot of folks, they’re just feeling formed to death. If Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had faced this in their earliest days, I wonder if they would have gotten off the ground.
It is inhibiting. It is an enormous distraction for a lot of business who don’t have a lot of time. Regulations, especially when you see some of the onerous burdens, are always well intended, but are we really dragging down business with some of them?
Should business journalism pay more attention to politics?
I think they’re joined at the hip. Most of the people have their stakes in Washington. What’s the real story? It’s what they’re paying in taxes, their real estate, these imposing issues. If you live and die by the financial markets you’re not relating to folks. When I was at CNBC, I rarely led with the markets unless it was a huge day. That’s not iomportant.
Business journalism does itself a huge disservice when it ignores what is going on in Washington. That is the better story.
Now that Fox Business is three years old, how do you see its performance?
I always judge it on little things. In the beginning, we had to plant a flag on big stories. For a lot of them, particularly the 2008 conventions, we would have large, big-screen TVs showing and broadcasting Fox Business. That was a lot of people’s first exposure. A lot of people who are exposed to it really like it. They like that we speak English, and they’re jazzed with what we do.
I think over the course of time, that proves itself with bookings. An example is what we have tomorrow night for the election, from Donald Trump and Carl Icahn to scores of state governors. I came to CNBC when it just started out in 1989, and I can remember that arc between getting recognized and getting legit. And it started in the bookings. Now, I don’t have to sell anything here. Fox Business is a legitimate place to come on and portray their views.
Where could Fox Business be better?
We just got to keep on it and do what we do. We can never ever lose our momentum and our passion. A lot of people get comfortable as time goes on. With every scoop and every booking, you have to do it again. There might be smarter people, but none will work harder. I’m a pretty big guy, but I can hustle. We have to be the network that can hustle.