Tag Archives: Maria Bartiromo

Weiss: I don't see the problem with Bartiromo's flight


Forbes.com columnist Gary Weiss thinks that the controversy surrounding CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo taking a plane trip with a Citigroup exec on its corporate jet is way overblown.

Weiss wrote, “Maria may be, well….. a bit too close to one of the companies she covers. That, however, is hardly a hanging offense in journalism and in financial journalism in particular. I railed against media puffiness in Wall Street Versus America, but what troubled me was the substance of the coverage, not the ethics of the journos.

“Where’s the ethical issue here? Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see it. She flew around in a corporate jet, with the knowledge of her employer. (They were ‘preapproved’ by CNBC, according to the Wall Street Journal.) She spoke to Citi clients, which I agree is not a great thing but, again, it was with the knowledge of her employer and is not against CNBC’s ethical rules. Above all, she did not get paid for them.

“There are plenty of reasons to get exercised over the financial press — such as the puffiness of much of the coverage, as exemplified by Maria’s BusinessWeek column — but flying around in somebody’s jet, after full disclosure to one’s employer, is not one of them.”

Read more here.

Berr: Bartiromo should be fired


Jonathan Berr, the editor of desperateinvestors.com, calls Friday for CNBC to fire Maria Bartiromo because of her close relationships with sources.

Berr, a former reporter for Bloomberg News and TheStreet.com, wrote, “Maria Bartiromo, who rose to fame as CNBC’s Money Honey during the bull market of the 90s, should be fired for showing incredible lapses in judgment regarding her relationship with ousted Citigroup Inc. executive Todd Thomson.

“One of the cardinal rules of journalism is that you aren’t supposed to write about or show favor toward your friends. The Wall Street Journal’s (subscription required) expose of Bartiromo’s relationship with Thomson shows that they were at a minimum buddies.

“What’s more disturbing, however, is CNBC’s reluctance to look into the matter further. I’d like to know if CNBC ever reimbursed Citigroup for Bartiromo’s air travel. Moreover, doesn’t the channel’s corporate owner General Electric Co. have an ethics rule or two about employes accepting gratuities from clients? Citigroup, after all, does buy advertising on CNBC.”

Read more here.

Friedman wonders why CNBC isn't covering Bartiromo story


Marketwatch media columnist Jon Friedman points out something today about the Maria Bartiromo/Citigroup flap that no one else has bothered to note: Why hasn’t her own network, CNBC, covered the story?

Jon FriedmanFriedman wrote, “Apparently, CNBC’s damage-control strategy is to hope that this unwanted intrusion will play itself out and simply go away. The network may not be so lucky, in this age of blogs.

“Anyway, CNBC bills itself as The Worldwide Leader in Business News. Bartiromo is a legitimate TV star. Those two factors alone make the story worthwhile and compel CNBC to report on it.”

Later, he added, “CNBC is giving Bartiromo what amounts to a free pass. To some outraged media observers, CNBC’s neglect seems like something of a scandal in itself. After all, how can one of its journalists ever again bemoan corporate disclosure problems with a straight face?

“Officials at the company maintain the network and Bartiromo have done nothing wrong. They don’t want to inflame a touchy situation by dignifying what insiders describe as scurrilous rumors. Further, the network’s officials contend that there was no conflict in their decision to leave her name out of its Citigroup coverage. The CNBC officials argue that the network’s coverage of Citigroup has been aggressive.”

Read more here. His conclusion is that CNBC has damaged its credibility by not reporting about its employee.

CNBC moves to defend Bartiromo


New York Times reporter Geraldine Fabrikant takes a close look at CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo and her association with Citigroup in Friday’s newspaper.

Bartiromo’s trip on a Citi corporate jet is apparently what led to the ouster of one of its executives earlier this week. Fabrikant reported that it wasn’t the first time Bartiromo had flown on the plane.

Maria BartiromoFabrikant wrote, “CNBC also denied that Ms. Bartiromo had involvement with Citigroup more so than other businesses. In its statement, CNBC said, ‘In 2006 alone, she made 46 public appearances on behalf of CNBC.’

“The CNBC representative said that as the on-air figure most closely associated with the channel, Ms. Bartiromo routinely made promotional appearances at corporate events. Many of the corporations advertise on CNBC. Citigroup is among the biggest advertisers, a CNBC spokesman said.

“Of the 46 appearances Ms. Bartiromo made in 2006, the CNBC representative said, only three were on behalf of Citigroup. The list of other companies with events at which she appeared last year included Google, Schwab and Dow Jones.

“In no case was Ms. Bartiromo paid for speaking at the events, the CNBC representative said. The channel defended Ms. Bartiromo’s travel arrangements. The statement said, ‘Her travel has been company-related and approved, and involved legitimate business assignments.’ The CNBC representative added that the awards event in London was a routine appearance for Ms. Bartiromo.”

Read more here. The Wall Street Journal has a very similar story this morning.

Meanwhile, The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz entered into the Bartiromo coverage on Friday, noting that her close association with some companies is raising questions.

Kurtz wrote, “CNBC executives say they approved and paid for each trip, and reimbursed Citigroup for the corporate flight. But the time and distance involved raise questions about how close Bartiromo has gotten to some companies she covers and whether she has become more of a celebrity journalist than the Wall Street workhorse of her earlier years.”

Later, Kurtz wrote, “While some of the 46 events involved other major corporations, such as Google, Charles Schwab and General Electric, they also included appearances on behalf of the AARP, Milken Institute, New York University and various charities.

“CNBC executives say that Bartiromo was fostering positive publicity for herself and her network while developing high-level sources among companies she covers. ‘I don’t think there’s even the appearance of a conflict of interest,’ said one executive who asked not to be identified while discussing personnel matters. ‘We paid our way. This is what we cover. This is what we do.’”

Ethical questions raised about Bartiromo


Reuters reporter Dan Wilchins writes late Wednesday that the actions by CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo to accept a ride back from China on a Citigroup jet, which led to the firing of a bank executive, raises ethical questions about the business cable news channel’s star.

Maria BartiromoWilchins wrote, “Personal relationships are crucial to reporters who vie to get stories first. But friendships that are too close can raise questions about objectivity, said Bob Steele, senior ethics faculty member at the Poynter Institute, a training and research center for journalists.

“Was there any personal connection with Mr. Thomson that could raise concerns about competing loyalties? It’s a reasonable question to ask, and important for her to answer in a meaningful way,” Steele said.

“Flying on Citigroup’s corporate jet could be seen as too close a relationship, even if the network paid for the flight, said Joe Bernt, professor of journalism at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

“Experts said one could argue that the plane ride gave Bartiromo access to a powerful figure at Citigroup, much the way White House reporters may have access to the U.S. president by flying on Air Force One.

“But the analogy is not perfect, said Deni Elliott, who teaches media ethics at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg. More than one reporter typically flies on Air Force One at the same time, and it may be the only time that reporters can get access to a president, Elliott said.

“Citigroup’s $5 million sponsorship of a Sundance Channel show that Bartiromo was to host with other personalities is also nettlesome if Bartiromo and Thomson are friends, said Pamela Luecke, professor of business journalism at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

“Bartiromo is no longer scheduled to appear on the Sundance Channel show, the Wall Street Journal reported.”

Read more here.

Citigroup/CNBC plane ride is now a "scandal"


Fox News Radio host John Gibson has an editorial about the plane ride given to CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo on a Citigroup corporate jet that apparently led to an executive at the company losing his job.

Gibson makes some excellent points related to business journalism.

John GibsonHe wrote, “Now remember: This is a financial journalist taking a cushy ride halfway around the world on a corporate jet. She says she did nothing wrong, that GE and Citi settled the charges for the flight at the corporate level.

“As a GE shareholder I’d like to know what GE paid Citi for the use of that private jet. My staff made calls today. If I wanted to rent a G4 corporate jet I’d pay $5,700 per hour times the 17.5-hour flight from Beijing to Los Angeles and on to New York. I get a grand total of nearly $100,000. Just by the way, a first-class ticket on Continental Airlines is $3,900. So we seem to have an overcharge on a financial journalists’ air travel of 25 times or a 2,500 percent upcharge.

“Now, did I double-check the figures? Yes. We base our figures on information from airplanning.com, which charters everywhere.

“The conclusion? Somebody seems to have paid a lot of money for CNBC’s financial journalist to fly home from a China junket.

“So who paid? Did GE stockholders pay the full freight to bring the GE employee home? Or did GE stick Citi with the bulk of the bill, and it should be Citi shareholders screaming bloody murder?

“And just by the way: On the journalism issue, why could Citi want to treat a financial journalist to this kind of high-octane perk? Why would GE allow their CNBC financial journalist to be placed in this position of a possible conflict of interest?”

Read more here.

More on Bartiromo and the banker


More coverage emerged Wednesday over the ouster of Citigroup banker Todd Thomson due to his inability to control costs, including kicking other Citi executives off a flight from China so that CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo could use the plane.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting Wednesday that some Citi executives advised Thomson that he needed to limit his contact with Bartiromo. It also reported that Thomson “had used more than $5 million from his division’s marketing budget to sponsor a new television program for the Sundance Channel, people familiar with the matter say. The program’s hosts were slated to include CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo and actor Robert Redford.”

The New York Post, meanwhile, noted that the flight cost about $50,000.

Maria BartiromoStaff writer Roddy Boyd wrote, “Based on prevailing operating rates for a swanky Gulfstream executive class jet, Citi largely underwrote the ritzy flight of the high-profile ‘Money Honey’ to the tune of between $2,300 and $4,000 per hour.

“Assuming a $3,000 per hour average cost for the 16-hour flight to New York, Citi shelled out $48,000, not including the commercial airfare for the three execs Thomson bumped in order to fly alone with Bartiromo.

“A CNBC spokesman said that Bartiromo only paid ‘prevailing commercial rates’ for her seat, approximately $3,000 to $4,000.”

Later, Boyd reported, “Even before the controversial flight, Bartiromo and Thomson often appeared together on panels at financial conferences and have been quoted in articles about each other several times.

“In a recent Success magazine cover profile, Thomson gushed that Bartiromo – who sits on a council with him at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School – ‘truly understands business and brings clarity and authenticity to the table.’”

Read more here. This coverage makes business journalists look like they’ll accept favors from sources. A CNBC spokesman said Bartiromo used the flight for “source development,” but it seems she could have gotten time with Thomson other ways because of their ongoing relationship.

Bartiromo took trip on Citi jet


The New York Post and New York Times are reporting that one of the reasons that Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince ousted the head of its wealth management business was that he didn’t like the fact that Todd Thomson shuttled personal friends, including CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo, around on the corporate jet.

Maria BartiromoThe Post story stated, “Sources said that Thomson, whose unit was a financial success story inside the firm, had been warned about his high-flying ways – but that the tipping point came when Bartiromo joined him on the Citi corporate jet between New York and Beijing last year.

“A CNBC spokesman later said: ‘Maria sought and received approval in advance to fly to Asia on Citi’s jet. Billing was handled between CNBC’s corporate parent and Citi.’

“Bartiromo, reached via e-mail in Davos, Switzerland, said any connection to Thomson’s departure was ‘flat-out wrong.’

“Thomson, who the firm said left to ‘pursue other interests,’ couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday. Not long ago, he was considered among the front-runners to succeed Prince and was even moved into his current job to be groomed for a run at the CEO post.”

Read more here. The Times story also had a similar quote from a CNBC spokesman.

Changes for Bartiromo and Cramer in store?


Doug Kass writes about 25 potential surprises in store for the market and business world in 2007. Two of them are related to business journalism.

Doug KassKass wrote, “24. Maria Bartiromo leaves CNBC to join Joy Behar, Rosie O’Donnell and Barbara Walters on ABC’sThe View.’ (At the same time, Elisabeth Hasselbeck gets booted off the show!) Another well-known CNBC anchor leaves to join a large hedge fund.

“25. Amid the early 2007 stock market euphoria, Jim ‘El Capitan’ Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ show goes prime time on CBS. But it is canceled during the midyear market meltdown and returns to CNBC by the fall. CNBC extends the show to two hours by year-end after Cramer, The Movie reaps $38 million in its first weekend.”

Read more here.

New CNBC web site is live


As of 10:20 p.m. Sunday, the new CNBC site has gone live. The business news cable network had said that it would officially launch on Dec. 4, splitting itself from MSN Money, where it had posted news and information for the past six months.

The network is planning a huge day on Monday to attract site visits. CNBC’s Steve Liesman will have an exclusive interview on the web site with Chicago Federal Reserve Bank president Michael Moskow on Monday at 9:01 a.m. EST. At noon, Maria Bartiromo will interview Goldman Sachs market strategist Abby Joseph Cohen on the web site.

Throughout the day there will be “Market in a Minute” video broadcasts on the site. Bartiromo will anchor the first one at 9 a.m.

The web site plans to air between three and eight hours of live programming daily, primarily covering events that could move markets. The site also has more than 15,000 videos of business and financial leaders available in a database, and will add 75 new videos each day.

In addition, there are seven blogs on the site being written by CNBC reporters. Among them are “Media Money” by Julia Boorstin, who came over earlier this year from Fortune, and a sports business blog written by Darren Rovell, formerly with ESPN.com. Boorstin’s blog, as well as the “Realty Check” with Diana Olick, only have two posts, while Rovell’s blog has at least a dozen posts from the past week, and some good stories.

The site also has a list of people who will be appearing on the network’s various TV shows, from “Squawk Box” to “Power Lunch” and “Street Signs.” The shows will have also their own blogs that will be updated daily.

Mark HoffmanCNBC President Mark Hoffman stated on the home page: “The extraordinary team at CNBC has created a Web site that combines all of the journalistic and production assets you have relied on for years on CNBC-TV. We’ll be gathering financial news from around the world with the latest in online technology to deliver a truly groundbreaking web experience.

“As you explore cnbc.com you will discover aggressive breaking business news coverage, in-depth analysis, and exceptional investment tools which you can personalize to best serve your needs. In addition–cnbc.com has the most extensive business video in web history, live video programming, a substantial list of topical blogs from CNBC’s anchors and reporters, and much more.

“Thank you for taking a look at the new cnbc.com. We hope you’ll be with us often on-air and online.”

First impressions: The site will be giving TheStreet.com, MarketWatch and others a run for their money. The site is nicely laid out with a good color scheme. And I like the ticker.