Mark Haines doesn’t like the “blog” word. For those in the know, Haines is co-host to CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street,” which reports daily on top headlines and stock market moving news. Haines undoubtedly is old-school, a veteran TV anchor that joined the financial network in 1989 after runs in Philadelphia, New York City and Providence.
A sharp contrast to Haines is co-host, Erin Burnett, who coincidentally hasn’t yet fully developed a jaded disposition. This comes with years of experience in the news business. Ever see the movie “Network?” This 1976 film won four Oscars for its satirical portrayal of a TV network that cynically exploits a deranged ex-anchor’s ravings and revelations about the media for their own profit.
Even though “Network” lampooned the TV business, the film ironically gave an accurate depiction of what measures success for television: ratings. This is why so many networks have moved to opinion-based programs like MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” and Fox’s “Glenn Beck.”
CNBC is no different. The network caters to the Wall Street crowd and recently made changes to its lineup, shifting anchors and tweaking shows. Haines made headlines of his own this week when he blogged that tax cuts do contribute to the nation’s deficit, a sore spot among the GOP and Wall Street crowd, who want to continue Bush’s tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year. He got an earful for his opinion, although the Republicans still have not put forth a proposal on how to pay for those tax cuts.
Is there any similarity between Mark Haines and Howard Beale, the fictional character in “Network” that told his viewers to yell out their windows and say, ‘I’m mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore?’ Probably not. But it does show that viewers respond well to controversy, a key driver of what makes news. While Haines may not like the “blog” word, his post certainly helped make news for CNBC, even though he was at the center of it.