The most important journalist in business news

Fox Business stakes a gilded claim for Neil Cavuto

Quick: Who’s the most important journalist in business news?

Is it The Wall Street Journal’s Robert Thomson or Paul Gigot? The New York Times’s Larry Ingrassia, Andrew Ross Sorkin, or, as Dean has argued, Gretchen Morgenson? Bloomberg’s Matt Winkler? I dunno, how about the Financial Times’s Martin Wolf or Gillian Tett? Michael Lewis?

Nope. The most IMPORTANT JOURNALIST in business news, according to Fox Business is… Neil Cavuto of Fox Business:

Fox Business is a ratings desert, of course, so the network really is hitching a ride on Fox News, where a million or so senior citizens do actually watch Cavuto to find out what’s affecting their Walmart stocks and muni-bond portfolios.

News Corp. isn’t known for its understatement (except when it comes to its role in hacking and bribing people, mind you) or its modesty. But even so there is something off-key about running a half-page house ad in The Wall Street Journal that claims the most important business journalist isn’t at your world-class business paper but some guy who gabs in between pharmaceutical ads and Goldline pitches on the TV and who helps run a network that’s not doing very well at all.

But, you ask, what about Lou Dobbs? Good question. Fox Business gives him his own half-page ad in today’s Journal:

Sorry about that, Lou, you’re “Honest. Direct. Independent,” and your interviews are indeed “POWERFUL,” but Cavuto’s more important. Shoulda been an SVP.

We’re so used to the gaudy graphics, swooshy sound effects, and shameless self-promotion of television news (though Fox takes it to another level) that it’s a bit jarring to see these folks attempt to manipulate readers of the print page like they do viewers of the 30-second promo. There’s no sound here, true, but there might as well be. Press play below and look at that ad again to get the full effect:

Even The Donald might find Fox Business’s logo a bit garish and gauche:

Though he’d surely approve of its slogan: “The POWER to PROSPER.”

I mean, that’s a bit naked, isn’t it?

Fox loses the highfalutin stuff—not even a perfunctory nod to idealism, public service and any of that other idealistic gewgaw that news proprietors have at least pretended to encourage, if for no other reason than to help ill-paid editorial laborers get through the day (it could also be a kind of exaggerated slogan for the narrowed gaze of the business press).

No, it cuts straight to the chase, which is very Murdochian of them. News Corp. is, as I’ve said, a reflection of Rupert himself. None of this “free markets, free men, “every Fortune tells the story,” or “all the news that’s fit to print.” Not even “The Capitalist Tool.”

It’s a pure appeal to self-interest, which is probably why it’s not working.

And if you really did have the most important journalist in business news, you wouldn’t have to brag about it.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum. Tags: , , , ,