That FBN got outmuscled by CNBC on a Simpson Bowles interview does not surprise me. You can blame the PR people partially for not standing up to CNBC and saying, “We already committed to FBN, we aren’t going to back out to please you.” But, let’s face it, CNBC can get away with this muscle work because of its penetration, both in terms of providers and channel placement and reach compared to FBN’s. If it were a booking war between CNN and MSNBC it would be a different story because the playing field is more even. Maybe one day that will change and CNBC won’t be able to throw its weight around quite so easily and, therefore, PR people won’t be as easily cowed.
That said, the on the air reaction could have been handled better than it was. “Apparently, David, they don’t want to fix the debt that badly”?????? Come on. As if fixing the debt had any greater chance of success had Simpson and Bowles done any TV today vs. doing no TV today. Simpson and Bowles got marginalized by Congress and the White House long ago. Periodic TV appearances aren’t going to alter that fact. FBN has a right to be pissed. But hyperbole makes for a poor counterargument.