Did a CNBC reporter not get his contract renewed for anti-Obama statements?
The Daily Caller has learned CNBC reporter Matt Nesto will not have his contract renewed, which is up at the beginning of 2011. Were Nesto’s politics a factor in the network’s decision not to bring him back?
Nesto, known for his market research in appearances on the network throughout the broadcast day, is generally a low-key actor. However, back on the CNBC’s “Closing Bell” program on June 16, Nesto was asked whether BP acted appropriately by agreeing to the White House’s terms of cutting its dividend payments and agreeing to a $20-billion escrow account in the wake of the Gulf oil spill disaster.
According to Nesto, the administration was circumventing the legal system with such a demand.
“I don’t think they [BP] had a choice,” Nesto said. “In cutting the dividend or in joining up with that fund? I mean, cutting the dividend – yeah it is smart and prudent to save cash in the face of an unknown liability, but I’m very troubled by the fact, uh, that the President has once again created his own sense of, of a legal system.”
Nesto explained Obama was operating outside the presidency’s intended function.
“He fired the CEO of General Motors. He circumvented the rights of bond holders in the GM situation and now he’s confiscated $20 billion from a private company – wait a minute – to set up, quote, ‘a financial and legal framework’ that already exists,” Nesto said. “It’s not his job to create laws. It’s his job to enforce laws.”
The clip caught the attention of Fox News host Glenn Beck, who has used Nesto’s remarks to compare how some on the left thought the Obama administration should have handled the Gulf oil spill. According to Nesto, it was as if the administration had put a gun to the head of BP. “They are doing that,” Nesto said. “Why do they have to have a gun to their head? There is a thing called due process my friends. There’s gonna be a lot of litigation, as there should, right?”
CNBC flak Brian Steel declined to comment on Nesto’s status at the network beyond the end of this contract.
“I do not comment on contract status beyond confirming that Matt is currently under contract at CNBC,” Steel said in an e-mail.
It’s not unprecedented for CNBC to attempt to influence the politics of its business reporting, according to former CNBC on-air editor and current Fox Business Network senior correspondent Charles Gasparino. In his book, “Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street,” Gasparino explained that General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt wanted to use CNBC’s influence to put GE in a better position to receive subsidies from the federal government for so-called green energy initiatives.
“Immelt touted his status as a registered Republican when he stated publicly and infamously among his Republican friends his support of the president, saying, ‘We are all Democrats now,’” Gasparino wrote. “His friends tell me that the reasons Immelt supported Obama came down to the fact that he liked the president on a personal level and believed he was the moderate that he sold himself as on the campaign trail. At CNBC, where I worked for several years, Immelt called a meeting of top talent to discuss coverage of Obama’s economic agenda and whether the heavy criticism by on-air commentators (like me) was fair to the president.”
Nesto’s contract is up at the end of February. Prior to his stint at CNBC, Nesto worked for Bloomberg News for nine years.