For those seeking my smiling face on MSNBC…

January 3rd, 2018 at 9:05 am

For those looking for me on cable news…

You’ll see less of me on MSNBC as, after a bunch of years, they decided not to renew my contract. Not sure why (feel free to complain to them!), but change happens, and I’m still a CNBC contributor, so you can see my talking head over there.

I’ll miss mixing it with some great folks over at MS, and to those who enjoyed hearing my analysis, fear not. I’ve various other print venues, including this blog, of course, and the WaPo column.

I will say this: I’ve been doing TV economic commentary for literally decades. I started on CNBC when it was a closet over at the WSJ’s offices. I recall hits back then when I brought my toddlers along, who crawled over and pulled at my pants leg to see a picture they just drew while I was on air, much to the camera person’s glee. I used to go out to “pebble beach” in front of the White House during my tenure there and explain counterfactuals to people, as in: “sure, the unemployment rate is up, but were it not for the Recovery Act, it’d be a lot higher!”—you can imagine how that went down.

I’ve always found this part of my work really challenging. People tell me I do a decent job of breaking down complicated stuff, but I can hardly recall a segment where I didn’t think afterwards, “Damn, why didn’t I make that other point?” or “why didn’t I say that this way instead of that way?”

But does this sort of TV play a useful role?

I don’t really have the wherewithal to answer that. I’m well aware of the problem that much of what goes on in media today, including, of course, social media, greatly amplifies the stark partisanship of our age. And if there were a fine for BS’ing about policy outcomes, there’d be a lot of broke pundits out there.

But a good, meaty segment on the nuts and bolts of, for example, how the tax cut exacerbates inequality, or a non-hostile, fact-driven debate about the size and role of government, or the opportunity to correct falsehoods, say about phony “dynamic scores” of growth effects—all of these seem to me be to useful bits of information. Cumulatively, I believe they’re a positive for democracy.

So, I’ll continue to post on such issues every chance I get in all the usual places, but less so on MSNBC. Again, I can’t explain their decision, so don’t ask me. I certainly built up a fine track record over there over the years, I’m proud of my contributions, and I invariably got (mostly) positive responses to my appearances by my fan base, all nine of them (including family members…).

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12 comments in reply to "For those seeking my smiling face on MSNBC…"

  1. Person says:

    MSNBC is not an important venue to get the points across because they’re completely tied up in social liberalism over all else (in theory), but now there’s harassment claims against Mathews (I was never a fan of his condescension) and they’re trying to look more neutral or something. They’re all about the ratings and the money just like every other ‘news’ outlet.


  2. John Tillson says:

    You are not the typical right wing economist and I can not understand why you ignore Modern Monetary Theory. It certainly fits in with the theme of your recent book although you never mention MMT. What is wrong with MMT?


  3. Gerald Scorse says:

    Your fan base far exceeds family members. Ah, but of course you know that. 🙂


  4. mperloe says:

    Cogent commentary destined to be replaced at MSNBC with partisans armed with GOP talking points. How long will Chris Hayes and Rachel Maddie be allowed to continue?


  5. Kathy D says:

    I agree that at least Morning Joe no longer seems to be the right venue. They used to bring in special guests who were thought leaders but I haven’t seen that lately. Too bad. I miss that. And I will miss seeing you. Maybe you could get together with other like-minded “serious” people and produce some short videos a la what Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny) does on Youtube – and then tweet them. Do you tweet? Even serious people are tweeting these days and generating quite a following.


  6. Darren Spreeuw says:

    Bummer! I’ve enjoyed your insights since grad school at AU……25 years of solid economic analysis from you and Dean Baker and Mark Weissbrot.


  7. Nick Batzdorf says:

    Damn. Sorry to hear it.

    You know “The Scream,” Munch’s famous painting? That’s everyone right now; my hunch is that their focus groups are telling them that rational policy analysis is moot while we’re enduring the current tragedy. (And the GR is over… or so they say.)

    If so, they’re misguided. It’s even more important than ever for everyone to understand the horrors being wrought. And is it just me, or does the national discourse kinda need raising just a little bit?

    Well, wise men and women will still read your blog and articles.

    Best wishes and Happy New Year.


  8. Fasaha M. Traylor says:

    I am so sorry to hear this, Jared! MSNBC makes me angrier than I can even say. But at any rate, can you devote one of your blog posts to an analysis of additional deficit stimulus in a full employment economy? Does it make sense to worry about inflation?


  9. Anonne says:

    It’s the liberal purge. They got rid of Joan Walsh, tried to get rid of Lawrence O’Donnell, brought in Hugh Hewitt (!!) and Greta Van Susteren, among others. Although Greta bombed, it’s only a matter of time before someone like Gretchen Carlson shows up for commentary. I like Steve Schmidt, Nicolle Wallace, Michael Steele and David Frum as regular contributors. But they need more commentators who are actual economists with policy experience and this is a huge fail. I am afraid of what MSNBC is going to look like soon.


  10. Michiganmitch says:

    I always loved the way you dismantled the likes of “economists” Stephen Moore and the bowtied dude. I went to the MSNBC site and registered my complaint about their failure to renew your contract. Others can follow suit. We saved O’Donnell that was. Go to http://www.msnbc.com and scroll to the bottom of the page and click HELP to find the path to the comment page.


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