On February 19, CNBC’s Rick Santelli made his now-famous call for a Chicago Tea Party. The rant, which called into question the Obama Administration’s mortgage rescue plan, was quickly picked up by the Drudge Report, making its way through the Web and back into the mainstream media. The White House reacted the next day as press secretary Robert Gibbs called out Santelli, saying, “I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
Well over the weekend, Playboy.com published a blog post which looked into the coincidence that some blogs had called for a “Chicago Tea Party” before Santelli made the call on CNBC. By late this morning, the post was gone, with no explanation.
Then, this morning, the Columbia Journalism Review’s Full Court Press blog wrote about the Playboy.com post before it went missing. CJR’s Charles Kaiser got some on-the-record and off-the-record comments from CNBC spokesperson Brian Steel. He published both. Here’s the tail end of Kaiser’s post:
“We don’t comment on internal CNBC discussions,” Steel replied. Then, although FCP had specified that it was only interested in an on-the-record response, he added: “Off the record it strikes me that my first answer is unquivocal [sic] and should answer all your questions. Also off the record I am curious as to why CJR has written about it at least three times particularly since each time your readers via the comments section of your website have overwhelming disgreed [sic] with your views. It seems as if you are both tone deaf and hypocritcal [sic].”
A CJR blog printing off-the-record comments? Does this fulfill the mission of the CJR: “To encourage and stimulate excellence in journalism in the service of a free society.”
Anyway. What’s next for Santelli? Well, it was to be The Daily Show this Wednesday, until the show’s Website changed it to “TBD” a couple hours ago. Guess not.
• Update: Santelli responds on CNBC.com.
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