Like any network, CNBC is proud of its scoops, proclaiming an interview “First on CNBC” when its producers score a good CEO or government official. The problem is that it’s not always true.
On April 26, CNBC scored a live interview with Adel Al-Jubeir, foreign-policy advisor to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah, touting the conversation as “First on CNBC.” Al-Jubeir was accompanying Abdullah on a U.S. trip that included a meeting with President Bush.
But CNBC wasn’t first. If you had been flipping the dial earlier, you would have seen Al-Jubeir much earlier that day, on Fox News. The “First on CNBC” interview was at 4:45 p.m. ET; the Saudi official was on Your World With Neil Cavuto at 4:10 p.m.
Execs at rival networks have noticed this kind of overselling in the past. A CNBC spokesman says producers use “exclusive” or “first” graphics only after asking interview subjects or handlers if they’ve appeared on any other network during that particular news cycle. A Fox News spokesman dismissed CNBC and its low Nielsen ratings: “You can pretty much get away with anything when no one’s watching.”