CNBC Mini-mizes its journalism skills…


Peter Trepp of Pacific Palisades, CA, with his new Mini E
Peter Trepp of Pacific Palisades, CA, with his new Mini E

I’ve got plenty to say about the execution of the Mini E program- and if BMW continues to make a new poor decision seemingly by the day, it’s probably only a matter of time ‘til I’m one of several voices doing exactly that. But there’s no excuse at all for this video interview by CNBC of Peter Trepp, the first Mini E driver to take delivery of his new electrified ride. 

There have been others who have criticized various aspects of the vehicle- and while I happen to think the Mini E is a kick to drive, it’s not without its faults. But Dennis Kneale, CNBC’s “reporter” takes issue not with the car, nor the program- but the fact that an EV could meet Peter’s needs in the first place. In a 2-minute piece, he manages to work in just about every tired stereotype; the only thing this guy leaves out is a sense of objectivity and professionalism, assuming he has either. 

The piece starts with a condescending thump on the Mini E as a “toy poodle” of a car; true, it’s no SUV, but a good chunk of my generation grew up in vehicles no bigger than a Mini- and, electrification aside, the market is trending again toward smaller vehicles. Then we get the usual “if you try really hard, can you go fast enough to get a speeding ticket?” And on to the super-imaginative, “so you had to drive 20 miles to get to this interview- will you be able to get home without charging?” He finishes by informing Peter that his car runs on dirty coal, suggesting he’s not actually achieving any environmental benefit- a statement that’s long been proven false, especially in California, where Peter lives.  Not that Dennis lets Peter answer- and truly, it’s not that there aren’t a few seeds of legitimate- even common- questions in the piece. But all of it is delivered with a level of snark that is more at home on the Daily Show than the nightly news, and any ability to do a service to the viewers by providing genuine information is lost.  

The only shot I can’t fault is the price- at $850/mo for a 1-yr lease, BMW is basically hosing their retail customers while all but giving fleets away to cities. Still, those who are willing to participate in these programs, adopt new technology, and put up with all of the infant technical and process issues are paving the way for the rest of us. Yet there’s something in our collective subconscious- some mating of guilt and envy perhaps- that causes us to respond to those setting such an example not with admiration, but contempt. 

CNBC, however, is hardly qualified to dish it out and call itself a news organization.

9 thoughts on “CNBC Mini-mizes its journalism skills…

  1. dennis has owned like one car in his entire life. years ago–a volvo. which he never drove. he has no right to even weigh on. snark is his middle name–no, make that his first name, too. he’s nasty and condescending to everyone.

  2. CNBC is known for over-the-top reporting, using excessive graphics, animations and sound effects to create buzz / hype instead of relaying information. It is the home of Jim Cramer (who can forget his mia culpa on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show) – all mouth / no brain – and Donny Deutsch – questionable style / no substance.

    One can’t be too harsh on a foreign automaker for not recognizing the hit-job CNBC would do on EV’s, as their tactics are hidden until they attack, but I would be surprised if any other EV developers waste any time with CNBC.

    As I’ve stated eslewhere, BMW/Mini, Daimler/Smart, Mitsubishi (iMiev) and other micro-EV strategists at big automakers are going to learn what Tesla, Fisker and GM already know – if you are making an expensive EV, then make an expensive EV that wealthy people would want to buy.

    If you are going micro and want it cheap, then compressed hydraulics and compressed air will get you there – not batteries.

  3. Pingback: Twitted by evchels
  4. Just another lazy uninformed pretend journalist. Some would be just as happy with a mirror as a camera. If I get interviewed the first thing I’m going to do is just challenge them to a race! “Can you get a ticket in that?” Can you get a date with that brain?

  5. What we seem to have today is not journalism, but superegos on display. “It’s all about me, my opinion, and my corporate sponsor who runs this network.”

  6. TV? What’s that?

    Am slowly losing my interest in TV. Am already down to just watching recorded reruns on our DVR or DVDs. TV is just too light-weight any more save PBS sometimes.

    Not enough “meat” for me in the programming. TV going down the same path as Detroit?

    The manipulation machines that is the news these days is too obvious even to be entertaining.

  7. It’s a real shame that the corporate media, having downsized to a lean and mean status, has lost most of its knowledgeable and hardworking journalists and are left mostly with blow-dried empty suits who simply do not do the research, discovery, and studying necessary to understand and then report on the biggest issues of our day.

    Having cut editorial, producing and research staffs, not to mention the fact checkers, all we’re left with are people whose primary asset is that they theoretically look good on camera after airbrushed makeup and botox covers up their real face.

    CNBC is supposedly a financial news network but they didn’t see the collapse of the US or world economy coming last fall and they have been five steps behind what’s happening all along. The biggest financial news since the Great Depression of 1929 and it caught them with their pants down and freaking out like a Jerry Springer marathon.

    They have also completely blown the climate change crisis we’re now knee deep into and they have failed to report the most important science stories on this subject day after day after day.

    They have abdicated their role as true journalists and, to quote Eric Pooley (writing for Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy – and courtesy of Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog) “The media’s collective decision to play the stenographer role actually helped opponents of climate action stifle progress.”

    Of course CNBC is no different than any other cable news channel and in fact no different than the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and every other big market newspaper. None have been honest brokers on the biggest story of our lifetime and all rely on a constant flow of advertising from the oil, coal and gas industries to stay in business.

    The real story here is that by the time the mainstream media in the United States starts accurately reporting on climate change it will be too late, because the coverage and reporting we need will only be prompted by the video footage-friendly disasters to come.

    We can no longer rely on TV news to tell the truth or accurately report on what’s happening with plug-in vehicle development. They just do not have the necessary skill set to do the job anymore.

    Thank goodness there are great resources like this evchels blog, the evdriven site and so many others where the truth and accurate reporting by knowledgeable people can be found.

    The truth is out there, just don’t expect to find it on TV news or in your newspaper anymore. That era is over.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s