Self-promoter of the day: Keith McCullough

By Felix Salmon
October 26, 2011
Here's the most illuminating part of the Steve Liesman/Keith McCullough twitterfight:

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Here’s the most illuminating part of the Steve Liesman/Keith McCullough twitterfight:

KeithMcCulloughKeith McCullough
steveliesmansteve liesman
in reply to @steveliesman

@steveliesman how does an objective journalist like you not use the most accurate forecasting CNBC Contributor as a source in 2011 anyway?
Oct 26 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Basically, McCullough started the fight with a weird tweet about central planning. Liesman hit back implying that McCullough’s real problem was that he felt he wasn’t appearing on CNBC enough. And then McCollough replied, saying essentially that Liesman was right!

As a general rule, it’s not a good idea to take investment advice from people who appear on CNBC a lot. CNBC Is a marketing platform: fund managers love being on there because it increases their visibility and the chances that people will want to invest with them. Think of it as a dumbed-down, glossy version of Seeking Alpha. But do you really need to be invested with the kind of people who are trolling for customers by appearing on CNBC? I don’t think so.

It gets much worse, however, if a one of these people actually complains, in public, about not appearing on CNBC enough, then you know he has lost all sense of proportion. You have a job, mate. Going on the telly is a distraction from that job. It cannot help the people who are already taking your advice. You are abandoning them in order to be able to see your face on a silenced television screen. You are a narcissist.

And if anybody reaches the point at which they call themselves a “CNBC Contributor”, capitalization and all, despite the fact that they’re not even paid by CNBC, then that’s the point at which you run, don’t walk, in the other direction.

In general, a majority of fund managers and market pundits spend their time doing their jobs, while a minority are self-promoters who are desperate to get on TV. Once you’ve identified someone as a member of the latter group, the question of whether or not to invest with him or follow his advice tends to answer itself very quickly. With, perhaps, a single exception in the case of Warren Buffett.

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