Is this dude for real?

Fox's Neil Cavuto has come in for his share of criticism on this blog, and his respectful interview of Ron Paul last week won't change that.  Not after the journalistic atrocity he committed yesterday.

Granted, I didn't see it myself.  I rely on the admittedly left-leaning people at News Hounds, the site that promises "We watch Fox so you don't have to."  Good thing, too, else I'd have thrown a brick through my TV.  (My cathode ray tube set is old enough you can actually do that.  No $1500 TVs for me.)  A woman named Melanie, who takes it upon herself to sit through an hour of Cavuto every day, transcribes his closing-bell, top-of-the-hour spiel as follows:

Well, few people saw this coming. Wall Street tanks as UBL [that's Fox for "Usama bin Laden"] prepares to speak. The so called media wing of al-Qaeda saying moments ago that Usama bin Laden [sic] will release a message. We do not know if it will be a video/audio tape but it is expected to be a message for your [sic].

Now, word of the pending statement rattling stocks already whipsawed by big selling in big banks rumored to be on the verge of reporting even bigger losses. Then we had the news that Vice President Dick Cheney has an irregular heartbeat that will require immediate medical attention and that's pretty much all traders needed to simply sell first and ask questions later.

Here is, again [shot of the 'big board' at the NYSE], where we stand on the day. Before we get to Wendell Goler I do want to show the big board again, down 244 points. We have an official 10% correction from our highs. Again, a 10% closing correction from our highs, something we have not seen in the five years of this bull market. We've had it intra-day; this is the first time we have done it on a closing basis and many argue that with that correction it could be a buying opportunity — anyone's guess. Still, volume picked up in the last half hour of trading and the selling picked up as well in the last half hour of trading, virtually wiping out gains on the year, nominal gains as we speak, on the year.

Now, as promised, my friend Wendell Goler outside the White House with the very latest on another issue rattling these markets, the health of the Vice President of the United States.

I searched high and low for news accounts that attributed the market's drop to the bin Laden tape and Cheney's irregular heartbeat and came up with precious little to support Cavuto's stab at cause-and-effect.  In fact, I came up with zip.  A search on Google News for "Dow Jones" and "bin Laden" came up with four hits, each at least a week old.  A search for "Dow Jones" and "Cheney" came up with only two hits after the market closed, both of them reporting the stories separately in the course of a multi-story wrap-up.


I mean really, what is the editorial thought process that went into this idiotic ramble?  Surely Cavuto knows there's a credit crisis out there; he even devoted a little bit his program to the subject — 25 minutes in.  Surely he knows that Citigroup is in a heap of trouble.  But those are complicated and messy things to explain, at least compared to a terrorist bogeyman and the veep's heart condition — red meat for the Red State rubes that make up Cavuto's constituency.  (Actually it's not that complicated — Fed creates too much money and credit, and these are the consequences.  But actually saying so ruffles too many feathers in Washington and on Wall Street — Rupert Murdoch's constituency.)

Oh, and let's not overlook in the middle of that spiel Cavuto's reminder that with the market in official correction territory, "many argue" this could be a "buying opportunity."  It takes a lot to out-polyanna CNBC.  But there you have it.