February 15, 2008
Things have finally gotten out of control. That statement is based on observing the recent antics of Dennis Kneale, one of the biggest creeps in the financial media today. To be honest, I have usually enjoyed his hard-hitting approach, but he needs a leash put on him. There is no reason to attack and try to discredit everyone he disagrees with…is there?
As a Media and Technology editor for CNBC, he was recently part of a biotech discussion with Derek De Koff, a gent who reportedly had significant side effects from Chantix, the “stop-smoking” drug from Pfizer. That, in itself, makes no sense.
What was weird about this interview were the questions he asked in an apparent effort to make Mr. De Koff look like an imbecile. It was as unprofessional as I have ever seen.
In a recent New York Magazine article, Mr. De Koff reported his experience while taking the prescription drug, Chantix. Realize that is was not written for the Wall Street Journal nor the New England Journal of Medicine. What is the difference? It is simple; questions asked such as the suicide statistics per thousand related to prescription drugs, among others, by Mr. Kneale to Mr. De Koff were clear attacks. By the way….Do you own any Pfizer stock Mr. Kneale?
The “This Is My Brain on Chantix” article explores one man’s experience with this new drug. He vividly points out the effects and doesn’t seem to be looking for any financial reward. So, why did Mr. Kneale need to ask if the name De Koff is a pen name as it sounds like…cough-cough. What was that all about?
Then, shortly after that mess, Mr. Kneale was in a nice battle with Herb Greenberg and Charlie Gasparino, trying to force them to confess that short-sellers feed rumors to the press in an effort to profit. Then he began accusing/blasting Gasparino as one of the reporters that does not prevent rumors from being published as well as he should. Mr. Kneale clearly believes that short-sellers operate in a sleazy way. Surely some do, as is also the case with the long side of the equation.
“More than ever before, today we report rumors,” said Kneale. The he went further and presented his “dirty little secret of journalism” thesis stating that reporters need to believe 98% of what people tell them since they require information to go on-the-air. He went on a pathetic rant and proposed that the problem with reporters is they always debunk positive reports, so not look stupid, yet want to believe the negative. It is clear that Mr. Kneale may want to believe the positive and has been very wrong on the current markets as he has been playing the part of Dow and S&P 500 fanboy of late. Mr. Kneale: Please do not overlay your apparent anger and disdain for your own errors on others that are looking to report the news without the personal attacks. (see video)
One more thing: Mr. Kneale, are you aware that your name is an anagram for – SANK IN NEEDLE ? Are you so angry about this drug because of some former personal matter? Is there more to this story? Obviously, my last comments are just as stupid as your line of questioning was to Mr. De Koff, said to make this point: Mr. Kneale, get a grip and go back to financial journalism instead of sensationalism!
Disclosure: Horowitz & Company clients do not hold positions in stocks mentioned as of the publication date of this article. (PFE)