Former CNBC Colleague: Bolling's Comments 'Ill-Tempered, Uncouth, Crass'

Blog ››› ››› JOE STRUPP

A former top anchor who worked with Fox Business' Eric Bolling at CNBC criticized Bolling's recent racist comments about Barack Obama, describing them as "ill-tempered, uncouth, (and) crass."

Ted David, who worked at CNBC from its inception in 1989 until 2009, also questioned whether Bolling had the experience to be a cable host, adding, "I never thought he was especially bright or especially skilled or astute."

"I would like to know what qualifies him to have his own program?" David told Media Matters by phone Tuesday. "I mean this is a question that I would ask if I was a manager looking to hire him. You know, what concerns me is anyone who doesn't have a heck of a lot of experience in the business commanding that amount of space and time."

David, currently a freelance journalist with more than 40 years in news, responded to Bolling's recent racially-charged criticisms of President Obama.

The first occurred last month when Bolling posted on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that Obama was "chugging 40's in IRE while tornadoes ravage MO." He repeated the line on Fox Business' Follow the Money later that night, and then tried to amend his attack by saying that he "took some heat for saying Obama should have delayed his bar crawl, or whatever he's doing over there."

This past Friday, during Follow the Money, Bolling teased a segment about the White House hosting the president of Gabon by saying, "Guess who's coming to dinner? A dictator. Mr. Obama shares a laugh with one of Africa's kleptocrats. It's not first time he's had a hoodlum in the hizzouse."

David first commented on the remarks in a post Tuesday morning on Bolling's Facebook wall. He said he initially took down his comments when they drew angry remarks against him.

"I took it down because I did not want this to be about me," he explained, adding that he reposted his initial comments again, but they were later removed by someone else.

Contacted by Media Matters Tuesday to expand on his thoughts, David said that Bolling's "crass" comments "probably feed the masses who watch him."

"In 43 years of broadcasting, and I continue on the air to this day, I have never made a comment I regretted because over that period of time, one learns self-control, judgment and maturity. Broadcasting is not for everyone," he said by phone.

"Beyond that, I think that [Bolling's] comments as I read them were ill-tempered, uncouth, crass, but probably feed the masses who watch him."

Asked to elaborate, he added:

"I mean, it's my opinion that the people who generally watch Fox are not as intelligent, this is not just my opinion this is a known fact. People who watch Fox are not as intelligent, not as educated, not as worldly and so I'm not surprised. I'm not surprised either by the fact that people come out and defend him, Fox viewers come out and defend him, or that he made that comment on Fox and that Fox has taken no action."

David, 62, retired after 20 years at CNBC, which included a stint as an anchor for Morning Call. During that time, he said he knew Bolling as a commodities trader who appeared on the air often.

"I was never impressed with him," David said. "I never thought he was especially bright or especially skilled or astute. But he was always pushing for more air time and indicated to me then that he wanted, he would love to have his own show or in some way his own segment. And I never thought that broadcasting was for him and I never did anything to push that, to help to push that with management."

David went on to state that many people are allowed on the air without the proper experience or training these days.

"I think that broadcasting unfortunately in this day and age, everybody and anybody who has a face or a voice thinks that they belong in front of a camera or a mic," he said. "And as someone who started when I was 15 years old, I think it takes a little more than that. I don't think wanting to be in broadcasting makes it right for anyone necessarily. I still think it's an art and a skill that not everyone is right for."

Asked if Fox should apologize for Bolling or remove him from the air, David said:

"I think that anybody who makes intemperate remarks on the air should be looked at carefully by both management and by the listeners/viewers. In the end, it's ultimately, it's management's cameras, management's studios, management's air. And if they choose to use their air to allow certain things to be said, then I guess he can say whatever he likes. They don't have to allow it. I mean, you know, it's the old parlance of broadcasting. I mean, it's their toy store, you know, they don't have to sell every toy on the market either."

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.