CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Sham journalism has gotten a foothold in Ohio politics, and it arrived via national television. Cable TV economist Larry Kudlow -- who writes checks to Republican candidates -- interviewed the Ohio GOP's candidate for governor during his CNBC show Thursday. Their sit down now appears more about political theater than substantive business news, which is supposed to be CNBC's stock in trade. There were no sparring words. By today the interview has become a means for John Kasich to produce a political advertisement without spending any campaign cash -- the interview tape is on Kasich's official website. What's really shameful about the incident is that Kudlow has his money riding on the Republican party; he's actually a donor posing as a business journalist. It is not likely that he would frame his inteview with challenging questions, or fire anything tough squarely at his fellow Republican. Kudlow threw softballs at John Kasich, who posted the tape of his CNBC appearance on his campaign website late last night. Thus, the Kudlow interview had the tone of a political advertisement from the start -- and that is what it has become. Kasich delivered his stump speech -- he never strayed from being on message -- and Kudlow pretended it was news. Kudlow should have forcefully mentioned that he's an active Republican who has written checks for dozens of his political party's candidates. As recently as last May, Federal Election Commission records show Kudlow gave $1,000 to Connecticut's Christopher Shays, who used the money to pay off debts left over from his 2006 loss. Worse for Kudlow is that Shays in on the board of CIT, a financial giant that specializes in business loans. CIT filed for bankruptcy last year and is seen as part of the Wall Street mess.
Kudlow is a former Bear Stearns economist; Kasich is a former Lehman Bros. managing director. Newsmeat has a list of Kudlow's political donations over the years. The interview/ad is making the rounds of political websites in Ohio including Kasich for Ohio. Matt Naugle has a copy of the tape at RightOhio. There is a clip at American Conservative Values.
Plunderbund, a Democratic blog also has the tape and notes that Kasich's appearance echoes much of what Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has been saying about rebuilding the state's economy. Kudlow seems not to have noticed. The take at the Daily Bellwether is that Kudlow and CNBC owe equal time to Strickland. Kudlow is a Republican activist -- and there are Federal Election Commission records to prove it.