On Saturday night, I referenced an interesting accusation from Playboy against CNBC:  They claimed that the now infamous Santelli rant was a plant.  (Rick Santelli’s Planted Rant ?)

As I noted then:

I have no insight as to whether this is true or not — but it certainly deserves a serious response from both Santelli and CNBC.  If its false, then they should say so, and demand an apology from Playboy. But if any of it is true, well then, Santelli may have to fall on his sword, and CNBC may owe the public an apology. I am VERY curious if there is any truth to this.

Today, NY Mag reported that Playboy pulled the piece (insert your own bad pun here). The Daily Bail also had a few words to on the subject: We Stand Accused Of Having Fake Boobs. Megan McArdle at The Atlantic had the most persuasive fisking of the original piece I’ve seen.

I emailed Santelli earlier about Playboy dropping the post, but haven’t heard back yet.

The dropping of the accusatory piece suggests at best, the author could not back up their assertions. At worst, their accusations were false. Regardless, as the screen grab above shows, its now down.

The IMs are abuzz that CNBC’s legal team barked at Playboy, threatening litigation and Playboy quickly folded.

Fascinating development . . .


UPDATE:  March 2, 2009 7:17pm

Rick Santelli has posted a response to Playboy on the CNBC site:

“First of all let me be clear that I have NO affiliation or association with any of the websites or related tea party movements that have popped up as a result of my comments on February 19th, or to the best of my knowledge any of the people who organized the websites or movements. By the way of background, I am not and never have been a stockbroker. Not that there is anything wrong with being a stockbroker. The home I have lived in for 20 years is a 2,500-square foot ranch. Not that there is anything wrong with owning a larger, grander house. I am currently an on air editor with CNBC. Prior to my 10 years in this capacity I was a member in good standing on both the Chicago Futures Exchanges. My career in the futures industry spanned 20 years.

Anyone who has watched my thousands of appearances on CNBC is well acquainted with my aggressive and impassioned style. Over the next several days CNBC.com will put up some of my other passionate broadcasts of the past. Since joining CNBC in 1999 I have not traded the markets in any capacity. As a financial reporter I have never shied away from trying to promote discourse and dialogue of the important issues that affect markets and therefore our lives.”

(continued here)


Rick Santelli’s Planted Rant ?


I Want to Set the Record Straight
Rick Santelli,
CNBC, 02 Mar 2009


Is Rick Santelli Part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy? CNBC Responds
New York, 3/1/09 at 8:01 PM


The Mother Of All Irony: Playboy Magazine Targets The Daily Bail. We Stand Accused Of Having Fake Boobs


Playboy dips a toe into investigative journalism
Megan McArdle
The Atlantic, 02 Mar 2009 11:47 am


Backstabber: Is Rick Santelli High On Koch?
Mark Ames and Yasha Levine
Playboy, 02.27.09 1:40 PM CST


Category: Bailouts, Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

53 Responses to “Update: Santelli Stares Down Playboy”

  1. Paul Jones says:

    The more people question RS’s integrity, the better he looks.

    Especially on the day of AIG’s fourth bailout (ie the first 3 didn’t work).

    Don’t blame the messenger.

    The message? The US is broke.

  2. in re: Playboy, wouldn’t they have “center-”folded?

  3. livinginlosangeles says:

    Grow a pair guys! Both sides play this game. This is how politics works. The KOS boys have the long knives out for Jindal. They’ve been feeding stuff to Olberman. So what IF Santelli was working with Koch? He wouldn’t be the first ANCHOR with an agenda. If his agenda is to let me control my own agenda then he’s fine by me. All I know is that President Obama has nothing but taxes and guilt lined up for me.

  4. Bruce in Tn says:

    Sometimes you just want the bare facts..

  5. Anon says:

    Must have been frightened of those legal briefs

  6. scorpio says:

    “both sides play this game”? really? on one side we’ve got billionaire Koch, General Electric and Wall St cry-babies in the Chicago pits, and on the other side some geek on a computer called KOS and a writer for Playboy? yeh, sounds like a fair fight to me. Santelli is right when he’s attacking the taxpayer bailout of Wall St balance sheets. less right when he’s attacking working families about to lose their homes because the local market is imploding

  7. Bruce in Tn says:

    When you peel away all the extras, you get to the bottom of this story..

  8. bernandoo says:

    FTA: “The smoking gun, to the extent that there is one, is the “chicagoteaparty” domain. But the timing doesn’t work. No one in August knew that there were going to be massive bailouts and stimulus packages against which they could protest”

    Obama won the nomination in August, so the website was probably registered initially as part of the Republican campaign. Either way, it is clear that the website was not registered in anticipation of Santelli’s rant.

  9. CNBC Sucks says:

    I have to tell you, I think Rick has gotten a raw deal on this. All through 2008, all the guy did was rip on the Bush regime (I include Bernanke in that regime) and its reflationary monetary policies and unprecedented Fed bailouts of Wall Street. Clearly, no one is more consistently and thoroughly annoyed with CNBC than The Great CNBC Sucks, but I think what happened is Rick considers himself a trading pit muckraker and decided to call a little attention to himself…maybe to enhance his contract negotating position. I don’t think what Rick said about the Obama mortgage plan was that unreasonable, but his timing and tactics probably took it farther beyond what he expected. I blame Larry Kudlow for the whole thing.

    OK, Ritholtz, you started with Koch and Playboy, so I will have to close with a link to one of my more half-hearted posts on CNBC Sucks: http://cnbcsucks.wordpress.com/2008/07/05/hugh-hefner-almost-died-while-having-sex-with-playboy-playmate-sondra-theodore/

  10. Bruce in Tn says:

    Hopefully, people will stay a breast of this story…

  11. AGG says:

    Anyone who can still call this a “game” has got to be loaded. This is carnage, baby.

    Hey Santelli, Fannie and Freddie are at thirty eight cents, C is below $1.50. Show some balls. BUy, BUY, BUY.
    When you knocked Bush, you sure did pussyfoot a lot. Are you afraid of the republican muscle but disdain the wimpy democrats? Watch your mouth, pal.

  12. Minderbender says:

    The other story debated, re: Barry’s original narrative below: Did Barry fall into the astroturf’s trap by spreading this using suggestive innuendo (despite the careful denials, repeated above), and perhaps owes an apology to Rick Santelli for the questioning of his character? (or is this merely par for the course, and nothing to be learned here?):

    “it had a “Faux” feel to it”
    “What was so odd about this …”
    “But his rant somehow felt wrong”
    “It turns out that there may be more to the story then originally met the eye…”
    “This looks like more than a coincidence”
    “But if any of it is true, well then, Santelli may have to fall on his sword”
    “I am VERY curious if there is any truth to this.”

    [The good news, which underscored Barry's original post, is that the blogger world very quickly figured this out and let the light of day reveal the shoddy media behind the original "investigative journalism"]


    BR: So, your approach to demonstrating that something is biased is to pull only the quotes out that support yor view, and ignore the ones that don’t? How very odd of you to think that way. And where did I question his character?

    Some people only see black and white, and miss nuance.

  13. Tom K says:

    @ Bruce in Tn

    I think the story has already climaxed.

  14. franklin411 says:

    A –LOT– of people besides Barry posited that the “rant” seemed staged.

    And was the article potentially libelous? Ha! Good luck with that–the standard for libel is EXTREMELY high for public figures. You basically have to prove that there was malicious intent AND a conscious attempt to spread false information. It’s much higher for public figures than for private individuals because the expectation is that public figures have chosen a public life.

    That’s why I can say Brittney Spears is a diseased whore without getting sued. =P

  15. Marcus Aurelius says:

    “All I know is that President Obama has nothing but taxes and guilt lined up for me.”

    I’ll bet you get a tax break under O’s plan. OTOH, if you’re wealthy enough to be subject to a tax increase, you should be thankful you’ve been so prosperous.

  16. jwc says:

    I saw the original rant (before it was repeated and repeated) and it did feel strange. I have seen RS rant lots of times, but I don’t really recall that degree of anger toward the bailouts of the big banks and the executives. I suspect that Playboy bailed out rather than fight the lawyers from GE – you know that they have deep pockets and big lawyers on retainer.

    Overall, I believe that CNBC coverage has turned decidedly negative toward all things related to the Obama administration. That is excluding Kudlow, who of course, is a Republican shill and always has been. Maybe we will get lucky and Kudlow will run for the Senate seat in Conn.

  17. Pat G. says:

    I don’t know how many of you guys saw Lauer’s interview on the Today show with Santelli. Ratigan was there too. Anyway, Matt seemed more interested in Rick’s suggestion that perhaps Obama’s mouthpiece was threatening him then the content of the rant itself. Talk about deflecting the subject.

  18. franklin411 says:

    I agree, and I no longer watch CNBC. I can get the same info on news.google.com without the idiotic blather.

  19. Ventura2012 says:

    Anyone else read Joe Granville’s letter? I truley feel bad for this guy. He has called a bottom for the last 4000 points and refuses to admit he has been wrong.

  20. Urkel says:

    “They claimed that the now infamous Santelli rant was a plant.”

    I believe that you meant an implant ?

  21. Ken H. says:

    Oh please, I would pose that if you thought this was a plant then you haven’t see Rick much. I think he used the same “extra bathroom” analogy at least a year ago.

    It’s probably true much less and analogy. I’m pissed too and if your not, then your an idiot. The thing that really pisses me off is the fact that I decided to live within my means. Guess I’m the idiot. should have just bought way more house than I can afford and let the taxpayer ( my children and yours of course,..unless we default and go to war,…and then my children still pay) pick up the tab

    Gee, I just couldn’t understand how Juanita the maid could afford more house than me, a doctor?? Gee who the fuck knew, right,…???

    They should stuff those extra houses up Greenberg’s ass!

  22. Lars39 says:

    There’s some serious cleavage showing.

  23. Patrick Neid says:

    “Referenced” ?

    I suppose that’s one way to look at it.

  24. mainstreet says:

    The Santelli rant is nothing compared to the latest Madoff saga !!!!!


  25. franklin411,

    try http://www.breitbart.com instead..

    remember: “Don’t be Evil”, or in this case, don’t, wittingly, support it..


  26. greg says:

    Scorpio, Rick has never attacked the working family who are about to lose their homes.

  27. franklin411 says:

    Thanks for the links, Mark. Yes, it’s a bit scary that Google can even tell us how the flu season is going by tracking the number of people searching for information about coughs and sniffles!

    Greg: Of course he attacked working families about to lose their homes. He’s a hardcore Malthusian. The powerful survive, and the powerless die. It’s the foundation of the unregulated market fundamentalism Santelli embraces, and it was employed with great effect in Ireland in the 1840s.

    Worked like a charm for England, but it did cost the Irish about 1 million dead. Since I’m not Irish, I see that as a good thing!

  28. jwc:
    Bingo!! As most people know, Playboy has not been immune in this stock market mayhem. They had to cut staff and scale back. As much as Hugh has fought “The Man” in the past, he just doesn’t have the resources to fight GE(even in GE’s wounded state).

  29. Ken H. says:

    Attacked working families, maybe a few. The rest are flippers and no-doc scum that gambled and lost. Everybody was riding high and making big bucks, until they weren’t. Now my kids get the tab??

    Get in the game Franklin, everybody knows this is one big Ponzi scheme at the expense of the Taxpayer. Not being pissed about it tells me you are probably in on it and you don’t understand how this puts our country on it’s knees. Maybe no children?

    Look, you can’t afford the home,..Rent! Nothing personal.

  30. r says:

    I think Rick wrote a pretty nice rebuttal.

    Does anyone remember Hillary saying that Bill’s affair with Monica was fabricated by the “right wing conspiracy”? …..She never apologized.

    Karl Rove also has a history of starting rumors to eliminate his enemies…..He never apologized.

    Barry, please fight the temptation to become one of them. You have nothing to gain by starting or perpetuating rumors. Your virtue is not as an “investigative reporter”.

    Rather, you look at the facts, give us perspective (short term and long term) based on objective analysis of the facts and only the facts, and help navigate us through the rough waters of the economy and the markets.

    As a fellow, American loving-libertarian who lives in a middle class 2,500 square foot house, please apologize to Rick until you find some facts. (Hillary has never apologized and the entire fate of US foreign policy is in her hands. Rove has never apologized to his victims and most likely is the single most reason Bush was president for 8 years.)

    Spend your talents educating us on economics and the markets. If I want to follow rumors, I’ll read People Magazine and the National Enquirer.

  31. Transor Z says:

    Playboy really screwed the pooch here. I just wish they would have shown a little more spunk in the face of RS’s counter-thrust.

  32. philipat says:

    “Attacked working families, maybe a few. The rest are flippers and no-doc scum that gambled and lost. Everybody was riding high and making big bucks, until they weren’t. Now my kids get the tab?? ”

    I do absolutely have sympathy with working families who have problems after they lost jobs because of these idiots on Wall St and through no fault of their own. But if Juanita is now going to get a 40% cut in principle and a new 40 year fixed, can I get mine too? Only if I stop payment on my mortgage? OK, I have a solution to that. You’re spot on KenH and if I was a US taxpayer, I would be mad as hell. I’m with you and Santelli on this one.

    Why is that the US seems to want to find an easy and painless answer to everything? The fact is that US house prices still have another 20-25% to fall, unless they only drop another 15% and stay there for 15 years. The fact is, this is a fact and all of this is just distraction. It’s going to happen whatever, it’s just a question of how much more taxpayers money we want to pour into the black hole before we get there?

  33. E says:

    I’m somewhat relieved to read this. I like Santelli and think he’s one of the good guys. There are very few things worse than being part of the right wing smear campaign, so I’m glad to hear that he’s not.

  34. napster says:

    Barry I wouldn’t assume the story was pulled because of the author’s inability to back the accusations up.

    The main fact of the story was that the domain “chicagoteaparty.com” was purchased in August, 2008. This website — and all of the code that needed to be created — suddenly came forth within a few hours of the Santelli incident.

    And why did Santelli comment about having some people raising money.

    I sounds like CNBC played financial hardball and Playboy choked. If the only fact was the August 2008 date, that is not enough legal grounds to win a libel case.

    But use your common sense people. See with you eyes, not your ears.

  35. philipat says:

    “Playboy really screwed the pooch here. I just wish they would have shown a little more spunk in the face of RS’s counter-thrust.”

    Come again? This story is too big to fall and it’s inevitable that a deep throat will emerge?

  36. livinginlosangeles says:


    Hey Marcus, my church/charities won’t be so lucky since Obama wants to start getting rid of charitable deductions for higher income earners. Why is he doing that? WHY IS HE DOING THAT?


  37. livinginlosangeles says:


    What is Obama’s plan anyway? Is it 250,000 per person? 250,000 per couple?

  38. livinginlosangeles says:


    He should nominate me to something because at least I pay taxes. Who is this guy that he nominated today that owes back taxes? Is this the fifth major appointment to run afoul of the tax code?

  39. Fredex says:

    “Some people only see black and white, and miss nuance.”

    Which month was Miss Nuance?

  40. sinful mistress says:

    $200,000/single person

  41. sinful mistress says:

    I think…

  42. livinginlosangeles says:

    Wow, so you are penalized for being married?

  43. Wolf1168 says:

    Though Playboy dropped it, it is still getting wind. I DO notice that it is the “wow it looked real to me” variety though.
    see: http://www.businessinsider.com/plantelli-was-santellis-rant-staged-2009-3

  44. Wolf1168 says:

    Update: sorry i missed another one. Apparently this one has legs. This article apparently is leaning the other way, as in “they are right, it is a conspiracy.” Also, they do mention affiliations etc.
    see: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Tea_Party_protests_sees_as_corporate_0301.html

  45. Maj Tom says:

    Great rebuttal Mr. Santelli – just proves that Franklin411 doesn’t have the “411.”

    For Marcus – the best part of Obama’s plan – taxing industry on emissions. What a crack up, because who will pay more for the widget or service… yep, all of us…

    Also – If the top 1% paid 100% of their income to the government – that only constitutes around 1.7 T. If those over $250,000 paid all of their income to the government – that gets you to 3T… So, just by those numbers and taking ALL of their income (100% marginal tax rate and no deductions), the math doesn’t add to 3.6T. That, and everyone with their own business would quit because of no incentive to work anymore… It is a “can’t get there from here” scenario…

  46. bman says:

    So what’s the story? Playboy is up for sale? Who is Santeli? does she wear the rabbit ears?

  47. i agreed with Barry and felt the whole thing was orchestrated…not just the comments by Rick, but the big cheer that went up behind him almost before he finished that “President Obama, are you listening?”

    I’d like to hear from the guys in the pit that morning, that wolfman character or whatever…

    story’s probably waning anyway…cause tomorrow we’ll get another smoking crater to discuss


  48. Graphite says:

    My God, those scrappy muckrakers at Playboy have been undone by Koch and his evil GE puppetmasters! Truth is being controlled by the New World Order! Freemasons run the country!

    You guys are a riot ….

  49. bdg123 says:

    I hardly find Santelli’s rant a right wing stance. I’m not a big fan of journalism from a porn magazine (regardless of the quality of the porn) so I haven’t read the article. Santelli is expressing the feelings of many hard-working people. The unfortunate problem is that unregulated capitalism creates an environment where socialism flourishes. In other words, the ideology of the last 30+ years caused this. So, we either let the innocent hard-working people hurt by this environment rot and see unemployment shoot to 25% or we attempt to address issues as a society. An issue which has merits even in the Constitution. The only question for me is who pays. Unfortunately, with the great wealth transfer that has taken place, I believe it should be those making $1 million + per year. The rest should be getting the relief. To the uber rich who would argue that this is socialism, fine. You give all of the money back you made off of the backs of other people and we’ll call it even. Then, let’s go back to the economic policies of forty years ago. Well, we are going there regardless.

  50. Low Budget Dave says:

    So let me get this straight…

    Santelli asks a bunch of *brokers* if they are happy about paying their taxes, and they all go insane. (I never suggested raising their taxes, but it sure seems like a good idea now. )

    With all due respect to TBP, ordinary people who are one payment behind on their houses are not what caused the stock market to collapse. Santelli is mad because he thinks my bathroom remodeling crashed the stock market? That is not just wrong economics, it is wrong everything.

    I am mad because Santelli’s friends never mentioned that my life’s savings were invested in derivatives. My bathroom remodeling was not speculation, I honestly thought I would have a job this year. AIG junk bonds were speculation.

    I say we round up people who are losing their houses, and losing their jobs, and losing their lives savings, and ask them if they are happy about bailing out a bunch of brokers.

  51. 1001 says:

    The Tin Foil Hat brigade that tried to besmirch Santelli is a disgrace .

    For this blog to pander to the seriously weak reporting at Playboy smacks of some ideological or personal vendetta against Santelli


  52. DC says:

    Tin foil hats? Maybe not so much…perhaps Santelli just got caught in a web he didn’t create, but it’s a web alright.

    “So, to sum up the events of the past few days boys ‘n’ girls: We publish an investigation into the fake-grassroots “Tea Party” protest campaign underwritten by rich Republican rightwing interests, exposing Rick Santelli’s role as the launch event MC, and three days later, Santelli is bitchslapped down by his bosses, he’s cancelled from the Daily Show, forced to issue a Bukharin-like confession, FreedomWorks confesses that it was behind it from the start as we wrote, and every media outlet in the country from the New York Times on down is writing up the scandal. ”


  53. DC,

    that’s good of you.

    here, from link above: “For some reason—call it “fear of getting busted”—all sorts of Santelli/Tea Party shills have been coming out of the closet with their shady affiliations. Like Megan McArdle, who has been leading the attempt to discredit our investigation from her blog at the mighty Atlantic Monthly online. Yesterday she threw in this disclaimer at the end of one of her many obsessive blog posts attacking our article:

    “Full disclosure: It’s pretty much an open secret in DC, but given the content of the article I’m discussing, I think I ought to mention that I live with Peter Suderman, who once worked for Freedomworks. Other than giving me the name of the right employee to email to make inquiries (no word back yet), I haven’t asked him about his former employer, and he hasn’t told me anything. I debated whether to write about this, but since I’m not actually defending Freedomworks, I think it’s kosher.”

    Right, so even though Megan has about as gigantic a conflict-of-interest as is humanly imaginable–namely, she spoons every night with a guy who was on Freedomworks’ payroll—and even though her article absolutely defends Freedomworks by attempting to discredit Freedomworks’ critics—she nevertheless concludes, against all logic, “I think it’s kosher.” Speaking as two Jews to a McArdle, we want you to know that your conflict-of-interest is about as kosher as a bacon-cheese-and-crab-melt sandwich.”

    linking to Megan McArdle is, probably, more questionable than covering/posting Playboy’s “investigative” journalismo..
    Playboy dips a toe into investigative journalism
    Megan McArdle
    The Atlantic, 02 Mar 2009 11:47 am

    theATLantic would be disgraceful, even as a Georgia Lampoon-zine..

    Standards, may we keep them high, even if others’ lower..