At around 3:30 PM Eastern Tuesday, CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera noted a sell-off in the stock market, an entirely unremarkable occurrence in the course of the financial network’s daily coverage. But what separated this particular sell-off from others, according to Caruso-Cabrera, was that it could be traced directly to the appearance of one of the House’s top progressives on her show.
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) tanked the market, she said, by refusing to budge on his contention that Medicare cuts should be off the table in negotiations surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff. Democrats accused the anchor of trying to “shame” them into cutting entitlement cuts by directly blaming Grijalva’s words for the market’s decline.
Grijalva, co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, appeared on CNBC to talk about the debt talks and his view that it was unfair to talk about Medicare and other entitlement programs when Republicans remain publicly unwilling to significantly increase government revenues.
Caruso-Cabrera said Grijalva’s words were literally hurting the economy in real time. It’s something that’s happened before when members of Congress appear on the air, she added.
“Representative? You know what, as we’re talking the market is selling off once again,” she told Grijalva. “Every time members of Congress come on, and I’ve got to tell you sir, I think you’re contributing to the fears that we’re going off the fiscal cliff because it doesn’t sound like there’s any compromise in what you’re saying. Do you care that markets are selling off dramatically when it looks like you guys can’t come to a deal?”
As the interview ended, Caruso-Cabrera noted that the market had gone down “80 points” on the day at that point.
Video of the exchange:
Democrats say Caruso-Cabrera was trying to bully the left into supporting entitlement cuts by blaming them for market drops.
“They thought they could somehow shame him into voting for Medicare cuts by pointing to an unremarkable day on Wall Street as evidence that gridlock is all progressives’ fault,” Grijalva spokesperson Adam Sarvana said. “I don’t know how many dominoes have to fall from point A to point B for that to make any sense, but they were trying to get him to buckle by going on offense from the get-go and he wasn’t biting.”
A top adviser to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Faiz Shakir, tweeted the video Tuesday afternoon.
“CNBC anchor stokes market panic to demand @RepRaulGrijalva give in on Medicare benefit cuts,” he wrote. “Grijalva stands firm.”