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CNN IN THE MONEY
President Get Small Blip In Polls After State of the Union; Russia Increased Spies Within Washington
Aired February 6, 2005 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital. This is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, HOST: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY:
Making a sale: Find out how the State of the Union address played out with voters from sea to shining whatchamacallit. We'll talk with pollster John Zogby in a couple of minutes.
Plus, bear tracks: "Time" magazine says Russia is ratcheted up its U.S. spy force. We'll hear about what Kremlin is looking for and how far it could go to get it.
And serious players: From the most famous Super Bowl ads down to the TV rights. The NFL's biggest game is all about putting money in motion. Where do the Benjamin's wind up at the end of the day? Find out who stands to win, financially speaking.
Joining me today, couple of my dear friends, veterans of this program. CNN correspondent, Susan Lisovicz.
Why'd you go like this? Dear friends. I worked with you a long time.
CAFFERTY: You have lasted almost as long as my first marriage.
"Fortune" magazine editor-at-large, Andy Serwer.
ANDY SERWER, "FORTUNE": What happened to that marriage? That's the problem.
CAFFERTY: We're so far off topic now, we must get back...
SERWER: Circle back in, Jack.
CAFFERTY: Got that Super Bowl situation going on. Every year they invent all these subplots and stories that are created by the marketing guys, the P.R. guys, the commercial people, the media comes out. You know, they send people to cover the Super Bowl from KRAP radio in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) get us a story that's never been gotten before. But there are some real subplots that are probably worthy of note. I wonder if old rush Limbaugh will be watching the game this year, for example.
SERWER: Yeah, well right, remember Rush Limbaugh was the guy who said that Donovan McNabb was given a break because he was black, he really wasn't that good a quarterback. Well, excuse me, but he's in the Super Bowl.
SERWER: That's No. 1. Of course, Terrell Owens, another great story. Freddie Mitchell can't stop talking. Thank god for the Philadelphia Eagles because the Patriots are boring.
CAFFERTY: Oh, you don't -- you just don't...
SERWER: They're bland, they're boring, they're bureaucrats.
CAFFERTY: You just don't like Boston.
SERWER: They're bureaucrats. No, I don't like the patriots. Well, I don't like Boston, either. I mean, the Red Sox and, you know.
CAFFERTY: Who you are rooting for, Susan and.
SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm rooting for the Eagles, because we have to. So many disappointed New York Jets who remember that Bill Belichick was Jets' coach for what? A day?
CAFFERTY: An hour and a half.
SERWER: Jilted. Jilted. Got jilted.
LISOVICZ: Got to go with the Eagles.
CAFFERTY: Now, you went down Philadelphia and saw up close and personal the Eagles fans. There are few more rabid individuals on the planet than Eagles football fans.
SERWER: They are critical. They really are, and I was scared out of my life. I made it out of the parking lot. You have to get into the parking lot, of course.
CAFFERTY: That's where the action is.
SERWER: Cooking lobsters with beer....
LISOVICZ: What did you learn?
SERWER: I learned they are rabid. You know, they're insane.
LISOVICZ: They are foaming at the mouth.
SERWER: You know, I think they are crazier there then your average NFL city.
LISOVICZ: Because they've been are deprived. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
SERWER: They have. The last championship Philadelphia won, 1983 with the 76ers, so it's been a very long time. They're the new Boston and Boston turned from a city of losers to a city of winners at least in some minds.
CAFFERTY: You know, what's good about the Patriots? I mean there are good things about the Patriots, the first one is they operate under the salary cap.
CAFFERTY: And this will be the third Super Bowl in the last four trips if they win it and they haven't gotten up to the salary cap. So Belichick and the coaches know how to manage talent without strong pay the George Steinbrenner kind of payroll.
CAFFERTY: The other thing I like about them is, you don't know who everybody on the team is except maybe for Brady. They're a bunch of pretty low-key guys who just...
SERWER: I don't like that.
CAFFERTY: You don't?
SERWER: I want, you know, colorful, strange people that you can yell out and get in trouble.
LISOVICZ: Doing dances in the end zone.
SERWER: I mean Terrell Owens is the prototype, right?
CAFFERTY: There you go.
SERWER: And I hope he plays and I think he will.
CAFFERTY: I hope he plays, too.
SERWER: He will. He'll play.
CAFFERTY: It'll be a better game he's in it.
SERWER: That's right.
CAFFERTY: All right, we shall see.
The State of the Union Address isn't just a speech, it's a piece of political theatre, if you will, and like any good show, audience reaction, a big part of the performance. For a look at that, we're joined from Syracuse, New York by John Zogby who runs Zogby International, one of the premier polling companies in all the world.
Mr. Zogby, nice to see you , welcome to the program.
JOHN ZOGBY, ZOGBY INTERNATIONAL: Good to be back, Jack.
CAFFERTY: So how did it play in Peoria?
ZOGBY: The President got a blip but not a bump. This just isn't a big bump electorate. You know, we are still just as split as we were a year ago, or few months ago. So the president is back up to about 50 in the polls. He was at 48 or 49.
LISOVICZ: John, I was really confused because the president -- everyone says the president will be judged by Iraq, the outcome in Iraq. He had a perfect opportunity with the elections and those ink stained fingers and people who were celebrating and dancing in the streets. Instead, he said social security all the time. Do you think that is contributing to the blip and not the bump?
ZOGBY: No. Basically the president, for a while, basked in the glow of the success of the election. At least the one day in Iraq. And frankly, Susan, I was a little stunned too. I would have thought that he would have led with that and emphasized it. But it certainly gave him a great moment. But he's really going out on a limb here on social security, not that the plan itself doesn't have some potential for the republicans and for the president to cultivate some support among younger voters, but you saw that that was a howling moment, on the part of the democrats, and there are very few republicans up for re-election, I think, who are going to go out on a limb with the president on this.
SERWER: All right John, I know you are kind of a crystal ball guy. I was going to ask you about the Super Bowl, but I will give you some slack.
ZOGBY: I don't make any predictions.
SERWER: OK, all right. We'll stick with politics, then.
SERWER: I was in a cab the other day in New York and I was talking to the cab driver, said, "Hey, I'm a republican and I voted for the president, but you know, I just don't really trust this guy." What is it about President Bush that seems to make him not loved by his own people even or why does he have this high disapproval rating and still manage to get elected?
ZOGBY: Well, there's a sense -- two things, there is a sense the president has gone way over to the right, and he has. He has cultivated his ideological right wing, much to the chagrin of moderate republicans, who you're going to find in New York City and Boston, and Philadelphia, and in states like that. Secondly, you know, we found among undecided voters, including longtime republicans during the election, they really did not want to vote for George W. Bush, but in a choice between someone who has the image of saying what he means and meaning what he says, versus someone who says a whole lot of things and you're not quite sure what he's saying at any given moment in time, they opted ultimately for the president. That's why he won. That's why Kerry lost.
CAFFERTY: Are the democrats missing an opportunity here? The country is divided almost right down the middle, as evidenced by the -- not just the approval ratings, but the election results themselves. Are there things based on your research that the democrats could or should be doing to capitalize on the fact that a lot of people don't like the status quo, and perhaps there's an opportunity here?
ZOGBY: There really is. You know, remember, they got 48 percent of the vote nationally. The president got just under 51 percent, but the democrats have turned that 48 percent now into a freefall, which is kind of amazing. The democrats need to, I think, study Bill Clinton, the last successful democratic president and jump across the aisle and steal issues. But they need to do two things, the need -- No. 1, to consolidate their base and bring out the old-time religion that democrats and democratic voters want to hear. But at the same time, they've got to jump across the aisle. I think they have an opportunity to steal this social security issue. This is a way for them to appeal to and consolidate younger voters, by talking about a little bit of privatization of social security. There are some of those things they can do.
LISOVICZ: In the meantime, though, isn't the second term for a president very tricky and you have said that the president is going out on a limb. And then there's this whole history of the dangers of the second-term presidency. So how do you handicap it right now?
ZOGBY: Well, he's got a very difficult time ahead of him. He will ultimately be judged by Iraq. And Iraq's had a good week for the president, but there's still a highly divided country and some real problems over there. I don't think he's going to do very well on his domestic agenda, and so he's only got a short window. He really becomes a lame, lame duck a year from now. You know, and then he rides out his term. This is the year he can get something done. I think he may have made a mistake in the way he is selling his social security plan.
SERWER: Quick last question. You talked about religion, the democrats getting its story in the "New York Times" this week about Hillary Clinton talking an awful lot about religion lately. Do you think she's she is a credible national candidate?
ZOGBY: I do. In fact, not my credentials, I wrote an op-ed piece in the "New York Times" July 1, 1999 entitled "Wrong State, Wrong Time." So that's how good I am in terms of predicting. Hillary made me a believer here in New York and basically she made a lot of people believe her. Do not underestimate Hillary Clinton as a national candidate.
CAFFERTY: John Zogby, the president of Zogby International. Kind enough to join us, always a pleasure to have you on the program. Thank you, happy New Year.
ZOGBY: Thank you. You too.
CAFFERTY: Talk to you soon. When we come back: Undercover and overhear: Russia reportedly cranking up its spy contingent here in the colonies. We'll at what that's all about.
Plus, that's "e" as in excess: A new Sundance hit looks as Enron's flame-out. We'll hear from an author of the story that inspired it.
And the camera never lies: See what happens when you get hammy with a web cam. It's not pretty but it is the fun side of the week.
CAFFERTY: "Time" magazine article out this week says there are as many Russian spies in the U.S. right now, this very minute, as there were during the Cold War. Sleep well tonight, as if we didn't have enough intelligence concerns. Should we be alarmed? And what are they over here looking for anyway? Timothy Burger, Washington correspondent for "Time" magazine, is co-author of this piece. Terrific stuff. He's here with a look.
Welcome. What are they after? It's about technology as much as anything, isn't it?
TIMOTHY BURGER, "TIME": Well, some of the big things they're after include industrial espionage, trying to shorten the time to market for Russian companies of high-tech items. But they really are after some of the classic old things that they were in the Cold War: Military secrets, plans and intentions of our -- you know, the American leaders.
SERWER: Hey, how do you know, Tim, the -- what -- that they're here? I mean, whose intelligence do you have? Well, you know, I try to circulate and check out as many sources of information as possible in the course of doing that, I sort of came across this, and it really hadn't been out there. Some people may think it is obvious, like duh, of course they're spying on us still, but in fact, it really hadn't been out there publicly and it is enough concern to the White House that just late last year, as we put in the story, the National Security Council had asked American intelligence agencies, you know, CIA, FBI, to figure out what they're up to, because we really don't have enough of a handle on what they're doing.
LISOVICZ: What kind of relationship exists between the U.S. and Russia, right now? You know, I remember during the debates, the president called the president by his first name, I think he said "Vladimir and I." I mean, he -- you know, he' was talking like that there was this warm relationship and that's -- that's really not true is it?
BURGER: Well in some ways there is, you know, a warm relationship. The president has hosted Vladimir, as you mentioned, out at his ranch, which he does -- he tries to keep to only people he really regards as either close friends or truly crucial allies. So that -- you know, there is that closeness at the top. However, there's also an inherent frostiness because the Cold War tensions, some people thought they left , but they never completely did and of course Mr. Putin has had his own thoughts on the war in Iraq. He's been, some would say, belligerent toward former Russia -- USSR states -- Georgia, you know, and Ukraine. So, there are lots of ways that the U.S. and the Russian leadership are cross-wise. So it's very much a push and pull and I think what President Bush tries to accomplish by being so tight with him is to sort of have the ability to get on the phone with him when something is really important.
CAFFERTY: You know, I -- one wonder, though, what's on the other end of the line. Vladimir Putin's a product of the KGB. He's in the process of consolidating his power. He is nationalizing things like Yukos, the big oil company. You mentioned the way he's treated places like Ukraine and Chechnya. What exactly is the attraction, do you suppose, from our Christian president for this man who seems to not possessed many of the qualities that our president tends to espouse?
BURGER: Well, again, Russia is a huge force in the world. They remain the country that, like the U.S., has enough nuclear arsenal to destroy, really, the civilized world. They are a huge potential economic power. I guess, you know, he just wants to try and maintain some relations, so sometimes in diplomacy, leaders look past some of the, you know, unpleasant little details.
SERWER: Hey Timothy, I'm sure you've been to that really cool new spy museum in Washington which is almost impossible get into, it's so popular, and it's a really amazing place. Do you ever wonder if there are any spies in there in checking out all the exhibits and what's going on over there?
BURGER: I have no question about that. They have various events that are quite fascinating and I've been to a number of them and I'm certain that there's one or two spies in the audience and it's certain -- it's interesting to try and guess who they might be. Sometimes they're probably asking some of the questions from the audience.
SERWER: Timothy, I don't get this, though. I mean, if there are 100 known spies in the U.S., this coming at a time when national security is more of an issue than perhaps ever, in our country's history, everybody's worried about Jihadists and here are spies from, theoretically, one of our allies. I mean it's kind of ironic, isn't it?
BURGER: It is a little bit ironic. But you know, Washington is probably the city in the world with the most spies anywhere. You know, if the U.S. is the leader of the free world, everyone sort of wants to know what we're doing next. So it's something that you can't -- you know, we can't let our guard down on even as we're trying to go against these trends, national threats, such as terrorist groups that don't have state capitals and, you know, don't have elected leaders. So it's really having to -- you know, just do everything at once and that's problem that the intelligence community faces.
CAFFERTY: Do we know who these people are? And what's the upside and downside if we do, of rounding them up and saying, that's it, the game is up, go back home and...
SERWER: Pack 'em up. CAFFERTY: You know, don't bother coming back, your passport's revoked? Call Vladimir on the phone, say we've a package on the way for you, FedEx will be there in the morning, and it's all your spies, and keep them the hell out of here?
BURGER: Well, the downside of kicking out spies who are here under diplomatic cover is that the Russians would probably do the same to us and then, you know, our CIA presence in Russia would be knocked back. The other thing is we're talking about the -- you know, somewhere over 100 known spies under diplomatic cover. You alluded to before those we don't know. There are any number of non-official cover or "noc" spice posing as business people, posing as journalists, posing as, you know, academics or students and those individuals are even harder to track. At least with the ones under diplomatic cover, the -- our intelligence agencies coordinating with allied agencies overseas are able to sort of deduce, which the Russian spies are under diplo cover. But then they have to try and tract "nocs" and that's a whole 'nother huge challenge. The same goes for China, by the way. They have a huge "noc" presence according to what our intelligence agencies analyze.
LISOVICZ: That's a whole 'nother issue, China. We'll revisit that. Timothy Burger, Washington correspondent, for "Time" magazine, thanks for joining us.
BURGER: Good to be with you.
Coming up after the break:
Phone home: SBC is doing a deal with mom as in Ma Bell. See if Wall Street likes the deal between the new kid and its old corporate parent.
Also ahead, strike up the brand, from glitz to the gridiron: We'll look at who's winning cash-wise in this year's Super Bowl.
And its costing more to set up a booth at the virtual flee market: Find out why some eBay sellers are mad at the online auction house.
LISOVICZ: Now let's take a look at the week's top stories in our "Money Minute."
The fed's interest rate hike parade keeps marching on. Alan Greenspan and company boosted short-term rates another quarter point. And the post decision statement from the fed reads, just like the last with one, pointing to more rate hikes in the future.
Underworked and overpaid: That's what a newly released reports says about former New York Stock Exchange chief, Dick Grasso. The NYSE study concludes Grasso set his own unimpressive performance targets and made about $144 million he didn't deserve. But Grasso wasn't grabbing it all for himself. The reports he made sure his secretary got a $240,000 annual salary and his two drivers, well they made $130,000 a year.
And Martha Stewart continues to do better in jail than most of us do as free citizens. NBC announced that Stewart will star in her own version of "The Apprentice" next month. That's even though she'll still be under house arrest. Donald Trump will be one of the executive producers of the show.
SERWER: Every parent dreams of the day when one of their children will grow up and buy them out? Well, maybe that's not every parent's dream but that's what happened a few days ago when baby Bell, SBC and Ma Bell, AT&T, agreed on a $16 billion buyout deal. The first big impact will be job cuts as both companies announced they'll be eliminating about 13,000 positions. But, what does the deal mean for investors? Well, SBC shares are trading at about midway between their one-year highs and lows, right now. SBC communications is our "Stock of the Week." and god, I don't know about this deal. I mean, one person on Wall Street called a "monumentally dumb deal for SBC." Who wants to be the biggest no-growth company in the United States? That's because, you know, of course AT&T's business is shrinking. SBC seems intent on becoming the biggest phone company in the world. Congratulations, you know? It's a very tough business. They bought Ameritech, they're putting together AT&T wireless.
LISOVICZ: It used to be the smallest of the baby Bells.
SERWER: Yeah, it's just a tough one.
CAFFERTY: There's all kinds of phone companies out there. You got internet phone companies now, and you got AT&T which is old cable phone company.
LISOVICZ: And it's business that are desirable.
CAFFERTY: Well, and they also have those wires that go into everybody's house in the country, just like the television, the cable TV companies do. Somebody said if they can figure out how to do something besides run phone conversations over those lines, that company probably be worth a lot more than it is.
SERWER: Yeah, they haven't been able to figured that out. I mean, the cable companies have gotten ahead of the. Maybe SBC will. Ed Whitaker, you know, wants to put these, all of these companies together and I just don't see it. It'll be an $85 billion company in 2006, which is just huge. He got in trouble when putting Ameritech together. They laid off so many people that the service declined and regulators started to slap them on the wrists.
LISOVICZ: Well, the layoffs have already started.
SERWER: Right, and they're talking about laying off 13,000 people. Well, they better make sure their service stays up to snuff otherwise the regulators are going to come at them again. Meanwhile, Jack, as alluding to, internet telephony. People making phone calls over the internet, it's practically free, that's not quite true, but it's very, very cheap.
CAFFERTY: A lot cheaper than the traditional way, though.
SERWER: It sure is.
CAFFERTY: And it may decrease.
LISOVICZ: A lot of complaints about service, just yet, the technology hasn't developed to the point where it can really rival, in terms of quality, but you're already seeing the fallout from SBC and AT&T, because now you have that MCI and Qwest are reportedly in talks and Verizon may come in again with another offer for MCI. So, you've seen consolidation, now.
CAFFERTY: What goes around, comes around.
CAFFERTY: Twenty-five years after they broke up the phone companies because it was a monolith, it was too big, and they made these little tiny phone companies and now the tiny phone companies are starting to get together make these great big phone companies.
SERWER: Right, and there'll be one company left, it'll be SBC which will be the descendant of the company they broke up and somewhere, some regulator is rolling over in his grave. I mean, it's just -- it's ludicrous...
LISOVICZ: Yeah, but you know, in some ways it's so ironic, because AT&T was exactly the kind of company that SBC was. Apparently, it was -- you know, on a buying binge. It was very tough on its rivals, and eventually, eventually many years later, it was ordered break-up and then what happens?
SERWER: Well, meanwhile everyone is making calls on their cell phones and on the internet, so.
CAFFERTY: There you go.
SERWER: Anyway, coming up on IN THE MONEY:
One of the biggest bankruptcies in history and how it got that way. A new documentary film about the Enron collapse was a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival. We'll talk with a co-writer of the story that inspired it.
Also ahead, scoring points: If you're talking money, the action in this year's Super Bowl only starts on the field, see who stands to win about.
And one good reason to stick with singing in the shower: We'll show you our "Fun Site of the Week." Oh, my goodness.
Turn that off.
LISOVICZ: Fact challenged fiction at this year's Sundance film festival with documentaries generating some of the biggest buzz. Among them was a film called "The Smartest Guys in the Room" based on the book of the same name, co-authored by Bethany McLean. She's a "Fortune" magazine reporter who first raised questions about Enron accounting practices to executives in early 2001.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D) CALIF: It appears as if you were trying to bully someone who was asking very basic questions about Enron.
JEFFREY SKILLING, FMR ENRON EXEC: I said to her, I have got six minutes left before I have to be in a meeting and I can't get into the details and I'm not an accountant. And she said, well, that's fine, we're going to do the article anyway. And I said if you do that, I personally think that's unethical. And the next day --
WAXMAN: Let me interrupt you --
SKILLING-- our chief financial officer and our chief accounting officer flew to New York at Enron's expense to sit down, not with the editors, but to sit down with the reporter on that story and help her understand the questions she was asking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LISOVICZ: And the author of the book, Bethany McLean, joins us now. Congratulation on the book, on the article and on this movie. It won't be released, I think, widely, for a few more months. But are we going to get all fired up once again about the excess of Enron?
BETHANY McLEAN, "THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM": We certainly hope so. The film really captures the characters who drove this story. I think people on the outside tend to think of Enron as the story about numbers. And it really isn't. It's a story about people and the way the film describes it, it's a story anybody can understand.
SERWER: Bethany, I want to make it clear, maybe for the viewers who just saw that, that was Jeffrey Skilling referring to you, the reporter. What did that make you feel when he was disparaging you basically in front of a congressional committee and then you ended up being vindicated of course?
McLEAN: I was really lucky because I stepped out of the room for that period of the hearing. And I'm really glad I wasn't there because it would have been kind of hard to take. I think it's particularly amusing when he says that they had to tell me what questions to ask, or explain my question to me. So --
CAFFERTY: What did you make of the reception of the film at the Sundance festival? I mean the story of the rise and fall of some corporation in Houston, Texas that dealt in energy futures doesn't exactly have Hollywood blockbuster written all over it, at least at first glance. And yet this thing became one of the darlings of the festival. McLEAN: Right. It was amazing and I think it's a real testament to the film maker's ability, Al Skivney (ph), who directed this film, because he really managed to capture the characters behind the story so that when you see it, you see it as a human tragedy and as a grand failure on the scale that it was instead of some story about incomprehensible financial stuff.
CAFFERTY: You mentioned It's a story about people. It's a story about weasels, Skilling and Ken Lay being two of the biggest weasles. What do you make of the fact that they're still out there, living their lives and the sun comes up every morning and they go and play a little golf and do whatever. Nothing's happened to these guys yet?
McLEAN: Well, they have been indicted and the trial is scheduled probably to happen sometime in 2005. And it really is. It shows you how complicated what happened at Enron was. Because it's taken years just to indict these guys. Enron's bankruptcy was over three years ago.
LISOVICZ: Bethany, on a larger scale, the defense is something that we're seeing more and more often. For instance, I interviewed Kenneth Lay in the year 2000 --
CAFFERTY?: Kenny boy.
LISOVICZ: To some of us. He certainly took credit for the great success of Enron. But now is saying, well, you know there were other people who were really involved. We're seeing that play out at Tyco, at HealthSouth. We saw the release of the web report with Dick Grasso's pay, very smart people involved. Some of them had to know. What's your take on this about moral responsibility?
McLEAN: Well, the epilogue for our book was titled "Isn't Anybody Sorry?" because we were stunned by the number of people involved, the board, the lawyers, the accountants, the bankers, all of whom said, "it's not my fault, somebody else's fault." And to me, if a CEO says, I didn't know, fine, give back your salary.
LISOVICZ: You're negligent. You should know.
McLEAN: Exactly. Why did Ken Lay then get paid some $300 million in the last couple of years of Enron's life if he had no clue what was going on in his company?
LISOVICZ: And he was known for taking a lot of control --
SERWER: Because they can, as they say about that. One thing I want to ask you Bethany, when you were writing this, and as you really dug in deeper and deeper and discovered all these shenanigans, did you ever think, man this would make a great movie?
McLEAN: Honestly, everything at Enron was so overwhelming in the time in which it happened that I was never think one step ahead. When I wrote my first story, I did it and was relieved to be done with it. And when Peter and I worked on the book, it was such an overwhelming process, because there was so much to figure out and so much to get your arms around, that I think we were just thinking, let us get through this.
SERWER: I remember seeing your office which was just filled with crates of paper and you were going down to Houston and bringing back all these documents and you really were able to wade through that stuff. It's pretty amazing.
CAFFERTY: At the end of the day, is anything going to change? We got the Enron story. We got Bernie Ebbers on trial at WorldCom. You got Scrushy at HealthSouth, you got Kozlowski at Tyco. I mean just a huge number of scandalous stories that came out of the Wall Street of the late 1990s, much hand-wringing. The prosecutors, the criminal justice system, we've got to address all this. Greedy people do shortcuts in order to be greedy people. Is any - are we going to have any kind of a better corporate climate in this country as a result of any of this stuff, do you think?
McLEAN: I don't know. A lot of new rules have been put in place but when you look at the Enron story, the key thing to is these were guys that specialized in using the existing rules and using the framework and following the letter of the law while totally violating the spirit. So you ask, how can new rules prevent that kind of behavior? They can't. But what can is fear. And I think right now, no corporate executive wants to be Ken Lay or Jeff Skilling and the only really effective counterbalance to the greed that prevails in corporate America is fear. So that's why I think it's good that we're seeing this aggressive prosecution.
SERWER: (INAUDIBLE) scared.
LISOVICZ: Will Jeff Skilling or Ken Lay go to jail?
McLEAN: It's going to be a really difficult trial. It's going to put a lot of issues that we've been talking about like the extent to which a CEO's responsible for what happens on his watch. It's going to test a lot of those issues because Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling are both going to say "we didn't know. It was our underlings who did this."
LISOVICZ: Even though they were the smartest guys in the room, the name of your book and the movie that we look forward to seeing this spring. Bethany McLean, congratulations, thanks for joining us.
McLEAN: Thank you.
LISOVICZ: There's more to come here on IN THE MONEY. Find out who's on track to win big in this year's Super Bowl when it comes time to count the cash that is.
And (INAUDIBLE) into an auction house, eBay can do it, see why some of its online sellers are mad at its Web site.
SERWER: Whether you're an Eagles' fan, a Patriots' fan, or just a fan of placing a couple bets at the annual office pool, there's a lot at stake this Super Bowl. And that goes for corporate sponsors, the host city and teams in the NFL, too. Andrew Zimbalist is a sports consultant and an economics professor at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He joins us now with a look at who really wins at the Super Bowl. Andrew, welcome.
ANDREW ZIMBALIST, SPORTS ECONOMIST: Thank you for having me, a pleasure.
SERWER: Let me ask you about football in the NFL. Why is this America's games now? Is it because it's something people really like or is it because the NFL is so well run?
ZIMBALIST: I think both of those things are going on. It's a perfect television game. It's really been the hottest television item since the Super Bowl began in the 1960s. The ratings almost every single year are over 40. This year, that means that there will be somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 million households. That does not include the bars and saloons around the country. It does not include all the extra people who are watching at Super Bowl parties. So you probably in the United States alone will have 120 million people watching the game. Worldwide they estimate something like 800 million people. Now other than CNN's IN THE MONEY, this is the most watched show in the United States.
SERWER: Thank you, Andrew. Let's have him back.
LISOVICZ: We're glad you're among our fans in addition to our closest family members. Andrew, why can't the NHL or major league baseball borrow a page from the NFL? I mean, why do they have problems and the NFL is always just stacked with cash?
ZIMBALIST: The NFL, when it began back in 1920, shared gate revenue 60/40, 60 percent to the home team, 40 percent to the visiting team. Then back in 1961, under the inspiration of Pete Roselle, then the commissioner of the National Football League, they got Congress to grant an exemption to the league so that the league could package one television package for all of the teams and then share the money equally. So they have had embedded in their history tremendous amount of revenue sharing.
Right now in the NFL, probably each team gets around $100 million from the central fund each year. And then on top of that, they maybe average another $30 or $40 million in local revenue. So you have somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 or 70 percent of all the revenue in the league equally shared and that's why you could have a team in Green Bay compete with teams in New York.
Neither baseball nor basketball and certainly not hockey, have had that history of revenue sharing, that has made the owners not only more competitive with each other and more equally balanced, but also more cohesive as a business force, better able to take forward-looking visions, decision for the sport.
CAFFERTY: Why hasn't major league baseball made more of an issue of this with the Congress? Obviously, the playing field is tilted in favor of the NFL, given the situation you just described. Is it because of resistance to change on the part of teams perhaps like the Yankees and the Mets who enjoy the lion's share of the revenue in baseball?
ZIMBALIST: Baseball has exactly the same privileges and in fact more legislatively and judicially than football has. It however, doesn't have the history of sharing amongst the owners. Yes, traditionally, the big city owners like George Steinbrenner, like Fred Wilhahn (ph) have resisted a great deal of revenue sharing. But baseball has been moving in that direction since 1996 under the leadership of Bud Selig. There's tremendously more revenue sharing right now in baseball than there ever was before. So that around 30 percent of all baseball revenue are shared, but it's not probably as much as it ought to be.
SERWER: Andrew, those Super Bowl commercials really work. I mean what is it with this whole thing where companies spend $2.3,4 million for a minute? I don't think people -- they look at it but then they never remember whose advertising what. It's just sort of part of our culture now, isn't it?
ZIMBALIST: Let's be a little bit more accurate because it's $2.4 million, not for a minute but for 30 seconds.
SERWER: Excuse me. Thank you for the correction.
ZIMBALIST: And also it probably costs on average about a million dollars to make each commercial.
ZIMBALIST: And then there's also some promotional time that they dedicate. So you're looking at, on average more than $3.5 million for a 30-second spot. What's good about advertising on the Super Bowl? Well, you know, a recent survey said that 34 million people who will watch the Super Bowl watch it primarily for ads. This is -- this, for the ad industry, is kind of like what the academy awards are for the movie industry. This is where they show their goods. This is where everybody struts. And so a lot of people, because they know there's such an amount -- large amount of money and attention put into making the ads, the ads are a form of art. They're the most creative thing that happens at the Super Bowl. People watch the ads as opposed to a typical television show where either people are Tivoing it or they're going to the refrigerator or they're going to the bathroom or what have you. So there's a much better chance that you're going to get a focused audience paying attention to your message and that's the real glory of Super Bowl advertising.
LISOVICZ: OK. So we've established that the teams, the NFL is flush with cash. That doesn't mean the fans still get squeezed. Now -- shut your ears, Andy.
LISOVICZ: Because this is about the Redskins. The Redskins forcing all of its season subscribers who pay by credit card to use their own card, or to charge their -- charge their fans money to watch -- watch their summer scrimmages, or the Jets to charge...
SERWER: This is important stuff. It's the Redskins.
LISOVICZ: ... to charge people who are on waiting list. I mean that is a little excessive, isn't it?
ZIMBALIST: I didn't know about the Redskins requiring them to use the Redskins' credit card. That sounds like tying (ph) an antitrust violation to me and I encourage some Washington fans to look into that. But look, the NFL has a tremendous amount of leverage. Clearly this is the spectator sport in the United States. It is the most prominent cultural ritual in the United States. I mean, think about what it does in our country, not only are there going to be 120 million plus people watching it, but it unites every sector of our society. There are old white men and young white men and there are old women, white woman and young white women, African-Americans and Hispanics, everybody watches Super Bowl. What other cultural event does that?
LISOVICZ: Right. So don't take advantage of the fans because they can turn on you.
ZIMBALIST: They're in a position to do it, and like good business people, they take advantage of what they can.
LISOVICZ: OK. Who's going to win, real quick?
ZIMBALIST: I don't know, but I'm rooting for the Patriots.
SERWER: Yeah. He's from Massachusetts.
LISOVICZ: OK, duh. Andrew Zimbalist, economist, Smith College in Massachusetts. Thanks for join us.
ZIMBALIST: My pleasure.
LISOVICZ: There's a lot more still to come on IN THE MONEY, just ahead, find out why some eBay sellers don't like the online auctioneer's new price arrangement.
And if you've got a beef or just an opinion you want to get across, drop us a line. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAFFERTY: Lest you think that eBay is just a place for a bunch of mutants to auction off space on their forehead foreheads for tattoos, nay, nay. It's actually one of the few Internet companies that weathered the dotcom storm and just keeps getting stronger. But now it's doing something that is making its clients angry. Allen Wastler joins us now with that and a great fun site of the week. How you doing big guy?
ALLEN WASTLER, MONEY.COM: Doing fine, but the people on eBay, ooh, a little consternation going on there. Because eBay, you may have noticed, couple weeks back, they came out with their earnings. For the first time, in many, many quarters, they said, we missed your estimates, Wall Street, sorry. And Wall Street of course went, you nasty, nasty -- and slapped 'em around. So now eBay is the big kahuna in the web spate for auctioning off things and when you're the big kahuna, what can you do when the revenues start going? You raise your prices? So they're jacking up prices, in some case on a percentage basis, it's a pretty hefty hike. Now for most people using eBay, you're going on to sell grandma's old armoire, you know, the price is not that big a difference. But there are some people who have made quite a living off of moving a high volume of very low margin goods on eBay.
CAFFERTY: Lawn ornaments, used, high margin, low margin
WASTLER: Used lawn ornaments.
LISOVICZ: You need those ping flamingos.
WASTLER: So if you raise, if you raise how many you're paying in costs on each one of the things, you're taking a pretty good chunk out of that low margin that they're doing lots of. So they're outraged and there's an online petition going on. They've got over 21,000 signatures on this, oh, we hate this and we're going to go somewhere else.
CAFFERTY: They're not going to go anywhere else --
WASTLER: The fact of the matter is, I talked to a couple of the sellers about this. He said, you know, the buyers on eBay, because of branding, the buyers go to eBay and if you're a seller, you got to go where the buyers are.
CAFFERTY: There's a Wall Street expression for that, it's called tough noogies. EBay's the only game in town.
WASTLER: (INAUDIBLE) That tough jargon again.
CAFFERTY: Harvard business school. What's the fun site of the week?
WASTLER: The Internet is a place where people have personal expression, sometimes inadvertent personal expression.
CAFFERTY: Sometimes terrible.
WASTLER: This poor guy, well, let's see his inadvertent expression. Oh, my favorite part was about to come out, but anyway.
LISOVICZ: The eyebrow raise.
SERWER: The eyebrow. WASTLER: It's unclear where it's coming from. Most people think it's originating from Holland. It's a Romanian pop song. It's kind of catchy. He liked it.
CAFFERTY: He liked it a lot. It's one of those webcams that he forgot was on.
WASTLER: Someone he got uploaded.
CAFFERTY: Right next to his mirror. Thanks, Allen.
Come up next on IN THE MONEY, time to read from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week. They can preempt this program but they can't stop us from reading your e-mails. And they better stop preempting us, too, or I'm going to quit doing this thing and you can send us an e-mail right now. We're at email@example.com. Back after this.
CAFFERTY: Time now to read your answers to our e-mail question from last week, which was as follows, what's the dumbest thing you've ever done on the job? Barbara from Florida wrote this. The dumbest thing I ever did was call my boss an unflattering name while I was talking to a coworker in the bathroom. Little did I know the boss was in one of the stalls. I was fired the next day.
Dennis in Lakewood, Colorado writes, during a driving rainstorm I used one of my company's marketing props to cover myself. My $200 suit came through fine, but the $1500 marketing prop did not. Luckily my bosses had a sense of humor about it.
And David wrote, while I was working at a construction site, one of my company's vice presidents arrived wearing an orange hard hat. I realize now I shouldn't have told him he looked like a popsicle. That's not bad actually.
For next week's e-mail question of the week is this -- what kind of retirement plan do you have other than Social Security? Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also visit our show page at money.com/inthemoney which is where you'll find the address of our fun site of the week. You got to check it out. It's one of the best in a long time. Thank you for joining us for this edition of the program.
My thanks to CNN correspondent Susan Lisovicz, "Fortune" magazine editor at large Andy Serwer and money.com managing editor Allen Wastler. Join us tomorrow 3:00 Eastern before the big game. You can watch IN THE MONEY first. Then we'll excuse you to go look at the football thing. We'll look at the growing number of Russian spies operating here in the United States, try to find out what's behind that trend. That's tomorrow at 3:00 Eastern. Hope to see you then.
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