CNNfns Myron Kandel on financial news of the past 20 years
May 25, 2000
(CNN) On June 1, 2000, CNN celebrates two decades of journalism as a cable news network. CNN International is the world's only global 24-hour news network. In recognition of this 20th anniversary, CNN correspondents are joining chats to describe their memories of the past twenty years.
Myron Kandel, CNNfn anchor and financial editor, was part of CNN's original launch team in 1980. Kandel is the commentator for "Moneyline News Hour" and anchors financial news updates on CNN, CNNfn and CNN International. Kandel was the financial editor of the New York Post before leaving to launch CNN. His career in journalism spans 48 years.
Chat Moderator: Welcome to CNN@20 chat, Myron Kandel.
Myron Kandel: Greetings to our chat audience. Despite my 20 years at CNN, I'm new at chatting, so I'm looking forward to this new experience.
Chat Moderator: When did you come to work for CNN and what did you think of this new and unusual network?
Myron Kandel: I was actually the first person hired in New York and I started work on January 28, 1980, well in advance of our going on the air, which was June 1, 1980. It was a great challenge for a fellow who had spent his entire career in newspapers and other print publications. When we started "Moneyline," it was the first network television program covering business news in the history of U.S. television. "Wall Street Week" already existed, but that's an investment program, not a news program. So we really were pioneers.
Question from Benovelent_Flyer: Tell us about your early days experiences on CNN.
Myron Kandel: We started with a staff of four people; now we're up to 350 in business and financial news around the world. We were too new to be daunted by the challenge and so we just did it.
Question from TwoSuitcases: Mr. Kandel, what do you consider the most significant "financial" event of the last 20 years?
Myron Kandel: There have been many. But, undoubtedly, the most significant has been the bull market in stocks that started in August 1982 and continues -- despite some ups and downs -- to this day. On August 12, 1982, the Dow Industrials were at 776. At their record high in January of this year, they reached 11,700. And even after the recent pullback, the Dow is still at 10,485 right now. That's been an amazing run and must go down as the most significant event of the last 20 years.
Question from Imagi: What president do you think has been most influential in this 19 year bull market?
Myron Kandel: There really have been two, one from each party. Ronald Reagan led a country that was suffering, in President Carter's words, from a serious "malaise" and helped reinvigorate it, despite running up big deficits.
And President Clinton, despite his detractors and other failings, turned out to be an economic centrist and adopted policies -- partly at the urging of Robert Rubin -- that enabled the economy to achieve the longest period of growth in U.S. history. And, with the help of a Republican Congress, he balanced the budget.
Question from Al: Mr. Kandel, can the recent downslide of the Nasdaq be the result of the Justice Department going after Microsoft? Is the market worried that perhaps the Feds will start going after other companies?
Myron Kandel: I really don't think the Microsoft antitrust case had much to do with the Nasdaq's decline. Many of those tech stocks, not only the Internets, were clearly overvalued and due for a hit. We just didn't expect it to be such a big decline -- down 37 percent in just over two months. But I don't think there's been any real concern about going after other tech companies on antitrust grounds.
Question from Benovelent_Flyer: Was there any time in the early days of CNN when you thought that this network would not be successful?
Myron Kandel: We got a little nervous when Ted Turner took over MGM and stretched the company too thin with lots of debt. The danger was that if he couldn't reduce the debt, the head of MGM, Kirk Kerkorian, might have achieved control or at least an important voice.
But Ted, in his brilliance, managed to make partners of the leading cable companies and got them to give him the capital he needed to get over the last hump. It was brilliant because he managed to make his biggest clients -- the cable companies -- his partners. On the minus side, they had a veto over some moves he might have taken, including perhaps buying a broadcast network. But, in the end, it worked out very well and our fears were soon dissipated.
Question from RadioFlyr: Just out of curiosity, what is it that you find attractive about working for CNN? Is it the most lucrative/predictable/original/or all of these things in a news medium?
Myron Kandel: I'm particularly proud of the pioneering work we did in bringing business news to television, as well as becoming the world's first international network. We have helped make this, indeed, a truly global village and I don't think we can ever again have an Iron Curtain that separates a good part of the world from the rest. And, as a lifelong journalist, I'm proud of the way we've been allowed to cover the news without fear or favor.
Chat Moderator: Do you have any final thoughts for us today?
Myron Kandel: My final thought now that I have become a veteran chatter, meaning today, is to repeat the immortal words of Al Jolson, "We ain't seen nothing yet." Best of luck to all.
Chat Moderator: Thank you for joining us today, Myron Kandel. We enjoyed having you.
Myron Kandel joined the CNN@20 chat from CNN in New York. The above is an edited transcript of the chat.
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