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Fair And Balanced? Neil Cavuto Wants Guest To Just Shut Up About Halting BP Advertising And Dividends

Reported by Guest Blogger - June 13, 2010 -

Guest blogged by Brian

Congressman Peter Welch (D-VT) appeared on Your World Wednesday (6/9/10) to discuss Democratic demands that BP stop advertising and suspend its dividend in order to conserve funds for the oil cleanup bills. Cavuto didn’t just challenge the idea, he acted as though the money was coming right out of his pocket. He pugnaciously interrupted and even shouted at Welch, who remained polite throughout the segment. Cavuto ended the "discussion" with a decidedly unfriendly, “We’re done.”

Cavuto’s argument was that by halting dividends, Welch might be “killing the goose that pays the (cleanup) bills."

Welch responded, "No… A corporation pays dividends after it meets its corporate obligations. BP, through (its chief) Mr. Hayward, has acknowledged that they have a big obligation, and that’s to pay the cost of the cleanup… The issue here is, will they have the money? …They've got to attend to business first, cap the well, …compensate the victims."

Cavuto interrupted, noting that a lot of shareholders rely on the dividends. "You take the dividend away, Congressman, you take the shareholders away, for a lot of them, and the stock collapses." He said BP stock is at the "lowest level …since 1997… You are killing the wallet that you want to see fund this."

"Bottom line, dividends are paid from what's left over after excess profits," Welch said.

"That's not true,” Cavuto argued. “Part of companies’ expenses… is that this dividend is a valid issue for us…. Take it away, fewer people (invest)… You’re pushing them over a cliff. I'm not an apologist for BP… but I'm just telling you, you push them over the edge, you disincentivize investors… It’s the U.S. taxpayer who’s going to be footing the bill for this cleanup because that company will go of business."

Welch held his ground, saying, "Profits are determined after it meets its obligation."

That’s when Cavuto turned combative. He began shouting at and berating Welch. "Listen, cause I think you need an economics lesson here. They're (BP) going to say , Congressman, … That’s it, we're done, and now… your constituents are going to be paying for the cleanup you're trying to stick to BP."

Welch remained calm and respectful. "Our banks cut dividends when they had the bank crisis."

Cavuto kept interrupting Welch. "Have you heard of being penny wise and pound foolish? …You're talking teachers… Texas state workers… public school employees in Pennsylvania… public workers in California…division of investment workers in the state New Jersey."

Welch civilly countered, "You're talking taxpayers… who are going to get left holding the tab."

Cavuto started shouting again. "Congressman, you’re going to leave them holding the bag if you push them into the water. I’m not excusing BP...” Then he abruptly closed the segment, saying, “We're done."

Comment: Bill O’Reilly would have been proud of Cavuto.

(H/T Hula for assistance with this post.)

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