Stuart Varney: What I Read

The Fox Business anchor tells us how his media consumption strategy resembles Ron Paul's.

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How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts and the literary world, to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with Stuart Varney, anchor of Varney & Co. on the Fox Business Network.

I wake up at 3 a.m., that's my opening bell. I scan the major newspapers: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Financial Times and The Daily Telegraph, which isn't out of nationalistic obligation, it's just because The Telegraph is accessible and gives a good view of events in Northern Europe. Since nobody will deliver those papers at 3:30 a.m., I'm scanning them online for about 45 minutes. By 4:15, I'm checking quotes on key markets, what's the yield on Italy's 10-year bond, where are prices on the dollar, oil, gold, Dow Jones futures, equities, bonds and currencies. At 4:20 or 4:30 I'm leaving my house for work.

At the office, I'm hashing out what the most important financial story of the day is with Fox & Friends producers and I'll go on air at about 6:15 or 6:30 for the segment. At 6:50, we hold a team meeting for my show Varney & Cofleshing out the guests and subjects of the show.

So far, I haven't found much need for business websites or blogs. I look at Drudge. I'll check The Daily Caller, I'll look at The Huffington Post but it's not a religion. Is Business Insider any good? I don't know. I try to stay out of the weeds. On television, jargon is the kiss of death. The second you start talking about the Federal Reserve and QE3 you've lost your audience. I mean, how many people really know what the Federal Reserve is and does? Far fewer people know what QE3 is. That's why you'll never hear me say, "The yield on the 10 year bond is X or Y percent." Instead, I'll tell a general audience that Italians are having trouble borrowing money and that's how you pull them in. One of the differences between CNBC and Fox Business is we're going after a different market. We're expanding beyond traders to a broader audience while staying on subjects that are related to money and investing.

In some ways, we have the same problem as Ron Paul. He made the Federal Reserve a central pillar of his campaign and had to find a way to cut through the jargon and connect with people. As it turns out, he's done a remarkable job. I disagree with him about the Fed but he's proven himself extremely articulate in using the bank bailout during the crash period to highlight the role of the central bank. He's made the Fed mainstream almost. As for whether he was ignored by the media, I don't think he was. But one problem he has is with producers. The media wants a candidate who addresses a broad range of issues. Ron Paul doesn't really address a broad range of issues except from his narrow perspective: The government is bad. Fair enough. But how much airtime do you spend on a guy who doesn't want to discuss reform and just wants to discuss abolition? Naturally, you magnetize to the Bachmanns and the Gingriches and the Romneys.
For guilty pleasure reading, I don't really feel guilty about it: I read history. I'm currently reading a book about James Garfield, the man who was assassinated after three months in office. Candice Millard is the author and she also wrote an astonishing book called River of Doubt about Teddy Roosevelt. At the end of the week,  I'm an avid reader of The Economist, which I've gotten the hard copy of for 40 years. I don't read email alerts. I don't tweet and I'm not on Facebook. I'm not a Neanderthal but I don't go out of my way to plunge into the digital world.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.