The money manager and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt, who was one of my partners in the New York Sun, was on CNBC this morning. The fun part starts at about 7 minutes, 36 seconds in.
Of Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett, Mr. Steinhardt said, "He is the greatest P.R. person of recent times, and he has managed to achieve a snow job that has conned virtually everyone in the press to my knowledge — and is remarkable that he continues to do it."
CNBC's Joe Kernen proceeded to prove Mr. Steinhardt's point, interjecting that Mr. Buffett had "outperformed the S&P by how many hundred times?" In fact, even by Mr. Buffett's own count the growth in Berkshire Hathway's book value since 1965 has outperformed the S&P 500 index, with dividends reinvested, 78 times. That's impressive, but it isn't the "many hundred times" that the CNBC guy seemed to be under the impression of, and that he left viewers with the impression of.
Later in the interview, Mr. Steinhardt asked "Who are the supporters of capitalism today? It's hard to find."