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CNBC Sees No Conflict in Promotion

December 3, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ CNBC said Wednesday it saw no conflict in allowing its two ``Business Center″ anchors, Maria Bartiromo and Tyler Mathisen, to be offered as prize lunch dates in a promotion for American Express.

``We thought it was a fun thing,″ CNBC spokesman George Jamison said.

The ``financial power lunch″ is one of nine prizes being offered as an enticement for American Express members to use their credit cards. In addition to the lunch, the winner of the investment package will get $20,000, a meeting with a financial advisor and a computer from Money magazine.

Bartiromo and Mathisen aren’t being paid for their participation, and the cable network doesn’t consider it an endorsement of the credit card, Jamison said.

CNBC doesn’t believe it will compromise the financial journalists’ ability to cover American Express.

``Our editorial integrity is the most important asset we have and we would never compromise it for any reason,″ he said.

Last summer, CNN correspondent Jonathan Karl was set to appear in a Visa ad that illustrated a glimpse of his open wallet. Even though he had obtained permission to appear, Karl asked that the ad be scratched when the CNN chairman found out about the ad and objected.

CNBC’s policy is not to allow its journalists to endorse a company or product, Jamison said.

``This is quite different from that,″ he said.

Bartiromo and Mathisen are hosts of the business-oriented news program on weeknights at 7 p.m. Mathisen is a former editor of Money, while Bartiromo has covered the stock market for CNBC.

Other prizes being offered by American Express include a golf lesson from Tiger Woods’ dad, said company spokeswoman Gail Wasserman.

Lunch is at the restaurant of the prize winner’s choice, she said.

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