It's amazing how quickly things can go downhill on live television.

In an interview with Brian Sullivan, co-anchor of Street Signs on CNBC, Barney Frank openly chastised the man for interrupting him in the middle of an answer. Sullivan returned fire, and the interview quickly descended into the business-journalism equivalent of a cat fight. 

Sullivan was waiting on President Obama’s speech to begin, and chalked the interruption up to a short timeline until the start of the speech. But this president has been at least a half hour late to just about every speech he’s ever given since the start of his presidency.

Frank didn’t feel this was a good excuse. “Well, we could do (the interview) some other time,” he said.

Typical fare on the part of Barney Frank, who is always a boisterous interviewee, but Sullivan just wouldn’t let it go, and rehashed the whole argument at the bottom of the interview — eliciting an even more snappy response from Frank, who accused Sullivan of “obsessing” over the small skirmish.

“I don’t know why you’re so defensive about it,” he barked into the camera. “Instead of talking substance you keep talking about the nature of the interview.”

Frank then told him to move on. And Sullivan did, functionally kicking Frank off the air.

“I am moving on, and I’m going to say goodbye,” he said.

Then Sullivan met up with his good buddy CNBC On-Air Editor Rick Santelli to do some Barney bashing in peace.

Going off on a tirade about the nerve of Frank to stand up to Sullivan, Santelli called Frank’s on-air thoughts such things as “too long,” “too much,” “too confusing,” finishing up by saying “How’s that for obsessing?!”

So through all the high-school-cheerleader-worthy drama, what did we miss? Something really freaking important, that’s what.

Barney Frank, who was on-air originally to talk about the GOP’s efforts to water down Dodd-Frank regulations on derivatives, essentially said his self-titled legislation still doens't go far enough. He said there should be complete transparency in the prices of derivatives — something that would change the entire nature of the derivatives market.

Derivatives rely on their ability to be kept under wraps. Transparency on the level Frank is advocating would shake the market and distort the ability of the buyer and seller to reach a price on their own. Pricing deals in secrecy is a cornerstone of the market, one that Dodd-Frank seeks to disassemble.

But did Sullivan touch on any of that? No. Why? Well, he was waiting on the president.

jhuseman@housingwire.com
@JessicaHuseman