Why CNBC's Tech Reporter Keeps Coming Up Short

There's a reason why CNBC viewers get shortchanged on their tech coverage: Jim Goldman, the network's Silicon Valley bureau chief, is not very tall. It's the kind of thing polite people don't talk about here.

Luckily, we know some impolite ones.

Here's Goldman, Wednesday night, getting chopped off at the knees by Newsweek columnist (and former Steve Jobs impersonator) Dan Lyons.

Lyons: "You ever have a girlfriend who cheated on you, and at first it's like, 'I work late'?"

Goldman: "I reported exactly what I was told."

Lyons: "There are two kinds of reporters who cover Apple: The kind who realize they're getting snowed ... and the other kind who suck up to get access and end up getting played and punked, like your bureau chief."

Goldman: "I'm a big boy. I can handle it."

Had CNBC's viewers seen a full-body shot of Goldman like the one above, they would have cracked up just like Lyons did. And he isn't alone. Goldman has a terrible reputation among the Valley's elite which leads some to fixate on his height. "I hate that shrimp," one local tastemaker recently seethed at us.

Such is the dislike for Goldman that a tipster gleefully sent us the snap of Goldman getting a boost during a stand-up shoot at Macworld Expo earlier this month. (He stood on a piece of equipment to make his Lilliputian dimensions look more normal on-air.) It's a subterfuge that might have gone unremarked, if so many people weren't already scoffing at Goldman's credibility.

It is facile pop psychology, sure, but it's hard not to look at Goldman's combativeness ā€” most recently on display in his aggressively incorrect denials of Apple CEO Steve Jobs's ill health ā€” and not see a Napoleon complex, which he exercises at the expense of his reporting. (And his career: CNBC already has a short, angry man in Jim Cramer.)

Ridiculing a man behind his back for his height? So low. Valleywag would never stoop to that level. We'd say it to his face. Even if it hurts our neck a little.

Update: A big man, indeed: CNBC has banned Lyons from the network for life, according to Silicon Alley Insider. Or not, according to Silicon Alley Insider!