When I first arrived at CNBC in June of 2007, Mark Haines was like the captain of the football team. He had been around a long time, scored some touchdowns, seen every play and could, basically, do what he wanted.
I was the freshman on the team, so he didn't even know my name. For a year. I can remember Mark even remarking something to that extent on the air.
It's not as if he didn't like me. Not in a bad way, but he just didn't care. Other things he didn't seem to care about: what he ate, what he wore, what people thought of him, and how he looked.
But strangely, all of that is a positive because what he cared about was exactly what mattered: Getting the truth to you.
He ALWAYS asked the question you would want to ask. He did not ask in some refined manner. Simply, he asked exactly what he felt like asking.
It was not always pretty, but it was always spot-on. And that's the key.
Perhaps his most admirable quality was that he made people accountable.
More often that not, journalists ask one tough question, get a talking point that dodges it, and everyone moves on.
Not Mark Haines.
I will never forget one day, maybe two years ago, Mark pressed Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) so much on a particular topic, Frank walked away from the interview.
Haines wasn't obnoxious to him. He simply wanted a straight answer and wasn't getting one.
There were many days when he would stop an interview cold, and say, "Wait a minute, are you really saying _________?" It happened a few times a week.
He had that courage. He had that lack of self-consciousness. And that was what made him the best representative for YOU.
So, as a person, he will be missed, but his service to this industry will be a loss felt for a long, long time.