March 16, 2009
It has been a week since Stewart vs Cramer started, and it feels like it’s not going to stop anytime soon. Had Jon Stewart opened a can of worms, detonated the proverbial keg of gunpowder or are people simply bored?
Whatever the case, it makes for some interesting reading. Here are some of the best ones I read today.
From the Politonomist: The article says: Jon Stewart’s viral attack on Jim Cramer has become the scourge of the financial industry — with questions of legitimacy and truthfulness fresh on the minds of Stewart’s audience. Stewart represents the “lay view” on the current situation, said Hanna, ‘falsely implies that investing in stocks is as safe as “betting it all on red”.’ And a reader answered: “Stewart represents the “lay view” on the current situation, said Hanna, ‘falsely implies that investing in stocks is as safe as “betting it all on red”.” Are you serious? The bigger question here is why a comedian and his show are becoming the “go to” source for real news the last few years. Answer – because the real media is a shell of it’s former self, anxious to take the contents of a press release as fact. My concern with the situation is people like you are STILL covering the wrong people, for the wrong reason. Cramer and CNBC are not journalists, not regulated and are doing a poor job. The house has just burned down and maybe . . . . just maybe one of them “thinks” they smell smoke. (Full original article and reader comments can be found here)
From The Independent: Who said satire was dead? In the US, at least, plenty did. Once President Bush left office, they argued, political comedy would be moribund, irrelevant – specifically that scourge of the Bush administration, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Yet Stewart has reasserted his relevance by confronting the Consumer News and Business Channel’s fiery financial pundit Jim Cramer over his network’s mishandling of the economic crisis. By buying into the boom, Stewart argued in an encounter last week, Cramer and his competitors were implicated in the bust. Stewart was incisive, quick-witted and unrelenting. Cramer got served.
The pundit, host of CNBC’s Mad Money, has since tried to make light of the interview, but he ought to remember the example of CNN’s Crossfire: a “news comment” show that pitted two interviewers, Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson (ostensibly from opposing ends of the liberal/conservative spectrum), against each other and their interviewees. When Stewart was invited on in 2004 and asked to “be funny”, he instead told the presenters that their dumbed-down approach to serious news was “hurting America”. Crossfire was cancelled six months later. (The full original article can be found here).
From US News: The author wrote: Jon Stewart has the luxury of hiding behind his imaginary shield of comedy, and thus, no matter what the outcome of his statements, can just fall back on, “Hey, it was just a joke”. But what Stewart is really doing is perpetuating a society of victims, in which none of us need to take responsibility for our own poor choices. It’s always easier to blame someone else, after all. Make no mistake about it; taking financial advice directly from a television personality is absolutely foolish. Neither Jim Cramer, nor CNBC are to blame, but rather, it is those people who religiously tuned into his show every night. Typically, I am a fan of The Daily Show, but I honestly believe Jon Stewart has taken a low blow with this verbal scuffle with Jim Cramer. Not only is it mean-spirited and unnecessary, but it’s not funny. And just as Cramer is paid to excite us about Wall Street, Stewart is paid to make us laugh. I wish he’d get back to work.
And a writer commented: I think a survey of Jon Stewart’s audience is past due. There are plenty of very well educated politicians, professionals, and academics (myself included) that find the show informative. That is not to say that we, or anyone, should depend on it for a sole source of news and current events, and Stewart warns against this. The show does, however, find gems amidst the mass of media noise that highlight the mistakes and hypocrisy of many public figures (including Obama). This particular episode was a remarkable example of the utility of such a well researched show. When the ammunition for the assault on such characters as Cramer is their very own statements, then how is it “fake news” and how on earth is no one else making the connections they do!? (Read the full article and comments here).
From The Atlantic: I’ve seen a number of people making some variant of the claim that Jon Stewart is the only one brave enough to stand up to the financial journalists who helped get us into this mess. This is purest poppycock. Jim Cramer had no influence over the twin manias that afflicted America in the last ten years: the madness of homebuyers for ever more expensive houses, and the madness of bankers for buying bonds based on those homes. Jim Cramer did not persuade the Asian savers to pour moronic amounts of capital into oversaturated American markets. He did not talk up MBS or CDOs to any level that could be vaguely said to have meaningfully increased the amount of leverage in the system. If you want a television host, or network, to blame all of our troubles on, you’d do better to cast your ire on Home and Garden Television, and Flip This House. They’re the ones who told Americans, over and over and over and over, that it was possible to get rich by installing granite countertops. (Read the full article here).
Conclusion: If you can’t sleep, just go to Google and type in ‘Jon Stewart’ – you’re sure to have a lot of interesting reading.