Oh Jon, Jon, Jon….

The biggest buzz in the media last week was how Jon Stewart invited CNBC’s Jim Cramer onto The Daily Show and dressed him down as only Jon Stewart can do. A lot of people who saw that (either live or online) thought it was a good thing. Well, here’s a voice of support for Jim Cramer.

See, I look at Cramer as an entertainer. Sure, he doles out stock tips and other information. He’s made predictions about the future of the economy. Lots of people do this in the media. He does it in a totally goofy way, for the most part, with sound effects and goofy loops and a hysterical delivery—hey, it’s why his show is called Mad Money and not The Wall Street Journal Report. I’ll watch him just for giggles, not because I’m any sort of independent investor.

Does Cramer’s approach remind you of anyone else? Maybe it reminds you of someone who delivers the news, only instead of being all formal Walter Cronkite-like, he uses fart jokes and bleeped-out F-bombs and double entendres?

Jon Stewart criticized Jim Cramer for doing what Jon Stewart does on his own show. Sure, it’s great watching Stewart make movers and shakers squirm, especially the right-wing ones. But when he goes after someone in the same business as he, doing the same things he’s doing… it just doesn’t seem right. Mind, I love his show. But this one interview just … disappoints me, frankly.

Now, maybe Stewart and Cramer have a quid pro quo arrangement and at some future date Cramer will have Stewart on his show and berate him for being disrespectful to the news and a lousy prognosticator. I kind of doubt it, though.

You know who I’d really like to see smacked down? Larry Kudlow, host of CNBC’s Kudlow and Company. Now THAT guy just makes me wanna scream at my TV with his holier-than-thou business-is-best attitude. I’d like to see Stewart make Kudlow cry like a little kid.

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About songdogmi

I'm a longhaired almost-hippie stuck in the inner suburbs of a major rust-belt metropolis who's thoughtful, creative, and kind of geeky. In exchange for a paycheck I run around in a cubicle maze most days. When I escape, I play music, hang out in coffee houses, dink around on the computer, take naps, and think I should be off in the woods somewhere. Every once in a while I get in my car and drive far, far away, though I've always come back so far.
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6 Responses to Oh Jon, Jon, Jon….

  1. bigbear4xl says:

    The problem with this is that CNBC consistently and constantly touts itself as a valid source of financial news, information and consultation, branding itself in bumper ads and regular advertising as having the “experts” to help people in their financial decisions.

    Cramer has been touted as an expert by the network, while Cramer, at least on his Daily Show appearance, claims to just be a “reporter”, this despite the fact that he is regulalry features as a financial advisor and analyst on *other* news programs, even recently during the flack with Stewart, on the Today Show.

    Stewart and company have never claimed to be anything other than comedians and entertainers dissecting the news, news worthy, politicians, and celebrities, for the sake of comedy. It’s the media that touts TDS as some kind of valid news source, something Stewart is on record many times over as being horrified by.

    Stewart’s whole point with his CNBC smackdown, in which Cramer is only one part of the example, is that a network that claims to be a valid source of financial advice ought to be more prudent in their advice, and instead of softballing financial experts on their show (numerous examples of which were cited in the Daily Show piece), perhaps they should grill them as any real reporter would do.

    Stewart doesn’t have to grill or do hardball interviews, as he is not a reporter, and has never claimed to be one. His job is to point out the fallacy of *actual* news media.

  2. ferndalealex says:

    I’m with you, for a different reason: Anyone who makes their buy / sell decision on the basis of a TV Talking Head get’s what they deserve. In my little corner of the business world (purchasing) it’s called “doing your due diligence.” Know what you’re buying, regardless of what Mr. Cramer has to say. Having never watched his show…since I hate being shouted at…I’m not sure how much he fills the role of “reporter.” (He reports the news that comes across the wire? They call that a newsreader in England.)

    From my little knowledge, Jon’s wrong on this one.

  3. tastyeagle says:

    Well, Jon Stewart called out all of CNBC, not just Jim Cramer. While Jon Stewart constantly remind his viewers that The Daily Show is entertainment, there are no such disclaimers in any of CNBC’s programs. In fact, CNBC claims to be a cutting edge source of business information.

    I have seen many examples of people who take Jim Cramer and all of CNBC seriously and at face value. My mom and one of my brothers spend way too much of their day hanging on every word of their programs. Their moods throughout the day go up and down with the Dow. My family is a victim of a business model that bypasses utility in pursuit of profit.

    Cramer was right when he said that CNBC is just giving people what they want. And Jon Stewart used CNBC as an example of what is wrong with business as a whole today. Gone are the days when companies make a good profit by selling a good product. Now they just profit from giving the public a fake product that produces a short term emotionally stimulative effect, which leaves them empty handed and empty feeling when the news day is over.

  4. animist says:

    Comedy Central is clearly not trying to be anything more than a diversion, whereas the so-called news channels claim to have something important to contribute to public discourse. Perhaps we should look at all so-called journalism in the same light as we do paid infomercials, and consign journalism itself in to the dustbin of history. But what then could take the place it historically held as advocates for uncovering things that the government and business doesn’t want us to know?

  5. songdogmi says:

    Partial reply

    A couple of commenters have said, basically, that The Daily Show doesn’t claim to be anything but a comedy show. That may be true, on the surface. But there are frequent reports these days about how viewers have come to see The Daily Show as their most trusted news source—what they glean in between the yuks is more useful to them than CNN, NBC, and the others. Obviously, it wouldn’t be in Comedy Central’s best interests to diminish that.

    On the night of the Cramer interview, Stewart wasn’t just being a modern-day George Carlin. He was being Comedy Central’s Keith Olbermann. He dropped the pretense that he was in it for the laughs. He got serious. He in effect bought into the view that it’s actually serious news he’s doing.

    Now he can go back and hide behind the curtain of being just a comedian? I don’t think so. That’s having his cake and eating it too.

    Back in the day of court jesters, the jester could speak truth to the king because he was a buffoon about it. The jester couldn’t suddenly stand up to the king and speak in courtly tones. I’m not saying “Off with Stewart’s head!” I’m just saying this is why the episode was disappointing to me.

  6. songdogmi says:

    Another point

    What was CNBC supposed to do? Have Maria Bartiromo come on sometime in September 2008 and say “Well… damn, this looks bad… not just today but for the foreseeable future”? Think your retirement plan hasn’t suffered enough as it is? Well, at least the market would’ve collapsed a lot faster….

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