Jon Stewart v. CNBC, or The Failure of the Financial Media

A pret­ty bril­liant saga played out over the last week on The Dai­ly Show. It start­ed when Jon Stew­art tweaked Rick San­tel­li and his wide­ly-pub­li­cized rant against home­own­er bailouts. Appar­ent­ly San­tel­li’s net­work, CNBC, could­n’t take a lit­tle joke and fought back, which only pro­vid­ed The Dai­ly Show with more com­ic fod­der. (You can watch the fol­low-up seg­ments here and here. Very fun­ny stuff.) Then, it all cul­mi­nat­ed last night when Stew­art brought Jim Cramer, a lead­ing CNBC per­son­al­i­ty and invest­ment advi­sor, on the show. Here, the jokes end and a long and dead­ly seri­ous inter­view begins, and we all get to see how the finan­cial media failed, if not betrayed, us dur­ing the rise and fall of the cred­it bub­ble. Sad that a come­di­an has to make the point. But I’ll take it.

As a quick side note, it should­n’t be said that no one ever warned the Amer­i­can pub­lic about the pro­gram­ming being put out by CNBC and espe­cial­ly Jim Cramer. Last year, David Swensen, who man­ages Yale’s multi­bil­lion dol­lar endow­ment (which has fared quite well dur­ing this decline, at least rel­a­tive to oth­er large endow­ments) took aim at Jim Cramer in the NYTimes, not­ing: “There is noth­ing that Cramer says that can help peo­ple make intel­li­gent deci­sions.” “He takes some­thing that is very seri­ous and turns it into a game. If you want to have fun, go to Dis­ney World.”


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Comments (5)
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  • Bob says:

    Much of the finan­cial minu­tia they were talk­ing about elud­ed me. But what could­n’t be missed was Cramer’s mut­ed, stut­ter­ing defense against Stew­art’s rather point­ed charges against him and his net­work.

    He’s was obvi­ous­ly guilty of some­thing and clear­ly knew it.

  • Robert H says:

    Stew­art is most def­i­nite­ly not a come­di­an. Frankly, he’s the most bril­liant satirist this coun­try has had in a long time. The only per­son I know to com­pare him to is Voltaire.

    But when he needs to get seri­ous, he does, as he did in the inter­view with Cramer. This is why I watch The Dai­ly Show with­out fail, and almost nev­er watch the net­work evening news.

  • Dan Colman says:

    Voltaire? I like the com­par­i­son. Per­haps that’s why I got all 18th cen­tu­ry with the title of the post — with­out think­ing about it, of course.

  • connor t. says:

    videos work in Czech Repub­lic. one of the best inter­views of recent mem­o­ry

  • Ron says:

    While I enjoy watch­ing Cramer every night, one must remem­ber the show is pri­mar­i­ly enter­tain­ment. The finan­cial net­works exist to pro­mote their adver­tis­ers finan­cial and invest­ment prod­ucts. Who would expect them to warn about the cred­it bub­ble or com­ing Wash­ing­ton nation­al debt col­lapse which will destroy much of the remain­ing pri­vate wealth in Amer­i­ca today or what this will do to the dol­lar, the stock mar­ket, bonds, gold or the real estate mar­ket?

    Chi­na is now wor­ried about their dan­ger­ous over invest­ment in US Trea­sury oblig­a­tions. Wash­ing­ton ’s long-term choice is either repu­di­a­tion or mon­e­ti­za­tion. For mon­e­ti­za­tion to be effec­tive, the depre­ci­a­tion in the dol­lar would have to be sub­stan­tial and this in turn would dra­mat­i­cal­ly raise prices of imports for Amer­i­can con­sumers which would mean a tremen­dous drop in for­eign imports. Debt mon­e­ti­za­tion would cause more dis­rup­tion to export­ing nations than selec­tive repu­di­a­tion of Trea­sury debt.

    The Cam­paign to Can­cel the Wash­ing­ton Nation­al Debt By 12/22/2013 Con­sti­tu­tion­al Amend­ment is start­ing now in the U.S. See: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67594690498&ref=ts

    Thanks,

    Ron with 30 plus years in the invest­ment busi­ness and bank­ing indus­try.

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