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:


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

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