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.”