What is amazing about this is that Jim Cramer is still on TV, and Jon Stewart is not.
After watching the Jon Stewart vs Jim Cramer “Smackdown“, I declare Mr. Stewart the victor in that “Media Showdown” but it is even funnier to think that this made Mr. Stewart the hardest-hitting interviewer on Television (at the time).
Let that one sink in: a Comedic Actor/Comedian man was the toughest interviewer on Television right now. This is a scathing and amusing indictment of the state of “Television News” in its current incantation.
When I grew up if we wanted to find out about the U.S.A. we watched the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and from that thome you felt confident you were getting the news and it had a high level of integrity. Fast forward to today, where most people in the U.S. get their news from the Daily Show. Something is not quite right here.
The Financial Smackdown
The Daily Show played up this showdown well, and made it the central part of the show, and it did not disappoint.
Mr. Cramer came out in his traditional rolled-up sleeves and open collar but looked very contrite from the get-go. Mr. Cramer continued to hide behind the statement we (CNBC) didn’t do anything to cause regulators to get upset with us, but Stewart shot back with the nastiest hit of the night:
“…Now why when you talk about the regulators, why not the financial news network? That is the whole point of this? CNBC could be an incredibly powerful tool of illumination for people that believe that there are two markets: One that has been sold to us as long term. Put your money in 401ks. Put your money in pensions and just leave it there. Donâ€™t worry about it. Itâ€™s all doing fine. Then, thereâ€™s this other market; this real market that is occurring in the back room. Where giant piles of money are going in and out and people are trading them and itâ€™s transactional and itâ€™s fast. But itâ€™s dangerous, itâ€™s ethically dubious and it hurts that long term market. So what it feels like to usâ€”and Iâ€™m talking purely as a laymanâ€”it feels like we are capitalizing your adventure by our pension and our hard earned money. And that it is a game that you know. That you know is going on. But that you go on television as a financial network and pretend isnâ€™t happening…”
This kind of retort continued with Stewart asking, “What were you guys thinking?” in many different ways.
I do include this clip :
I hope that this lampooning by Jon Stewart sheds some light on the CNBC “coverage” of the Financial Apocalypse (and the stock market in general) and on Financial Reporting in general, and maybe brings back the Watch Dog portion of the media, but I am not hopeful.
CNBC and most financial shows on TV are pure entertainment and rarely consider what their opinions might do to their viewers. They are paid for by advertisers and answer to those advertisers as well. Until a way that unbiased reporting can be shown on TV, the reporting will continue on the way it has in the past few years (IMHO).
Oh and if you want another place to find interesting information about the Financial Apocalypse, check out Front Line from PBS Inside the Meltdown. It also mentions CNBC as well.