Jim Cramer, a CNBC commentator and host of the show “Mad Money,” appeared as a guest on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” Thursday, March 12, 2009. This appearance capped a two-week feud between Stewart and CNBC, in which Stewart showed video clip after video clip of the inept financial reporting done by that network.
Cramer was the focus of many of those video clips, and made a lot of comments in the press in his own defense. However, his comments only threw gasoline on a small fire.
“I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it’s not a (expletive) game,” Stewart told Cramer during the beat-down session on Thursday.
When Cramer claimed that the big CEOs lied to him, Stewart ran video clips to show that Cramer was no fool, proving that he knew all the back-office shenanigans of Wall Street.
In one particularly damning pair of videos from 2006, Cramer is seen discussing ways that stocks values can be manipulated. He specifically mentions Apple Computers, and how talking about the delays with the release of the Iphone affected stock prices.
I have a few thoughts and comments about Thursday night’s show, as follows:
1. What was CNBC thinking when they allowed Cramer to go into the enemy’s camp and appear on The Daily Show? What possible upside could there have been? Did they think that Cramer would defend himself and emerge the victor? If CNBC would have ignored Stewart’s criticisms, the furor would have died out in two weeks…tops. In my opinion, this appearance, sanctioned by CNBC, shows that they are either breathtakingly stupid or breathtakingly arrogant. I guess you can be both at the same time, and that might be the answer.
2. At one point, Stewart asked Cramer why CNBC aired these financial entertainment programs with their gung-ho stock-buying emphasis. Cramer’s response was shocking when he said: “There is a market for that, and we give it to them.” Stewart’s rejoinder was, “There’s a market for hookers and cocaine, too,” implying that CNBC has the same motive as pimps and drug dealers. But think about the corporate mindset at CNBC that sees human frailty and openly exploits it. Stewart was right. What difference is there between one entity and another that exploits human frailty?
3. OK, John. Taking on Jim Cramer was easy. You’d been building your case with devastating videos for the last two weeks, hammering the guy with his own words. Now, how about doing the same thing for members of Congress? They are the ultimate felons and traitors in this American financial meltdown. It is Congress that enacted the laws that allowed the financial debacle that is unfolding before our eyes.
These are the paragons of virtue that promoted the “every man should own a house” ruse, prevented the reigning-in of the Federal Reserve, FreddieMac and FannieMae, and essentially let the inmates run the asylum. Then, to forever burnish their reputation and the stupidest lawmaking body in human history, they handed hundreds of billions of dollars to the very “banksters” that helped create this mess, and did not require them to account for the money.
In conclusion: there are a lot of folks who should go to jail over this national depression. I doubt if I will witness even one behind bars. Bernie Madoff doesn’t count.