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Cramer v. Stewart - aka "Brawl Street"

I gotta break from the crowd on this one... a lot of people say Cramer got creamed by Stewart on the Daily Show. Here's my take.

I gotta give props to both guys - Stewart for putting the whole thing into really easy to understand terms (and elegantly so) and Cramer for having the moxy to go on the show answer Stewart's questions. The whole thing is really beautiful news.

To get the full impression (if you didn't catch it all for whatever reason), here's where it started. Santelli made a bonehead comment about loser homeowners. Stewart invited him on the show. Santelli accepted, so they prepared a show around that. http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=220250 (all worth watching)

The result was CNBC seemed to have hurt feelings as a result, which of course only gave more ammo to Stewart: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/index.jhtml?episodeId=220284 (this one also has the bit about the Prime Minister of England - worth watching up until the guest interview)

So finally, Jim Cramer agreed to appear on the show (watch the unabridged version here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=221516&title=jim-cramer-unedited-interview).

I think Cramer did really well, actually. Yeah, he got fed a lot of crow, but he "ate it" graciously, and he knew that was going to be the case before he agreed to show so I give him props for his integrity and courage on that count.

And I've been thinking about the points that Stewart raises - that the reporting that goes on about Wall Street by TV news networks is supremely suspect, but you'd never know it if Stewart hadn't said something, and why the hell does it take a comedy show to be the watch dog on bad behavior by financial experts?

First, I think Stewart forgets a couple of things. 1) The comics have *always* been the watchdogs on all societies' ills - that's the whole archetypal role of the court jester... to point out, through humor, where the powers that be are screwing up. 2) No one likes Michael Moore. You can be groundbreaking and whistle-blowing once, but then everyone knows to stay the hell away from you. That could mean the end of your job. If you try and continue on your path of righteousness, you end up as an editorialist with a yes-man audience, like Fox News and MSNBC (right and left respectively). That inevitably puts you back to square one: spin city.

Ya wanna know why the moderates don't have a voice? Because they're moderates. The founding fathers knew that those voices aren't heard, and they designed out system of lobbying around it.

But back to newscasting... I don't know exact dates, but I do know that the news reporting has significantly changed from when I was a kid. Somewhere in there, news became about sensationalism. Don Henley had a song in 1982 about tabloid news, but mainstream news was still pretty good at the time. And then something changed. It was before Baby Jessica in the well and the OJ trial, but that's about the time when news switched from news to news "programming"... when the news became about ratings and ad sales more than it was about actual reporting.

Then all news networks like CNN and others also became about promotion, and become more polarized, and ultimately became about promoting an agenda, which lands us in Jon Stewart's broadcast and his resounding "F*ck you!" heard across the networks.

I need to check if The Wall Street Journal also missed all of this. I can't afford the subscription, so I haven't kept up with what they've reported. I hope to *god* they mentioned the 35:1 leveraging that the banks were doing.... but I won't place bets that they did cover it. Not with what I already know about how complicit so many other "great minds" were in this whole debacle.

It wasn't reported in the WSJ either...

I'm of half a mind to write Jon Stewart myself... and Cramer for that matter.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 14th, 2009 10:09 am (UTC)
Though to be fair to Cramer, whenever you give stock news, you will make mistakes. He eats crow on his show when he screws up.

Stewart doesn't have to be right. Ever.

The standards for the two are completely different.
Mar. 14th, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
That wasn't Stewart's argument...
Mar. 14th, 2009 07:53 pm (UTC)
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


Ron with 30 plus years in the investment business and banking industry.
Mar. 14th, 2009 08:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Cramer
I totally agree with your first paragraph... But again, thatks not my complaint nor the argument at hand.

What *didn't* get reported and what *everyone* is so pissed about is the fundamental changes in the banking rules that allowed the debt to holdings ratio to go to 35:1... *That's* what killed the banks and made what would have been a arguably scandalous but typical bubble turn into such a meltdown.

Paulson & Greenspan knew better. W was a witless puppett. And the SEC was asleep at the wheel.

I *love* Cramer's antics. It's perfect for both my ADD and my bohemian bougiose attitude. And frankly, he says the crap I wish I could yell from the rooftops. Booyah to him for having his own show.

But even The Wall Street Journal--the *premier* US paper on the economy--did not report it!

I don't mind making mistakes on my own, or even b/c of bad advice... But getting screwed by what essentially ammounts to a secret?

*That's* some bullshit.
Mar. 16th, 2009 11:51 am (UTC)
What's with his rolled up sleeves? Never got that.
Mar. 16th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
I think he'd just come from the Martha Stewart show where he'd been baking and he just forgot. The interview had been taped earlier in the day and cut down for time (why I linked to the complete interview here...)
Mar. 16th, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
Huh... he's always got rolled up sleeves... I guess it's a BoBo thing...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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