Saturday, March 14, 2009

Stewart versus Cramer

Obama booster come "comedian" Jon Stewart has been feuding with stock-picker and Obama supporter, Jim Cramer. This week Stewart suckered Cramer into appearing on his show. Predictably, it was a setup for abuse and ridicule. From an article by Mark Hemingway:

.... If you want to have Cramer on your show and bully him for sticking his neck out and being spectacularly wrong in hindsight, fine. Perhaps he deserves it, and certainly it’s not hard to see Cramer as emblematic of Wall Street arrogance. The problem is that Stewart’s critique of Jim Cramer, or of the financial press in general, is not new or particularly relevant — banks have been collapsing for a year. It only became an issue when Stewart wanted to delegitimize Santelli and Cramer’s comments on the Obama administration.

Stewart wants to use bad stock picks to question the motives of financial observers who are now saying the Obama administration has botched its handling of the crisis. But, ironically, Stewart is the one now risking his own neck with a shaky prediction. Anyone want to bet on whether or not a year from now Stewart’s pro-Obama boosterism will look foolish?

... It’s been obvious for some time that Stewart is too busy grinding his partisan axe to properly hone his once considerable comedic sensibilities. He can’t even try to cut a gasbag such as Jim Cramer down to size without coming off as self-important and, worse, unfunny. Maybe before Jon Stewart starts accusing anyone else of hurting America, he should tell it to the man in the mirror.

Anyone who isn’t a fan of Jon Stewart’s will enjoy reading the whole thing.

Here's an earlier take on the feud:


Anonymous said...

Stewart trounced Cramer, not because Stweart is clever but becasue Cramer was so hoplessly reckless and wrong. CNBC should be more than shamless boosters. They should do real reporting!

Anonymous said...

I have never found Stewart funny . . . and his Obama love-in is just pathetic.

He's a waste of TV time in my house.

James Bowie said...

I'm confused that you focus on Obama. Cramer raised that he voted for Obama, and Stewart cut him off. This is not about red v blue. This is about the private game that Wall Street was playing to defraud investors - and what the news media covering financial markets should have reported.

Stewart's theme was that reporting should be better. Facts should be checked. CEO's should be asked more important questions than "is it fun being a billionaire?" Chalking that up as partisan is somewhat confusing.

This segment is being comapared to Stewart's stint on Crossfire. He is generally a comedian, but some (like me) find him at his best when he is genuinely indignant. I don't know if this new agreement between him and Cramer will be sufficient to improve reporting on the stock market, but hopefully it will.

People have lost their homes, their savings, and their pensions by investing in these large corporations. The value of these stocks has been deliberatly and fraudulently manipulated in order to create false profits, large bonuses, and ultimately an insane market crash. The complaint of investors is not partisan, it's feduciary. Someone was supposed to be watching out for them. The SEC, the DOJ, and business reporters at CNBC and elsewhere all let them down.

You can't dismiss criticism of the financial system just because you don't think Stewart is funny. In this case, he wasn't trying to be.

JR said...

Actually, my focus is on what Mark Hemingway had to say about a stupid feud between Stewart and Cramer and about Stewart’s partisan Obama boosterism. From what I’ve seen of Stewart I think Hemingway’s analysis is right on. Stewart can be very funny though more often than not I find him annoying - particularly when his targets are political. Then he comes across as a smug, smart-ass partisan jerk who specializes in cheap shots. Stewart’s liberal partisanship is clearly evident in his non-existent comic treatment of Obama (despite a wealth of available material).

The financial news media and others (including Congress) may have failed miserably to inform the public of the impending meltdown but James Cramer, an entertaining goofball, makes a pitifully poor symbol of that failure. Yet Cramer is the one on whom Stewart chooses to focus his phony “indignance”. Anyone who looks to either Stewart or Cramer for solid information on that front is extremely foolish.

As for the blame game in general - hell, even Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernake and John Taylor can’t agree on what happened after the fact. So picking on little Jim Cramer for not having seen it coming seems more than just a little silly.