Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 13, 2009

YOU WILL LIKE HIM WHEN HE'S ANGRY.... In 2004, Jon Stewart appeared on CNN's "Crossfire," and explained that the show was "hurting America." He wasn't kidding. The brutal appearance exposed the show as something of a farce; CNN's executives ended up agreeing with Stewart; and three months later, CNN announced that "Crossfire" was finished.

With that history in mind, CNBC should feel awfully nervous right now.

After a week of back and forth, Stewart had Jim Cramer on "The Daily Show" last night and not only destroyed the "Mad Money" host, but more importantly, exposed CNBC as an embarrassment. By the time the brutal interview was over, one thing was clear: the network has no clothes.

If you watched the aired program last night, you missed most of the discussion, which had to be edited down. Fortunately, the whole thing, start to finish, is online. Here's Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (Note: some of the language is not safe for work -- profanities were not "bleeped.")

Cramer seemed anxious to avoid getting skewered. Before the interview, he was lowering the temperature, making self-deprecating jokes, and talking about how he patterned his own show after Stewart's. On the "Daily Show," Cramer continued to try being nice, telling Stewart what a "fan" he is. He even agreed with Stewart on the whole Santelli rant.

But that didn't stop Stewart from saying what needed to be said. It was like watching a trained prosecutor destroy a fumbling defendant on the stand.

Jon Stewart hammered Jim Cramer and his network, CNBC, in their anticipated face-off on "The Daily Show," repeatedly chastising the "Mad Money" host for putting entertainment above journalism.

"I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it's not a ... game," Stewart told Cramer, adding in an expletive during the show's Thursday taping. The episode was scheduled to air at 11 p.m. EDT on Comedy Central.

Cramer apparently went on the show to make nice and end the "feud." Stewart apparently had him on the show to expose how ridiculous and irresponsible CNBC is as a network. The result wasn't pretty, but as Alex Koppelman noted, it was "a riveting half-hour, something almost completely unlike anything else ever seen on television."

Watching the evisceration, I couldn't help but wonder why it takes a comedian on Comedy Central to do the kind of interview the non-fake news shows ought to be doing. When the media establishment marvels at Jon Stewart's popularity, they tend to think it's his humor. It's not. It's because he calls "bullsh*t" when most major media players won't. He did so last night, and it made for important viewing.

Go watch.

Steve Benen 8:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (64)

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The intertubes notwithstanding, there's still something riveting about seeing television as it happens. Cramer looked as though no one else had ever talked to him like that before, while Stewart's more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger bluntness seems unique in television. Even the audience was subdued, almost stunned by it.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on March 13, 2009 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Satire is a form of expressing anger. Stewart does it brilliantly. But he also does tremendous serious interviews intended to get a deeper understanding of the argument. Last night was one of those rare moments when the guest refused to go deeper. Cramer put on absolutely zero defense. His picture should be in the dictionary next to the word "dissemble".

Posted by: Danp on March 13, 2009 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

dear god, THAT was brutal.

Pinatas had it so good.

Posted by: chandlerMA on March 13, 2009 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

In a just world, this episode would also destroy Martha Stewart's reputation. The maven of pretentiousness and convict of insider trading used her show to "humanize" the scam artist. What it proves to me is that a few months in prison doesn't rehabilitate this crowd.

Posted by: Danp on March 13, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

Conspicuous in is absence was any comment on Morning Joe this morning (at least in the first hour) What Joe ? not so funny when he speaks truth to power I guess. You would think that after all the hubub they would have lead with it? No - I guess they don't want to admit the truth or maybe it is too "unpleasant" watching Cramer squirm.

Posted by: John R on March 13, 2009 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

I've said it before... Jon Stewart is the best anchorman on television today. Great for him, but otherwise a sad commentary on television journalism.

Posted by: KevinMc on March 13, 2009 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not saying anything new, but nothing speaks to the irrelevant and gutless uselessness of our mainstream "news" media—print, radio, and most especially TV—more directly than what happened on TDS with Cramer. Future historians will marvel at how the vast majority of so-called mainstream "journalists" in our era are, unwittingly or not, little more than compliant mouthpieces for entrenched interests in general and the Republican Party in particular.

Posted by: bluestatedon on March 13, 2009 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

No one can explain why David Gregory hosts Meet The Press rather than Stewart. Yes he is a comedian but this isn't the first time he has conducted tough interviews like this one. But "real" journalists have the same mentality as Cramer in that they think they should just accept whatever anyone says when they answer their questions and not show when they are full of sh*t. Thats what our mainstream media has come to nowadays and thats why people aren't buying their bullsh*t anymore. The only problem is after this NOBODY will want to go on Jon Stewart's show and get skewered in a similar fashion. Can you imagine Michael Steele or Rush Limbaugh or Eric Cantor going on that show? But instead the go on a "serious" show like MTP where they know they will get softball questions with no follow ups. How phucked up is that picture?

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla on March 13, 2009 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

[i]Watching the evisceration, I couldn't help but wonder why it takes a comedian on Comedy Central to do the kind of interview the non-fake news shows ought to be doing.[/i]

Steve, even in his time, Bill Shakespeare has to invent the Fool (court jester) to ridicule King Lear :)

Posted by: chandlerMA on March 13, 2009 at 8:29 AM | PERMALINK

If you want honesty, why don't you do your part by eschewing asinine euphemisms like, "not safe for work?" Profanities were used. Using an asterisk in the word "bullshit" is bullshit. If you want candor, make your own blog a home for it.

If you want better television, stop watching bad television. Is that so fucking hard?


Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on March 13, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

I read a comment on the Daily Kos that stated " John Stewart is the Will Rogers of our time". I agree.
I have to give Cramer some props though - to his credit he sat there and took it. Now if we could only get the Republicans to do the same about there failures.

Posted by: Phil Philiben on March 13, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Let's Hope MSNBC takes stock of what occurred on Stewart last night; dumps the ever deceitful with lack of fact checking of Scarboroughs and Mika B's verbosity,J. Scarborough show.

Posted by: mljohnston on March 13, 2009 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

For those of us who are abed at showtime, Comedy Central re-airs TDS at 10 AM and 2PM. I'll set aside one of those half hours today.

And, by the way, the pablum offered up by TV "News" is directly related to the corporations that own the networks and their role as succubus to their sponsors. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 13, 2009 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

I couldn't believe how little Cramer did to defend himself. I did not expect him to basically agree with every criticism Stewart made of him.

Posted by: Greg on March 13, 2009 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

"...after this NOBODY will want to go on Jon Stewart's show... "

No -- watch for some guy in trouble (probably NOT LImbaugh or Steele or Cantor), but somebody with something on the ball, who goes on Stewart and does okay, because there really is something to the guy.

Stewart's great ace is that he's honest. That's why he's funny -- like George Carlin, or Chris Rock, any of the greats: he tells the truth wicked.

What kilt CNBC in this, is that they're NOT honest, and they know it. They sell themselves as expert advice on the market, but they know the buy/sell, short/long churn shtick is precisely the opposite of what is smart in any individual's investment strategy, AND a catastrophe for the economy, much less the market as a whole.

But a genuinely honest guy in political trouble, somebody candid with integrity in what they do whose become a target in some media controversy? He (or she) would have a blast on The Daily Show: Tell a self-deprecating joke, take the heat, and just like that -- Kiefer Sutherland on SNL in his tux, PeeWee Herman "so funny I forgot to laugh", Richard Pryor holding up that lit match...

Posted by: anonymous on March 13, 2009 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

"If you want honesty, why don't you do your part by eschewing asinine euphemisms like, "not safe for work?"

And, what the #$@&* are you doing watching The Daily Show at work, on MY computer, on MY dime, you lazy, worthless piece of sh*t?

I catch you again, and I'll fire you, motherfucker.

Just sayin'. . .

Posted by: DAY on March 13, 2009 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who saw Jon Stewart after 9/11, when he spoke honestly about how he felt, nervously tapping his pencil on the desk... it was obvious that there was more to this guy than just being funny. From that point on, The Daily Show began to evolve into what we see today. Unlike most programs that go on and on and on, Stewart just gets better and better.

Posted by: a-j on March 13, 2009 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

greg, even Cramer knows he's inexcusable. Or rather, his excuse is inexcusable ("my masters tell me to bark like a trained seal, but to MY credit, I taught MYSELF how to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the squeeze horns; I knew it would please them").

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 13, 2009 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

I love JS and accept when he oversimplifies for the sake of entertainment and populist values. But it wasn't an evisceration. He basically got Cramer to agree that wall street is self serving. what else is news?

Look, we laugh at republicans defending their untenable views. Cramer's response was you're right jon, you're right jon, you're right jon. We'll do better next time." But he won't change.

Stock traders, like cramer, have different goals than investors. Cramer took his licks, but if he were intellectually honest and not concerned with appearances he would have defended his position.

Zero sum game imho.

Posted by: Hortron on March 13, 2009 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

If we ever get out of the hole the Bush administration buried us in, it will be thanks in large part to Jon Stewart. Barack Obama owes him a lot. He is more than our Will Rogers. He is the anti-Rush Limbaugh and more because he's honest.

Posted by: chrenson on March 13, 2009 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

PBS has the only TV news team with credibility. Good for Stewart.

Posted by: Bob on March 13, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Wow, Jon Stewart is the takedown man! (Go to WaMo for more.) And, more significant than the accusation Cramer makes "entertainment" out of the serious business of finance, was his gaming the system by cheating as an investor and finance commentator (the latter, perhaps worse.)

As for media reporting on this, here is the interesting part. A basically conservative (but apparently, not hack-partisan) site called NewsBusters did a piece on this and quoted Cramer on cheating etc. NB complained that the media didn't report on it much. I excerpted below so readers can see what Cramer said (again, as it may be.) Hmmm ... a genuinely liberal media would jump at the chance to take down a fraudulent capitalist, but ...


[Note: I tried to italicize the whole excerpt, I even copied the HTML straight out of a comp window at Kos which produced perfect results using their "em" tags - so; Steve - does that need fixing along with the "info" holder? Aren't we getting tired of this, even tho' I do have fun making little variations of my name and email addys ...]

It doesn't take much money to sway the stock market, Jim Cramer said on TheStreet.com TV's Wall Street Confidential video Webcast Friday.

In fact, when Cramer was short stock during his hedge fund days, meaning he was betting the stocks would fall, he would look to create a level of activity beforehand that could drive the futures lower, he told Aaron Task, the host of Wall Street Confidential.

Although the intricacies discussed might be a tad technical, what Cramer was admitting was how he and other hedge fund managers can manipulate stocks during the day for their own financial gain, and potentially your detriment. In fact, he was encouraging traders to do it if they currently aren’t:

And sometimes, hedge fund investors boost the futures to create a false sense of excitement that can quickly turn negative when the sellers come in, Cramer said. He encouraged anyone in the hedge fund game to follow this strategy, as it's legal and a "very quick way to make money."

Cramer then gave a specific example of how he would manipulate a rather well-known stock:

Similarly, it's important for market players who are short Apple (AAPL) to spread rumors that Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) don't like Apple's new phone.

Cramer said Apple is an "ideal short," and said if he were short the stock, he would call six trading desks and say he just got off with his contact at Verizon, who said that the company has no room for Apple.

"It's a very effective way to keep a stock down," he said. "What's important when you're in the hedge fund mode is to not do anything remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view."

So, Cramer was advising people who were betting that Apple shares would decline to call stock trading desks and lie.

Shocking, yes? Yet, a LexisNexis search identified that not one major media outlet covered this story when it occurred.

Posted by: Neil B ◙ on March 13, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

God bless Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Rachel Maddow, and Keith Olberman, not to forget David Letterman. Apparently they are doing the jobs of the Edward R. Morrow's, the Walter Cronkite's and Dan Rather's of the yesteryear did so well: Journalism. Why is it in this country that the MSM has become so marginalized by late night comedians and a small hand full of "serious" folks who point out what is really behind the wizard's curtain. Between the screwering of Bush by Colbert and Stewart's de-nutting of CNBC last night, and Letterman calling out Mccain on his lies, one can only hope america finally wakes-up. One can only hope...

Posted by: stevio on March 13, 2009 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

This was the non-funny counterpart to Colbert's skewering of the DC Press Corps. Brilliant and straight to the jugular. Both should be required viewing in Journalism School (and by anyone who wants to know what is wrong with journalism today).

Posted by: martin on March 13, 2009 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

(Heh, I even copied the link to here from the Kos comment. BTW, you can find out who I am there but please I want to keep that under the table ...)

Posted by: Neil B ♪ ♫ on March 13, 2009 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

The spirit of Voltaire lives!-Kevo

Posted by: kevo on March 13, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think I breathed through that entire interview. Riveting is the perfect word.

Posted by: sh on March 13, 2009 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

Martin, my wife [a journalist and former journalism instructor] can tell you what's wrong with journalism today.

Kids go into "journalism" in mediocre universities around the country because it appears to be an easy way to get on television. The vast majority of your younger local TV news people gave this as their answer when asked why they chose journalism as a major. And, when a young TV-star wannabee is able to act like a journalist on camera, guess what happens? They get bumped to larger and larger markets. And ultimately they go national.

It happens over and over and over again. Kids with no interest in reporting, fairness, objectivity or news -- but with a keen desire to be seen by others on TV and the ability to test well in focus groups -- are now in charge of disseminating news.

Posted by: chrenson on March 13, 2009 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

"one thing was clear: the network has no clothes."

To tweak that metaphor, it seems to me what Jon Stewart was saying was not that CNBC was the emperor, but that it was one of the courtiers who told the emperor what beautiful clothes he was wearing.

Posted by: Rob M on March 13, 2009 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

For me, the part that hit hardest was when Stewart explained that his 74 year old mother had believed in buy and hold investing in the market and had suffered the consequences. His stance on behalf of 401k investors clearly was motivated by his mom's experience. Wish more attention were paid to the plight of the 401k investors. Note: if 401k investors had not been trained to buy and hold, the last six months would have mirrored 1929. The declines the markets experienced were when the smart money left the table.

Posted by: steve on March 13, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

totally off-topic, chandler MA, but if you're in the market for a really funny read, pick up "Fool" by Christopher Moore. it's the lear story told from the p-o-v of a very pissed-off fool.
i know "laugh-out-loud-funny" is a cliche of book reviews, but moore is one of the few writers who can do it to me.

Posted by: mellowjohn on March 13, 2009 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

If only Jon and Rachel could impress on people the fact that greater volume is not an indicator of greater veracity. Ranters can't handle it when you remain calm. The shoutdown is their best weapon, but it only works if you respond in kind.

I get in 'discussions' with a local Republican county chairman in his bar every few months. He's smart and very loud, but brainwashed by Limbaugh, Coulter, etc. I calmly chuckle as he blasts away for 10 minutes at a time, turning every head in his bar/restaurant, and then, with a quiet sentence, get him to make a concession that undermines his whole argument.

Posted by: Michael7843853 on March 13, 2009 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Before there was Frost/Nixon.
Now there is Stewart/Cramer.

Posted by: Sean Galbraith on March 13, 2009 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Cramer deserves credit for taking his lumps. After looking at the unedited outtakes, I now understand why it seemed so personal for Stewart. His mother. He's right, it isn't a game.

There is a good comment thread at swampland about access as the corrupting factor of journalism. (In an odd way, I think comment sections can have a "Stewart effect" on the blogger. (See, eg Joe Klein)). Whether it is CNBC or NBC, the powerful use access to control the message. It takes someone who doesn't give a shit to push through that. The problem for journalists is that to take that path is a career ender. Not gonna happen. Broken system. Need new source of information.

Posted by: Scott F. on March 13, 2009 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Jon's smackdown of CNBC ranks up there with "Have you no shame?"

I just caught this morning's rebroadcast.

Posted by: Former Dan on March 13, 2009 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Even when I totally agree with someone, like Stewart, it's still painful to watch someone like Cramer have his ass handed to him without so much as a fight.
Even Stewart said at the end of the show last night, "I hope it was as painful for you to watch as it was for me to do". Painful but necessary.
John Stewart is a national treasure, and funny as hell.

To be fair though, Cramer was taking the heat for an entire network, and there a whole lot of other a-holes from CNBC who deserve the same treatment. Santelli and the rest are a bunch of gutless cowards.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 13, 2009 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Jon Stewart should be elevated to National Treasure.

I, once, contacted Cramer when he co-hosted with KRUDlow - He had drooled over using the word "Patriot" for Cheney. I took him to task for calling a ChickenHawk a Patriot - Cramer e-mailed and replied that as he had been taken to task by the right wing for something else, he must be doing something right.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 13, 2009 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

Allan - I'd start with Kudlow who uses the CNBC schtick to bash the Obama administration every chance he gets. In some ways, it is sad that Cramer has become the face for that crowd, because there are a lot of others more deserving and emblematic. Cramer is not Santelli.

Posted by: Scott. F. on March 13, 2009 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Stewart's performance over the last two weeks on this has been a work of art.

But give Cramer some credit for going on the show--he didn't have to.

Each of them was courageous in his own way, and the country is better off as a result.

Posted by: derwin on March 13, 2009 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

In that uncomfortable moment when Stewart puts aside the light hearted stuff, and goes for the jugular, when he got serious and called out bullshit......

That's a rare thing to see these days, indeed.

Bravo Jon.

Posted by: palinoscopy on March 13, 2009 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Memo to future historians:

In the early years of the 21st century, the most effective and honest critic of the elite media's relationship with the government and the market was a professional joke teller who plied his wares on an entertainment network called Comedy Central.

Seriously, a Hunter S. Thompson no-holds-barred interview with Nixon back in the day might not have been this brutal.

Posted by: CrazyRidesRockets on March 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, a Hunter S. Thompson no-holds-barred interview with Nixon back in the day might not have been this brutal.

If memory serves me right, the one time Thompson got an interview with Nixon, it was under the stipulation that they discuss nothing but football (both were ardent fans of the game, and the Trickster just wanted to talk sports).

That said, though Thompson was without retraint in his criticism of Nixon's paranoia, authoritarianism, and corruption, he had a certain amount of sympathy for the man, and a recognition that Nixon represented what was foul and corrupt in America as a whole.

Like Thompson, Stewart is a national treasure. Why is anyone surprised that there's a huge audience for people who are simply willing to say "bullshit" to the professional liars?

Posted by: Gregory on March 13, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

By the end of the interview, Stewart wasn't even trying to be funny, just honest. And it was amazing to see Cramer flail. When Cramer tried to argue "We were lied to", and Jon pointed out the idiocy of just taking their word at face value, it was like Cramer was hearing for the first time that a journalist should be skeptical, or investigate for themselves.

I hope the rest of the media grasp that concept. Too much of the "reporting" these days is merely repeating without question. Or, worse, like CNBC, repeating with enthusiasm, amplification, and encouragement.

Posted by: biggerbox on March 13, 2009 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

It's all one piece with Obama administration's conspiracy to quell all dissent. The pillars of finance are now going to have to get A comedian's approval (or may be a lesbo's or a fat failed sportscaster's) before they say anything on the air. Obama truly wants to be a dictator. Come to think of it, he already is.

There. That's what you are going to hear from Glen Beck and Savage and Rush and the lesser humans like Ponnuru and Jonah Lucianne.

Posted by: gregor on March 13, 2009 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Cramer got his ass kicked. He looked like a total tool and fool. Every time he tried to throw out a stupid platitude or empty cliche Stewart hammered him and his network on the substance for everyone to see. The only drawback is that now craven Santeli will never appear on the show to get his richly deserved whuppin.

John Stewart in 2016.

Posted by: Winkandanod on March 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Kids go into "journalism" at mediocre universities"

Whew, glad the University of Idaho didn't make that list.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 13, 2009 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
There is a good comment thread at swampland about access as the corrupting factor of journalism ... Whether it is CNBC or NBC, the powerful use access to control the message. It takes someone who doesn't give a shit to push through that. The problem for journalists is that to take that path is a career ender.

--Scott F.

Having worked in a newsroom (albeit a sports one), I also think that access is a huge part of the problem.

It's quite simple: Many reporters now rely on high-level sources -- too often off the record -- so much that they aren't willing to tell the hard truths and have those sources suddenly clam up.

They need the interviews, the scoops, the exclusive to get ratings and please advertisers. So they aren't willing to risk that.

It's a shame, really, given how much research can be done online, thus making those sources less of an issue.

Posted by: Mark D on March 13, 2009 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

comedy central's server must be crashing from everyone watching these 3 clips. i'm getting a "not found" error for clip 3.


cramer does not get "props" for appearing on the show. he's an ass and should indeed be one of the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

Posted by: karen marie on March 13, 2009 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ar one point Stewart doesn't seem to get it.

CNBC and most finance entertainers DO convey that you should get in the market long term and stay put through ups and downs.

The second market he talks about DOES exist and large "Mad" money can be made (and lost!).

The people who win at that game have large sums. Their investing drives the price up and the momentum attracts suckers. At the peak price there is a leveling off as the hedge fund bails out and the newcomers buy at the price the hedge bails at. When the newcomers wind down, the price starts to fall. The hedge gets out almost entirely at a profit and the price continues to decline as the newcomers don't see further movement in the direction they like.

These are small fry trying to play the in and out game. These are the people who should hold long term. Talk of momentum, technical analysis, and stochastics are all irrelevant to nearly everyone.

Cramer offers his best advice (FWIW) as it reflects his short term predictions. Heck, his advice for Bear Stearns may not be relevant after 12 days even in HIS eyes. CNBC is designed for egomaniacs who want to pretend to be market movers and for folks who don't understand that Cramer's plays are a form of gambling. Short term trades must be exceptionally good or very high level because commissions on sales weigh heavily against returns. 10 dollar commission on 500 dollars worth of stock means a -2% loss from the jump.

I equate it to sports talk shows where a bunch of guys speculate on draft picks. Weakly predictive of team performance in the coming year and results may turn on a dime. Don't place bets with your rent money/retirement fund.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on March 13, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

I couldn't help but wonder why it takes a comedian on Comedy Central to do the kind of interview the non-fake news shows ought to be doing.

Not the first time this has happened. As a matter of fact, you could go waay back to the mid 90s when the only person to call out Newt Gingrich on his "We're-not-cutting-Medicare" bullshit was some clown from Saturday Night Live.

What ever happened to that guy?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on March 13, 2009 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

I appreciate Mr. Benen's post here, but if you want to really look at the big picture of what the Cramer vs Stewart feud means in terms of overall journalism, check out Glenn Greenwald

Posted by: TG Chicago on March 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Just one big problem with the interview: at the start of the 3rd segment, Stewart asks Cramer whom CNBC is responsible to, but his formulation ignores the obvious answer: CNBC, like any for-profit enterprise, is responsible primarily to its corporate owners.

Posted by: Cervantes on March 13, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Agree with ScottF @9:41 - Larry Kudlow is the guy who called Paul Krugman a 'bubblehead' instead of listening to him about the housing bubble.

Stewart caught Cramer, but that's because Cramer is the weakest link in the gallery of villains.

Posted by: Ohioan on March 13, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, leave Martha out of it. She knew Kramer was going to get his ass handed to him. What was she gonna say? She just told him to screw up his courage and do his best. Did you want her to say, "no, don't do it, you'll regret it for the rest of you life". Then we might have been robbed of Kramer squirming like worm on a hot sidewalk.

Posted by: jussumbody on March 13, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

i don't know if anyone else has pointed this out but the links steve provides are to the EDITED interview.

here's a link to the first UNEDITED segment of the interview:


having sat through both, my belief that cramer is a smarmy, craven asshole is now conviction.

Posted by: karen marie on March 13, 2009 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of people misunderstand the purpose of both "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." They think they're about mocking politicians, but they're not -- they're about mocking the media. Journalists who abdicate their responsibility to give the public the facts really seem to piss Stewart off.

That's why the media was so taken aback when Colbert spanked them at the White House Correspondents Dinner -- they really thought he was just there to make fun of politicians and had never caught on that they were the primary target for mockery:

But, listen, let's review the rules. Here's how it works: the president makes decisions. He's the decider. The press secretary announces those decisions, and you people of the press type those decisions down. Make, announce, type. Just put 'em through a spell check and go home. Get to know your family again. Make love to your wife. Write that novel you got kicking around in your head. You know, the one about the intrepid Washington reporter with the courage to stand up to the administration. You know - fiction!

No wonder they fell all over themselves to declare the speech a "failure" the next day.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on March 13, 2009 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Watching the evisceration, I couldn't help but wonder why it takes a comedian on Comedy Central to do the kind of interview the non-fake news shows ought to be doing. "

But Alessandra Stanley in the New York Times had her panties in a bunch this morning because Jon Stewart WASN'T FUNNY!!! He was as boring as a senate subcommittee meeting, and Cramer, well he'lll have the last laugh! How sad for the country that a fake news comedian has more news value than The New York Times.

Posted by: James G on March 13, 2009 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Agree generally with the commentary, but I believe these criticisms can be applied across the board to all "journalists" (read "Stenogs"). The press has ceased to function as a watchdog and instead has become a propaganda network. Of course the destruction of the Fairness Doctrine and its concomitant Equal Time Amendment, one of Reagan's very first official acts, eliminated the public interest requirement from broadcasting. Clinton's FCC's lax ownership rules have made this monopoly of propagandists possible.

So it is difficult to blame one person for this mess -- the very journalistic profession has been destroyed from the inside out. These morons who wear the title "reporter" don't know HOW to report; they don't know HOW to ask a follow up question; they don't know HOW to act as an adversary. They are too busy rubbing elbows with government and corporate officials (like there's a distinction there) at black tie affairs and industry "dinners" to do their actual jobs.

As for this particular interview, I give Cramer credit for having the balls to go on and take his lumps. I thought he was poised and that he handled himself well in the face of a barrage of well deserved criticism.

News IS NOT entertainment. Sometimes, it's entertaining but the line was crossed years ago when the public interest component of broadcast was erased and replaced with a "bottom line".

The best thing that could happen at this point is for the government YES the government to reintroduce rules requiring public airwaves to be licensed to broadcasters who act in the public interest; and for the FCC to reacquaint itself with the reason broadcast monopolies, both horizontal and vertical, were outlawed in the first place.

Posted by: getaclue on March 13, 2009 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

This is a bit of a tangent, but one of the things I still don't think that conservatives understand is how tired we got of being lied to. So it was and is absolutely thereapeutic when Stewart does call bullsh*t.

I think this is also why that Jindal speech was more of a debacle that people even realized. He got up there and absolutely lied to our face about the Katrina incident.

Posted by: AndyB on March 13, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

That was a complete demolition of Cramer, and was actually painful to watch.

Posted by: Kris on March 13, 2009 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

I can't bring myself to watch it... I want to.. but I squirm at the mental picture of Cramer being destroyed, despite richly deserving it.

Posted by: Daro on March 13, 2009 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

TPM had a link to an ABC article on White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' reaction to the Stewart/Cramer piece. Gibbs said he didn't know if the President had watched but that Gibbs "enjoyed it immensely".

What I found interesting, infuriating, amusing (whatever) was the comments section of this very brief article. It was completely dominated by right-wing nuts claiming that the only reason Stewart went after Cramer and CNBC was that Cramer and Santelli had the courage to criticize Barrack Obama. They basically said Stewart was working on behalf of the President and made the usual references to "the One", socialism and red-shirts.

There was some pushback against this in the last 3 hours, but they aren't giving up.

P.S. one of the highest-volume posters attacking Obama and defending Bush is suffficiently ridiculous to name himself "Anti-Harkonnen Freedom Fighter". He apparently doesn't realize that to the very limited extent that comparisons between a far-future sci-fi universe and current events make any sense at all, the Harkonnen are not going to be equated with the liberals.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 13, 2009 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

The ABC article and thread I mentioned in previous post are found here.

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 13, 2009 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

Can Jon Stewart call out Nancy Grace too?

Posted by: fry1laurie on March 13, 2009 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK



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