WSJ.Com: Was Cramer Right?

If anyone needs any any evidence that the Wall Street Journal is a mere prenteder in comparison to Pearson’s Financial Times, they need look no farther than Dancing The Freakout – Was Jim Cramer Right?. Of course one piece doesn’t make a newspaper, but attributing early call of The Arrival of The Big One to Mr Cramer – a mere housetop weatherwane – albeit a Tourette’s-affected one – is absurd, though perhaps not an unexpected one for The Journal.

The primary difference begins with both media organizations obviously need to serve their respective audiences. The quality of the output initially reflects this. But why should the FT feel compelled to constantly scratch under the skin of capitalism (and prevailing politics) whilst the WSJ cheerleads, rarely ruffles feathers, and maintains the narrowest (and most dogmatic) of political lines – the former evidenced again in this piece by asking the most fatuous of questions, rather entertaining pre-emptive thoughts about how “the market” might be wrong?

I believe that it is a function of “class”, eschewed as the term may be in America, and most American analyses. For in Britain, the City readers of the FT knew their class inherently. Mobility was poor, and along with one’s class, one’s political interests were implicitly understood. And so a far more factual, unintermediated approach evolved, with opinion segregated and flagged. The readers of the Wall St. Journal being aspirational, were far amorphous and without solid class affiliations and attendant interests, far more politically malleable. And so the Journal editors took it upon themselves to shape and mold the opinion of numerous fence-sitters into the dubious but doctrinaire fold of the inviolable primacy of the free market, with all its political baggage. In perfect markets, this may be tolerable, but in a modernity where business interests have captured the flag, investment in rent-seeking is often more attractive than capital investment, oligopoly’s are rife, the potential for the mouthpiece of the market to morph into something not dissimilar from Radio Pyangyang is a clear and present danger.

It is precisely the FTs confidence that gives it the freedom to critical analyse anything and everything pursue systemic faults objectively. For despite their role as protaganist for capitalism, there are no sacred cows that threaten their, and their reader’s position. It is understood implicitly that ironing out the kinks in the market and the system, however inimical to one special interest or another enhances the their positions. It is this same confidence that allows it to comfortably inject collegiate humour, satire and parody – as seen in Lex, or FT Alphaville – something completely absent from the strident, over-earnest, near-paranoid dogmatism one witnesses in the Journal.

So one year on, asking whether Cramer is “Da’ Man” for his syphilitic rant really misses the point, which should be: Where was he (and this refers to all Cramers and their mindless ilk) during the prior four years? Why wasn’t he ranting about the sheer stupidity of Americans withdrawing equity from their homes en masse at increasingly inflated prices? Why, pray tell was he not doing angry cartwheels in regards to the PBoCs absurd accumulation of USD reserves to prevent a classical BW correction of the USD relative to the RMB? Why was he not flagging the Bush tax cuts and lack of US energy policy as massively shortsighted endeavors with imminent and meaningful negative consequences for the entire nation (and perhaps the financial system of the entire world)?? Where was the outcry when AGs fed sat at nearZIRP, woefully behind the curve? And one can go on, but I’ve already beaten it to death.

There is a reason I eschew The Journal except when I am stranded without my own material and find a copy laying about upon the airline seat next me, which is rarely if ever…

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  1. Anonymous

    After his rant last year I sent Cramer an e-mail stating that if the Fed followed his suggestion to lower interest rates that that the results would be disastrous. Lower interest rates would force the dollar lower and oil would spike. Overseas holdings of dollar denominated securities would be worth less and the stock market would fall.
    One of his producers called me and wanted to know if I would like to “talk” to Cramer on his show, I told them I had no interest in being a prop so he could dismiss me with a few words.
    Yesterday I sent Cramer another e-mail pointing out my correct call and challenged his call for a market bottom.
    I don’t think I will get a call from his producer again.

  2. Anonymous

    Re: But why should the FT feel compelled to constantly scratch under the skin of capitalism (and prevailing politics) whilst the WSJ cheerleads

    >> Yes, WSJ on occasion finds a story or is pointed to one, thus Cramer-like connections are indicative of the depth of journalism there and the depth of the editors there, and the lack of "scratching around" there! IMHO, this subprime mess would be less of an issue if we had a free press in America, a press with balls versus political/shareholder connections. The obvious side-by-side comparison of real and honest efforts by FT provide daily evidence that WSJ is worthless in every regard!

  3. Tom Lindmark

    You have taken some undeserved hits for the subject matter you’ve chosen to write about. I don’t care for it, as it seems to run counter to the general theme of this blog, but in the final analysis it is your choice and I don’t have to read it.

    But, my God woman, would you please try and learn how to put together a simple english sentence. You seem compelled to write as if you were imitating an expected style rather than getting to the point.

    Remember, brevity is the soul of clarity.

  4. etc

    Perhaps The Economist’s libertarian bias can also be explained by having an aspirational readership.

    One thing about the WSJ that always annoyed me was their oft line that foreigners were investing in the US due to attractive returns. They persisted in this line even after private foreign demand for treasury and agency securities dried up, and was replaced by foreign CB purchases.

  5. David

    WSJ=Pravda of the West

    good for starting fires in a campground, but I prefer the NYTimes for that.

    A report that ends up as an op ed piece, by a guy named PETER L. BERNSTEIN was a Begging letter that the Fed Govt. should bail out the entire Housing (Financial) Industry saying that Fuel and Food were beyond help, but the precious Family Home was all important. I am thinking though why should we bail out upper income people who bought mansions and now are complaining that the overpriced value is falling? But then to let just artificially inflated prices for oil and food to go through the roof. Just dumping overpriced properties is never as bad as having All businesses sink due to fuel expenditures or having starvation (in the case of world wide food inflation). Seems like special pleading for the already well-off.

  6. Spectator

    This indictment applies to most of the US media, and is increasingly recognized. Bloggers are a much better source of critical analysis.

    Partisan polarization of the country is clearly a big factor here. Seems to color everything. Have to hope this can be reversed.

  7. Anonymous

    Not true about the FT, Cassandra.

    There is one systemic fault which underlies the whole system. The FT will never touch it.

    It’s the power of the monarchy

  8. Anonymous

    After the Fed action in September, and the ensuing Pavlovian rally, Cramer was all smiles and grins. His quote the day of the Fed cut and the big rally, “Ladies and gentlemen, the bull is BACK!!!”

    That everyone is giving Cramer credit for calling the crisis is nauseating. He’s a charlatan and contradicts himself so much that it’s easy to cherry-pick his correct calls. A few months ago he called a bottom in financials. A few weeks ago he said “Sell everything! Nothing’s working.” (Right before the big XLF rally) and now he’s called another bottom in financials.

    If the market heads back downwards he’ll point to his “Sell everything” column. Otherwise he’ll point to his bottom call.

    He’s a douche.

    Good post about the class differences in the WSJ and FT btw.

  9. Anonymous

    GDP Report is Good News; Deflator Critics are Wrong…s- deflator.html

    Some people (mentioned here, for example) are denigrating the GDP report, which appears to show a 1.9% rate of real growth, on the grounds that the deflator – used to convert from nominal GDP to real GDP – is artificially low because it doesn’t include imports (which have become more expensive, due primarily to changes in the price of one dark, viscous liquid that is included in their number).

  10. Anonymous

    “Where was he (and this refers to all Cramers and their mindless ilk) during the prior four years?”

    If memory serves correctly, Cramer was bragging (on YouTube no less) about how to manipulate stock prices and the stock market.

    The “Cramers” have always been hustlers. No integrity there.

  11. S

    Mnkeys respond when they are instructed to do so. Listen to what Cramer says in that rant. He says these guys call me every morning, the heads of major banks, and they (fed) have no idea what it is like out there. So wait, monkey is told by Fuld and his ilk that it is tough out there because of the cul de sac that these guys drove themselves into. Exactly what is so prescient about this? Cramer tells you in his rant that he is essentially parroting what someone told him who is directly vested in having the fed cut rates. Say again: monkey.

    WSJ is a complete rag. Tett was so on the mark for a year leading up to the CDO debacle, but she kind of dissapeared. Perhaps she was told to take it down a few levels by the monarchy. Tony Jacksonhowever has stayed the course.

  12. Independent Accountant

    I read the WSJ daily and have since 1974. That said, I have seen a significant deterioration in the quality of its reporting over the last three years. It puts too much effort into cheerleading government efforts as opposed to saying they are senseless. The WSJ also publishes too many senseless opinion pieces. To its credit, it will also publish letters dismantling some of the absurd op-eds it prints.

  13. bobby jones

    you gotta love “jim cramer’s bear stearn call:”

    and how he tried to “rewrite history.”

    I also remember crammer saying something like: “there are too many headlines out there and I don’t like it; that doesn’t give buyers confidence because they’re confused.”

    So it seems like Jim believes that media manipulation is more important than information.

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