Daily Show and Jim Cramer

Why is it that the Daily Show is the only media outlet calling out CNBC on its, how shall we put it politely, less than stellar moments?

I have to confess that Jon Stewart is much better than I realized (and I already had a high opinion of him, but I make a point of not watching TV and thus from time to time catch him on the Internet). Some of his comments and queries are wonderfully pointed and sophisticated.

As much as I enjoy his monologues, interviews are much tougher. In the first clip, there’s a little friendly jousting with Cramer. In the second, he zeros in one a truly stunning (at the time) admission Cramer made that created a bit of frisson and then faded fast (ahem, I’m sure this sort of chicanery is every bit as common as Cramer suggests, but no one in the media chose to follow up).

Hat tips to readers Carrick and John:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. joe c

    Yes, indeed, what does it say when the fool is the only one speaking the truth, well if you’re in a Shakespeare play, it means a whole lot of dead bodies to come.

  2. Anonymous

    How can it not be disappointing to watch an interview like this and realize that almost no TV “journalist” can conduct an interview as well as an “anchor” on comedy central? You would think that there would be a place for serious journalism on TV, but there isn’t, because the interviewers depend on the interviewees for ratings and thus cannot offend them, either with contrary opinions or inconvenient facts. It is the age-old journalism conundrum about both access to, and capture by, your subjects, just magnified by what Nixon well found out as the incredible power of moving images in politics. The only way to sneak serious journalism onto TV is to drape it in comedy…maybe like the King’s jesters of yore?

    I wish Cramer had defended himself better (he was terrible at spinning the questions to answers he should have focused on…like “CNBC is entertainment” and “it is there for the advertisers”), but it was still a fascinating interview.

  3. Anonymous

    Cramer vs. Stewart. I’m not sure why anyone would rely on any tv show to learn about the economy or make any serious decision. Is Stewart seriously suggesting that America followed Cramer and company over a cliff? Last time I checked Americans voted for the candidate who promised 95% of Americans would receive a tax-cut, a candidate Stewart promoted to the hilt. The buck stops where?

  4. Anonymous

    god damn it, stop pointing out cramer is always wrong!!!

    i’ve made a fortune from the cramer indicator, where i do the opposite of what cramer says.

  5. Anonymous

    I’m not sure why anyone would rely on any tv show to learn about the economy or make any serious decision.

    If you had to deal with right-wing republicans in the same numbers that I do, you would know the answer to this statement. I’m not opposed to seeing them flushing their money down the toilet though.

  6. Max Leverage

    It’s not as simple as “CNBC screws investors”…

    Tax benefits and public/private pension funds have driven lots of middle-class dollars into the capital markets, an avalanche of billions$ that must be put somewhere every month. A percentage of that sloshes into the stock market. It’s a robot bid, and there’s an industry built around gaming that robot bid.

    When CNBC eggs invididual traders into buying or selling stocks, that’s part of what goes into playing the system. Usually they’re urging people to buy. That drives stock prices up, taking money away from the robot bid and therefore away from individuals who depend on the mutual funds and pension funding for their retirement.

    Short sellers are demonized but they’re really the middle-class’ best friend in this environment, they drive prices down to reasonable levels and let the robot bid get more for its money.

    It’s a complex of bad government policy, hapless fund managers, and the financial media that has coordinated to bring this mess about. Cramer’s a convenient scapegoat, like Madoff. Nobody wants to get to the roots of the issue.

  7. Anonymous

    Re: “I’m not sure why anyone would rely on any tv show to learn about the economy or make any serious decision.” Comments like this are infantile and counterproductive. It’s not really relevant why you’re not sure. It’s not really relevant if you think the world should operate in a different manner. It is as relevant as if you wished the sun rose in the West and set in the East. People *DO RELY* on TV shows for advice. What the hell does it matter if you’re not sure why they do? This is the same kind of thinking that prompts people to have utopian visions, either anarcho-capitalist (libertarian) or anarcho-communist. “Why shouldn’t people just get along without a heavily armed collective state to enforce rules and regulations of conduct?” “I’m not sure why the free market won’t work if everyone just tries a little harder.” Oy. Reality is what it is. Stop telling us you’re not sure why people do the stupid, counterproductive things they do. You live in a world where people do stupid, counterproductive things. Get over it.

  8. Bob_in_MA

    What I learned from watching that is that, ironically, the young people who get their news from a comedy channel are probably better informed than their elders watching network news.

    Barron’s did a piece where they looked at the performance of Cramer’s recommendations and found they were in fact shorting opportunities. I benefited from this Cramer effect several times, not that I shorted because of him, but the one-day bounce he created made for good short opportunities. He kept touting Downey Savings and Loan for some reason. A specialist in option ARMs. ;-)

  9. mxq

    whats interesting is that cramer is now simultaneously hated by the manipulators and the manipulatees (if thats a word)

    manipulators don’t like cramer because he points out the games operators play with futures and is calling for the reinstatement of the uptick rule; modifications of mk to mkt; regulation of cds; and shutting down 3x,2x leveraged etfs as they allow operators to skirt reg t requirements (i.e. use margin to write a call/put on a 3x levered etf…that’s a lot of leverage).

    Regardless of the opinion on the apparent virtues of those tools, he (and a few other writers on his website) frequently illustrate how those tools can be used to manipulate markets, to the detriment of individual investors.

    On the other hand, individual investors are now angry because he makes awful stock picks, especially when those picks are looked at in a vacuum. There are two sides to every “trade” – a buy and a sell – stewart only shows one side – the buy side – w/ the bear stears calls.

    What bugs me, though, is that stewart and/or cramer, could have harnessed that moment to illustrate (and to rip a page out of charlie ellis’ books) that investing is a lot like golf…good golfers, relative to the average hacker (me), hit fewer poor shots. In investing, its about making fewer bad calls rather than attempting to hit a bunch of multi-baggers.

    I don’t know where cramer goes from here, presumably being simultaneously loathed by individuals and professionals…but then again, thats how most view the entire cast cnbc clods!

  10. mmdonner

    speaking of interviews…don’t see any asking CLEARLY how it can be said that 50-64 BN was scammed by madoff and they cannot find it??

    can anyone tell me where it went? or are the numbers wrong…50 BN put in…some paid to earlier investors and the balance skimmed off?
    and IF there was never one investment made with any of the invested money did madoff create all those phoney trading slips himself by hand of what? who helped him create 700 boxes of phoney trade slips?
    who is the government protecting with the plea deal? was all the money spent by mr. Mad or given to some of his favorite charities for (isreal) or in swiss banks?
    will we ever know…

    no interviewers digging too deep on this one either..who is being protected and why?

  11. brushes9

    Great interview!

    CNBC can only get by with its lies, because society has much bigger liars that lead millions of people in their “investment” decisions. Of course, I am speaking about the filthy, anti-intellectual Christian-Taliban wing of the Republican Party. They are “filthy,” because they feed off the fear that they inspire in women and in little children.

    No matter how much cocaine CNBC executives snort, they will never mislead America as catastrophically as these un-taxed, pulpit-preaching, criminal, pedophile, wife-beating, Christian gangsters.

    Click “brushes9” to review Susan Jacoby’s book, “The Age of American Unreason,” on Amazon.

  12. Anonymous

    You live in a world where people do stupid, counterproductive things. Get over it.

    Or better yet, wise up, learn the patterns of the stupidity, and use your brain to figure out how to take the other side of those trades. Behavioral finance is a blast.

  13. Anonymous

    pump and dupe

    as artist Richard Serra put in a video back in the seventies:

    “Television delivers the people”

  14. Anonymous

    Just in:

    Evidence that a major crisis is about to break out.

    Canary in the coal mine just fell over:

    aka Lawrence Summers said:

    “Lawrence Summers, President Obama’s top economics adviser, said this morning that he saw early signs that the economic crisis was beginning to ease. But he emphasized that the crisis would not end anytime soon.”


    This is nearly as good as Jim Cramer calling the bottom.


  15. Eric L. Prentis

    Jim Cramer is a tool controlled by CNBC executives who push their advertisers’ stock hype and Wall Street propaganda at the expense of the investing public. Once the stock market goes into the toilet those screwed investors never return to the markets, but as P. T. Barnum says, “There’s a sucker born every minute,” and a new generation is ushered in to begin the process all over again. Corporate TV, radio and newspaper media are no better than CNBC, making Jon Stewart a standout at getting at the truth. This is why corporate media is going out of business, the public, for good reason, doesn’t trust them!

  16. Anonymous

    Cramer wasn’t being lambasted for his poor stock picks.. he was being lambasted for purporting to be an impartial informer, when he and CNBC are in fact using their platform to manipulate the market. This is the same argument against Fox and to a lesser degree MSNBC — they are making the news, rather than relaying it.

    The question is to whom the network is beholden — their advertisers, the parties they report on, or their viewers? If they are purporting to be journalists, or at least independent information providers, they are misrepresenting themselves. If they are actively using their platform to shape the market, thats verging on criminality.

  17. AM

    I don’t know when I’ve seen such obvious body language: boss Stewart confronting unsatisfactory employee who is being placatory and obsequious.

  18. Early Withdrawal

    I think John Stewart is definitely nailing the big issues here, however, at the same time I think he makes a mistake in trying to put some moral blame on what is ostensibly an info/propaganda network and hopelessly desires that network can be recrafted as legitimate. I was impressed by the book Amused To Death, which points out that our failing is not in that our news organizations have become fluffernutter, but that the society repeatedly fails to recognize them as such. Rather than try to make a goat a gazelle, we should just accept that it is a goat. John Stewart as the anchor of a show that is a parody of exactly this reality should know this better than anyone else. Perhaps his flaw is that he’s just cynical and not really a nihilist. His mother had no business accepting ‘invest long’ at face value. I think a lot of people who just pump a 401K really don’t want to have to think, they would rather blindly trust slogans like ‘x always goes up’ and spend their free time just watching fluffernutter.

    Oh – btw – Obama is talking school reform stuff recently. I think it is remarkable that 50 years into the mass adoption of television we still do not have any gradeschool level classes about “critical watching”. We have tons of courses on reading old english literature, but nothing about watching tv. If we want to make people smarter we might consider educating them about the activity they spend the most time of their life doing aside from sleep and work.

  19. Anonymous

    I know Jim Cramer makes mistakes,
    I even lost money from his picks.

    But no one in the world with his inside and experience tells the small guys like me what’s going on behind the big traders desk.

    I really think Jim Cramer is a national treasure…, I couldn’t find the truth without him…

  20. Carrick

    (cont’d from my Anon comment @ 2:40)

    What I wish Jon had followed through on, was drawing the line between Cramer’s fixation on himself and the short-term self-interest that broke the economy. Its the same mindset that has readers here fixated on Cramer’s bad stock picks, and has the Wall St crowd (Geitner included) incapable of coming to terms with this crisis and responding in a way that doesn’t jive with their SOP.

    CNBC is shackled by that same dogma, and instead of acting as a forum to hash out information and ideas, they just become an echo chamber that breeds herd mentality (especially in this fear-consumed environment.)

  21. mxq

    “Henry Blodget wrote about it about two years ago.”

    Henry Blodget is banned from the securities industry, presumably for his aggrandizement of untruths. What makes his opinion any better than Bernie Madoff’s?

  22. Anonymous

    Point of information:

    The book is “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.”

    “Amused To Death” is a Roger Water’s album.

  23. Anonymous

    “Henry Blodget is banned from the securities industry, presumably for his aggrandizement of untruths. What makes his opinion any better than Bernie Madoff’s?”

    I always see this knock on Henry Blodget. I think it’s a bogus ad hominem attack.

    Which is not to say that I necessarily think Blodget is a “good guy” or a consistent truth teller. I think there are a lot of shady characters in NYC, some of whom may merely be tinged grey and some who have serious blood on their hands.

    For example Eliot Spitzer has done at least one criminal thing and exposed some criminal things. I don’t discount the later just because of the former – although I do try to bear possible motives in mind, as best as I can as an outsider thousands of miles from Wall Street.

    I think you can learn a lot about how thieves work from thieves – they love to talk about it! I would read be happy to read a prospective book by Madoff on how he stole $50 billion and diverted it all to his sons with the aid and abbettance of the SEC, without leaving a trace that any journalist would dare touch. Or about the Russian mob’s connection to certain shady hedge funds. Or about naked short selling and the DTCC. I think “The Madoff Exception” would make a decent book title – or if he wanted to write a roman a clef, how about “If I Stole It”.

  24. Anonymous

    Cramer and the like should be drawing an audience with the strength of their insight, not using cheap entertainment gimmicks.

    Stewart is correct in his assertion that Wall St lures in money from less financially-literate people (by Cramer’s own admission in the second clip, he dresses up the show in funny noises and props to “draw in a younger audience that wouldn’t normally…”)

  25. ox

    Re Cramer: only idiots rely on stock tips. Jesse Livermore knew that, and he was born in the fucking 1870s, so NO ONE has an excuse. Everyone should know the big shots talk their position or peddle BS to the public for a hundred other reasons. Take Soros – show me the moron who acts on what that asshole says.

    btw Jon Stewart is full of shit. Fuck him forever.

  26. Waldo

    To a limited determinant the Efficient Market Hypothesis states that stock prices can not be continually predicted (information fully priced into the stock ) and this stock(s) is on a random walk. It see Cramer everyday trying to counter this logic (slippery slope).

    More to the point is the fresh (child like speak) truth being uttered on this powerful blog site and our justice system (father figure) continually ignoring truth’s persistence. This behavior if continued will do more than just destroy 401k’s.


    Who rides by night in the wind so wild?
    It is the father, with his child.
    The boy is safe in his father’s arm,
    He holds him tight, he keeps him warm.

    My son, what is it, why cover your face?
    Father, you see him, there in that place,
    The elfin king with his cloak and crown?
    It is only the mist rising up, my son.

    “Dear little child, will you come with me?
    Beautiful games I’ll play with thee;
    Bright are the flowers we’ll find on the shore,
    My mother has golden robes fullscore.”

    Father, O father, and did you not hear
    What the elf king breathed into my ear?
    Lie, quiet, my child, now never you mind:
    Dry leaves it was that click in the wind.

    “Come along now, you’re a fine little lad,
    My daughters will serve you, see you are glad;
    My daughters dance all night in a ring,
    They’ll cradle and dance you and lullaby sing.”

    Father, now look, in the gloom, do you see
    The elfin daughters beckon to me?
    My son, my son, I see it and say:
    Those old willows, they look so grey.

    “I love you, beguiled by your beauty I am,
    If you are unwilling I’ll force you to come!”
    Father, his fingers grip me, O
    The elfin king has hurt me so!

    Now struck with horror the father rides fast,
    His grasping child in his arm to the last,
    Home through thick and thin he sped:
    Locked in his arm, the child was dead.

    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    [Created circa 1786]

    [This poem is a derivative of Goethe’s original thought; translated from the German language to English]

  27. "Cassandra"


    Jon Stewart had some pretty awesome moments in the 12minute segment from the Daily Show, but the complete interview is much longer than 12minutes, and while good, the unedited interview is less punchy than 12minute BEST extracts. Having said that, there was uncomfortable unfunny earnestness in the entire interview that approximated the Tucker-Bergala showdown on Crossfire some years ago, where he slayed them both for the Greater Good. He (and the entire Daily Show team of writers and researchers deserve mondo credit for using their platform!!

  28. Jojo

    I enjoyed the show tremendously. Perhaps it will open some people’s eyes to the reality that CNBC exists for the benefit of its advertisers, NOT to dig heavily into the dirty laundry of the industry that feeds it. And don’t forget that Wall Street, taken as a whole, is a sales organization. Many of its workers are paid on commission and make more money when they successfully “sell” stocks and bonds.

    Don’t give all the credit for last nights show to Jon Stewart alone. Remember that he has a team of 20-30 writers who do the grunt work of finding the dirt and putting it together into something with meaning. Stewart understands the issues and excels in delivery but he had a lot of help in the background.

  29. Anonymous

    Lets all be honest.. if you “business” is to essentially make calls in a casino, then you are going to have rough moments. For college sports fans, its like taking clips of Lee Corso’s wrong picks on the big game. Frankly, its an easy business and its sad to watch so many people shocked by this. What don’t they run the clips on all of these “bottom callers” for the past 18 months? Cramer isn’t innocent, but he is hardly the first or the last. We love to be told predictions or make them ourselves, we just don’t like it when people remind of us of when we were wrong, only how great we are when we were right. Its the God Complex we all have.

  30. Anonymous

    Cramer’s been a clown for decades! Why the inquisition from Edward R. Murrow NOW? Obviously, it was not ‘in the public interest,’ rather it was because Cramer the clown began to attack “the chosen one” and Stewart went in for the kill. Had Cramerica simply not attacked ‘the chosen one’ he would never have had to undergo the inquisition. Truth to power, my ass. At long last, Mr. Cramer, have you no shame? Stewart is full himself; among other things.

    Let Cramer be a warning to all who might mock and question the teaching of Obama. You do you spell cult?

  31. Anonymous

    Reading these comments is an exercise in separating raisins from turds.

    On the raisin front we have Cassandra, Waldo et al bringing a bit of wit and personal view to the table.

    On the turd side we have OX:

    “”btw Jon Stewart is full of shit. Fuck him forever.””

    Have you actually read Reminiscences of a Stock Operator?

  32. brushes9

    AP article, Feb, 21, 2009

    James Galbraith discusses the stimulus and the possible need for a second stimulus. If we do need a second stimulus, how can it get past Congress, since the GOP is currently using the media to put blood in the water that “now is not the time to spend!” (No wonder Krugman is asking, “Can America be Saved?”).

    Galbraith implies that evil events will befall us soon, the political climate will change, and a new opportunity for progressives for the re-structuring of the economy will arise.

    Excerpt from Article:
    “A certain passage of time is going to be necessary now before the political climate catches up with the economic environment,” said James Galbraith, an economist at the University of Texas at Austin. “We just made what seems to many people to be a very large investment in reviving the economy.”

    Nonetheless, he said, the stimulus package probably will be too small to deal with the economy’s rapid decline.

    “If that’s the case,” Galbraith said, “there will be time to move larger measures that require more imagination and more initiative.”

    Click “brushes9” for the entire article.

  33. Anonymous

    So, does Stewart get the weekly truth to power award for the best mimicry of Edward R Morrow–or should Rachel or Keith Olberman get it.

    It must be lonely since the horror of W’s departure. For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud we have an elegant President; woe to any who might mock Obama’s ‘stimulus’ or tax increases on the rich on the cusp of the great depression part duex.

    Again, the context here is not Stewart’s faux outrage at booyah Cramerica. This you tube footage on him is in the public record. What raised young Stewart’s ire was Cramer’s dissent on Obama. Like a good stalinist, Cramerica will be airbrushed from CNBC soon. Who’s next? Buffet?Maybe Kudlow should be attacked for his prior coke use; after all, he’s been dyspeptic towards “the one” Mr. Obama.

  34. Anonymous

    Everyone is a lion in their own house (Cramer on Mad Money). But I never ever though a person like Cramer will go on Steward’s show like a mouse and, to say the least, come out like a totally humiliated mouse. There are moments when one is embarrassed for someone else and I had that moment when little Steward was screwing Cramer left, right and center. Poor guy did not give a satisfying answer to a single question. He was trying to blame it on the short sellers and people like Fuld and the Wachovia CEO. What did he expect… that Fuld will call him to his office and tell him that he (Fuld) screwed up. He should know better than that. Nothing can be trusted, esp. if it is coming from a CEO’s mouth.
    Anyway, Cramer is a fool and so is little dick for defending the morons who bought houses in hopes of becoming millionaire by 2010. Rick Sentallie is absolutely right in calling these people morons because that is what these people are.
    BTW what is Steward’s mother doing in stocks. Looking at Steward, and guessing his mom’s age, her portfolio should be totally in bonds.

  35. brushes9

    No, Anon 6:42, that honor goes to Frank Schaeffer:


    “You Republicans are the arsonists who burned down our national home. You combined the failed ideologies of the Religious Right, so-called free market deregulation and the Neoconservative love of war to light a fire that has consumed America…”

    “In the mid 1980s I left the Religious Right, after I realized just how very anti-American they are, (the theme I explore in my book Crazy For God). They wanted America to fail in order to prove they were right about America’s “moral decline.” Soon after McCain lost in 2000 I re-registered as an independent in disgust with W. Bush. But I still respected many Republicans. Not today.”

    Click “brushes9” for the link to the full article.

  36. Carrick

    I'm surprised to see the delusion here…

    Cramer got it for serving the advertisers & personal interests (among them, the ego lift his platform provides), rather than his viewership. That, and because Cramer went out of his way to make himself the focal point of DS' mockery by doing the morning tv rounds. He thought he could squelch some publicity, and he got it.. along with a rightful lashing.

    If you think this was a vindictive hit job by Stewart, you haven't watched DS the past two weeks (Obama was skewed on a few different issues). I think you also over estimate the Daily Show's staffs' viewership of Cramer's show. You don't have to be a regular viewer to recognize that the guy is irresponsible and disingenuous. Just like you didn't have to watch Crossfire to draw the same conclusions about Begala & Tucker.. or craft and execute a defrocking of them, as Stewart did.

    Comics are typically iconoclasts, especially NYC Daily Show writers. Political hit jobs go against their nature. Lazy mockery of power is a lot easier. Especially with characters like Cramer.

  37. Simon

    And now for some more shameless cheer leading. In Jon Stuart we trust.

    Jon Stuart for president?????!!!!

  38. Carrick


    Maybe not surprised.. but bummed and annoyed.

    On Anon 7:27’s comment:
    “Rick Sentallie is absolutely right in calling these people morons because that is what these people are.”

    You can blame ignorant desperate homeowners for signing doomed mortgages, for their personal turmoil. The lenders who offered the mortgages and repackaged them are to blame the market’s turmoil. Let’s be real here. They gave matches to the kids and the kids burnt their fingers, but parents knew better than to let kids play with matches.

    Even if Freddie/Fannie were scooping up market share, they didn’t have to make an ignorant choice as well. LBJ suggested we let Freddie/Fannie live in the red a bit, so we expected them to be bailed out occasionally. Did these other mortgage lenders expect a private bailout? Government? We’re they thinking, beyond getting rid of the hot potato? No? Then they’re guilty of the same incompetence as the bad mortgage takers.

    Santelli is right in predicting that good homeowners will be unhappy with seeing their irresponsible neighbors supported. He’s wrong and either deluded or at least being intellectually dishonest when he addresses the subject like an objective “dew-eyed innocent.” Maybe that exaggerated high-volume manufactured emotion is just what Wall St. culture breeds, but outside that isubculture it still smells like bullshit.

  39. Anonymous

    Simon, you know what they say about opening your mouth to advertise what a fool you are..

    Its “Stewart”… its written here probably 100 times, and even in the title of the show.

    You have proven yourself… got any stock tips? I bet your sharp as sponge.

  40. Anonymous

    Good God people, is this the level of intellectual rigor we’ve come to expect from the educated. While crucifying Cramer is honourable and well deserved, the only reason Stewart did it is because he had the nerve to attack The Messiah. We know that Stewart has a permanent “oral fixation” on The Messiah’s rumpus. If Stewart would be politically neutral and attack the bad from both sides, then he would deserve respect. This is simple partisan hackery and nothing more.

  41. brushes9

    Stewart’s complaint includes his angst, as an artist, that CNBC does not play the role of being the sober “eyes and ears” of the public, exposing the Weasels of Wall Street.

    But, CNBC would find truth-telling very expensive. It is much cheaper to peddle complete and total fabrications and then just laugh about it on comedy shows when you get caught.

  42. InsidePanther

    Whoa whoa whoa Yves. You make it a point not to watch TV, but you watch the TV show on the internet….?

    What is the point of that? TVs are not evil.

  43. bg

    I like cramer.

    So it was uncomfortable watching him take the shots for the entire corrupt industrial-financial complex. I was really really uncomfortable watching him be uncomfortable.

    He is trying to educate by being amusing by being a clown.

    John Stewart is trying to educate but shooting missiles while being amusing.

    Lightning round? Lightning rod.

    Cramer is hurting.

  44. Robato Kun

    Cramer and his crew are pump and dump scammers who use their show to make a killing playing on the collective stupidity of their audience.

    Cramer is an easy target. When Stewart starts directing his rage at Obama, Turbo Tim, and the rest of the Trilateral crew then we will know he has arrived.

    Republicans and Democrats are both working the same scam. There has been no free market since the Federal Reserve was created. One pump and dump after another, and here we are.

    Cramer is small potatoes, people.

  45. Dave Raithel

    I don’t mean to come across as a pedant, but after reading through the comments above, I’m not sure that everyone caught what I sure thought were Stewart’s most salient charges:

    1) Business journalists, in general, failed as journalists.

    2) These failures can realistically be explained in just so many ways, none of which excuse the journalists: At a minimum, any particular business journalist was “captured”, to borrow Buiter’s phrase, by the culture in which he or she was immersed; at the worst extreme, some journalists knew exactly how things were proceeding, and yet continued to report the same picture of matters as those “captured.”

    I don’t see how any rationalization or qualification offered on behalf of Cramer and CNBC, cudgeling those “foolish” taking tips from TV, etc., gets around the heart of that critique. One may challenge the very concept to which Stewart appeals as being jejeune – i.e., journalism is about reporting reality, and not selling spins about it – but that’s a whole different kind of argument. As the man said, they promote “Snake Oil Sold Here”, neither trust nor vitamin tonic.

    If one wants to dispute that there is any real difference between what CNBC or Bloomberg or (god help us) Velshi etc. does and The Daily Show, then I’ll offer one last consideration: MSM Business Journalism is more “bullshit”, in the sense that Harry Frankfurt analyzed it, than not. (Yves Smith did a post about Frankfurt’s work some months back.) To his credit, Stewart and the crew at the Daily Show have too much respect for Truth, as something real, to tell you bullshit and not say while doing it “Hey, this is some bullshit.”

    After seeing Cramer v. Stewart last night, and then seeing the Grover Norquist blow job on CSPAN this morning, I’ve got to say that Comedy Central is becoming my first choice for current events, cogent analysis, and bona fide interrogation.

    Better to die laughing than with a whimper, I suppose ….

  46. Yves Smith

    For the record, I don’t watch TV because it is much less efficient (you can read text faster than people speak).

    In addition. there is a lot of noise to signal For instance, It is well documented that people are more inclined to accept arguments from people who are attractive, hence the requirement that TV anchors and commentators be attractive, or at least not eyesores.

    In reading, you can also see more clearly how the argument was constructed and see gaps or misleading bits. In TV, unless you Tivo’d it, you can’t readily go back.

    I only watch Internet cliips (and then rarely) when there is no transcript and readers have said it is worth viewing.

  47. Anonymous

    The CNBC shills deserve to be called out. I only wish The Daily Show would run the clip of Maria Bartaromo defending 10’s-100’s millions of dollars exec pay packages by saying they put it back into the economy by tipping waiters at restaurants, buying boats and going on vacation. I was so mad I had steam coming out of my ears.

  48. Justin

    I’m probably incredibly naive, but I could swear that Jim Cramer actually had a modicum of honesty about him attempting to integrate more real journalism in the future. I’m hoping that he means he will take the message back to his bosses on CNBC rather than confine it to his show and be the agent of change.

    Everyone knows about the increased blending and non-differentiation of news and commentary on all news channels. I just wonder what we (the public) can do to give some push towards transparency to the proportion. Perhaps some sort of byline on the show “This is an entertainment show, we do not fact check”. Wrestling was forced to do something similar after getting sued on the grounds of fraudulently claiming to be a sporting event.

  49. Anonymous


    Thanks for the posting and being forthright in your responses to valid commenter points. You show commendable character in your writing and written interactions.

    As I read the comments and think about my personal 60-yr-old perspective in relation to others posting here I am encouraged by the growing discomfort with my fellow pond scum about the predicament we are facing.

    If I wasn’t so busy creating textual white noise on the internet I just might go out there and like, protest.


  50. susan

    I am amazed that people feel the need to defend Jim Cramer, defend Jon Stewart or, similarly, attack either of them.
    This as not about Cramer. Stewart made that clear. And those who are angry about Stewart’s calling out of CNBC and chalk it up to an Obama fixation aren’t catching on – Stewart is calling out the media. It’s what he’s always done.
    He did it with CNN’s “Crossfire”. He was right then, too. His argument isn’t with their agenda, though he clearly has a bias toward the liberals. His argument is the fact that they HAVE an agenda. That’s not what journalism is supposed to be, yet no media outlet will admit that it has a bias.
    It doesn’t take much to figure out who has what bias…MSNBC, Fox and Lou Dobbs wear their agendas on their sleeves.
    And yet we’re told they’re giving us “news”…not “opinion”.
    Stewart, bless the man, takes on all the “journalists” who don’t do what they’re supposed to do.
    He has been pleading, and I think sincerely, for someone, anyone in the media to do what he’s doing – look behind the bill of goods we’re told, check the facts and try to get at the truth.
    He’s asking where the objective journalists have gone!
    Doesn’t it strike any of you as very, very sad that the best media watchdog in this country right now is a comedian?
    Thankfully, he’s a damned smart comedian. He’s carrying the load for every lame, corporate controlled media outlet out there.

  51. Anonymous

    Financial commentators should address the ‘elephants in the room’… such as this critical point by Richard Russell…

    I promise to pay the bearerArchive for the ‘Richard Russell’ Category
    “I still can’t get over the whole Federal Reserve racket.”
    by Richard Russell

    Consider the following – – let’s take a situation where the U.S. government needs money. The U.S. doesn’t just issue United States Notes, which, of course it could. These notes would be dollars backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. No, the U.S. doesn’t issue dollars straight out of the U.S. Treasury.

    This is what the U.S. does – – it issues Treasury Bonds. The U.S. then sells these bonds to the Fed. The Fed buys the bonds. Wait, how does the Fed pay for the bonds? The Fed simply creates money “out of thin air” (book-keeping entry) with which it buys the bonds. The money that the Fed creates from nowhere then goes to the U.S. The Fed holds the U.S. bonds, and the unbelievable irony is that the U.S. then pays interest on the very bonds that the U.S. itself issued. (With great profit to the private owners of The Fed – – Ed. Note) The mind boggles.

    The damnable result is that the Fed effectively controls the U.S. money supply. The Fed is …not even a branch of the U.S. government. The Fed is not mentioned in the Constitution of the United States. No Constitutional amendment was ever created or voted on to accept the Fed. The Constitutionality of the Federal Reserve has never come before the Supreme Court. The Fed is a private bank that keeps the U.S. forever in debt – – or I should say in increasing debt along with ever rising interest payments.

    How did the Fed get away with this outrage? A tiny secretive group of bankers sneaked through a bill in 1913 at a time when many in Congress were absent. Those who were there and voted for the bill didn’t realize (as so often happens) what they were voting for (shades of the shameful 2002 vote to hand over to President Bush the power to decide on war with Iraq).”

    Richard Russell, “Richards Remarks,” dowtheoryletters.com, March 27 2007

  52. Jojo

    @Susan said – He has been pleading, and I think sincerely, for someone, anyone in the media to do what he’s doing – look behind the bill of goods we’re told, check the facts and try to get at the truth.
    He’s asking where the objective journalists have gone!
    Doesn’t it strike any of you as very, very sad that the best media watchdog in this country right now is a comedian?

    Journalists report to bosses and no one’s boss is going to risk letting someone speak honestly and piss off all their sponsors/advertisers! Journalism is a business and advertising is the product. Content is something that fits between the advertising and tries to keep people tuned in so the eyeball count stays steady or increases. That is why all the objective reporting these days comes from blogs.

    I though Stewart did a good job of representing the frustrations the average person has with the financial industry but realistically, his admonishments will be forgotten in a couple of days and it will be back to business as usual.

    There’s a good write-up from the AP on the Huffington Post at the link below and also a lot of interesting commentary in the bloggers featured at the end of the story:


  53. Anonymous

    The comments about Stewart skewing Cramer as a vindictive hit job for defying Obama….. I think you SERIOUSLY overestimate the Daily Show’s interest in /tolerance for CNBC….

    You need only watch a few seconds of CNBC for your bullshit radar to direct you elsewhere. When Santelli and the WH thing popped up, they covered it, then probably stuck an intern on calling a few NYC finance bloggers or journalists to get an off-hand list of embarrassing calls by CNBC — that’s assuming their Cramer band-calls montage wasn’t already a YouTube video they stumbled upon.

    Get real here. Daily Show writers are comedians, not journalists and they don’t go out of their way for ANYTHING. Santelli and the WH were in the news, they already had egg on their face, and strutted their way into an embarrassing lashing.

    Outside the obsessive juvenile world of Wall St culture, people wield actual power (intellectual and moral)… step outside of the locker room and try to front, and you’re going to get laughed into place.

  54. Yves Smith


    The frequency of your use of comments for self promotion is way too frequent. I’ve tolerated it only because they appear to be topical, but unless you rein it in, I will delete offending comments and block your IP address.

  55. Anonymous

    Anon 12:13,
    The Fed – represented by mr Ben S Bernanke can be characterized as “I print therefore I am”.
    Printing is what bankers do, it’s called credit or US$ – well that doesn’t matter.
    That is the nature of fiat money. But then people generally were mislead into believing that the green-paper is somehow of a different nature than the numbers written in the banks called credit.

    What is backing those value ? Your work. That’s the view behind 20-th centuries communists’ revolution.
    You’re robbed by the rich capitalists (aka banksters)

    Communism failed, because as soon as the so-called communists reach power, most of them behaved badly, thinking they were the winners and the capitalists has lost. They’re the pigs in 1984.

    After the collapse of the USSR, the USA behaved exactly the same: invaded Afghanistan(for U238) and more stupidly Irak (for oil and Israel – homeland of most of the banksters).

    Everybody knows the fight was fixed
    The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
    That’s how it goes
    Everybody knows
    Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
    Everybody knows that the captain lied
    Everybody got this broken feeling
    Like their father or their dog just died

    How it goes, everybody knows.

  56. Anonymous

    @ Justin:

    I’m probably incredibly naive, but I could swear that Tim Geithner actually had a modicum of honesty about his attempt to integrate more real accountability for the banking industry in the future. I’m hoping that he means he will take the message back to his bosses in the White House rather than confine it to press conferences and be the agent of change.

  57. Anonymous

    How can anyone watch those clips and not be completely convinced that Cramer is a complete sociopath.

    He seems to have been issued orders to apologize. He doesn’t do that nearly as effectively as he would in touting a stock.

    Even in apologizing, he is not. He offers the apology, then explains it.

    Yes, he knows where he is. He knows he has been bad. And he still offers opinion.

    If he were in any other “industry” he would be in jail. Jails are full of people who are a lot better at that act than he is.

  58. Daniel

    Let’s change the system.

    If the media system relies on profits, which puts it squarely on top of a conflict of interest (don’t bite the hand that feeds you) then why not set up a non-profit news agency?

    Change the master, and you’ll hear a different tune.

    We have non-profits for all kinds of stuff, why not for something as important to the health of a society as the news, or a body of individuals that checks the power brokers.

    Let’s start a non-profit news station, call it the people’s news.

  59. Anonymous

    Susan said…

    This as not about Cramer. Stewart made that clear. And those who are angry about Stewart’s calling out of CNBC and chalk it up to an Obama fixation aren’t catching on – Stewart is calling out the media. It’s what he’s always done.

    He’s asking where the objective journalists have gone!

    Probably partly true. He would not be “calling out” anybody if they were mocking or attacking a conservative politician or stance. Once he sheds his ultra-left bias, he may deserve your praise. Until then, he is a shill of the left and an Obama sycophant which HE proudly wears on his sleeve.

  60. Eric

    “speaking of interviews…don’t see any asking CLEARLY how it can be said that 50-64 BN was scammed by madoff and they cannot find it??

    can anyone tell me where it went? or are the numbers wrong…50 BN put in…some paid to earlier investors and the balance skimmed off?”

    50 billion of actual cash money didn’t vaporize. Some of that was money that never ever existed.

    Let’s say you put $1,000,000 in Madoff’s fund in 1990. You have other income, so you never take any out. He returns 10%/year.

    After 18 years, your investment is worth 5.55 million. He’s arrested, your investment is worth $0.

    How much did he steal?

    You can say you lost “5.55 million”, but he only stole 1.

  61. datadave

    Cramer and Stewart are both ‘entertainers’. Good ones! I like them both. Other than Suze Ormand, who’s been ok, although a bit conservative imo about advice, Cramer is not as bad as the rest of CNBC which has been touting Lower Capital Gain taxes as the Balm of Life and buy more, buy more stocks as nostrums. Cramer’s actually on top of a few things when he advised people Not to buy equities 5 mo.s back and then day after day ignores his advise and gives his viewers ‘cocaine and hookers’ (as Jon calls it).

    All in all, Cramer’s advice has been bad on individual stocks. He’s just entertainment…and most brokers have been just as bad…but Cramer is free advice and that’s what you get for nothing.

    btw, I’ve heard Jon Stewart is a ‘libertarian’ not a ‘leftist’..it’s just that conservatives have made such a muck of the economy, we’re (if intelligent) all “leftists” now if we disagree with the Larry Kudlow’s of the world. (He’s a truly egregious piece of !!!! at CNBC IMO.)

  62. Anonymous

    btw, I’ve heard Jon Stewart is a ‘libertarian’ not a ‘leftist’..it’s just that conservatives have made such a muck of the economy, we’re (if intelligent) all “leftists” now if we disagree with the Larry Kudlow’s of the world.


    Stewart is as much a Libertarian as I am a member of the Taliban for Jesus movement. Forget the words gushing out of their mouths and look at their actions. That is the real them. CNBC is a waste and has been from its inception. Stewart is an ultra left liberal shill. Sure he is smart, though I cannot stomach his political slant in his show to watch it for even a few seconds. Colbert, though just as much a liberal, is more palatable and more clever in his mocking of the right.

  63. Anonymous

    Another point regarding Stewart being an “entertainer”. Many people view him as a news source, namely my brother in law. I nearly died laughing when I asked him 6-12 months ago what he uses for his news source after he was finished lambasting Fox News and he said “The Daily Show”. LOL

    I’m not advocating Fox, as they are the other side of the same coin, however the Daily Show as a source for current event political news??? I’m positive he is not alone in that thinking.

  64. Anonymous

    Stewart reveals his idealism through his cynicism. But it’s dew eyed idealism dressed in cynical drag.

    Journalists have to eat, too.

    I think it’s puerile to fantasize about a lovely utopia where shining armored journalists “expose” the mortal among us.

    Its the worst of the far left liberal’s “eat your vegetables, or else” which in so many uncomfortable ways mirrors the far right’s “worship a christian god, or else” rigidity as to be the same side of the same coin.

    I worked at a rating agency. The stink was suffocating, and pointing it out earned me the door. And this was a “high minded” arbiter of safety and risk. Yes, there were/are conflicts of interest (as with journalists, which, btw, is the legal theory that saves the ass of the agencies from their own negligence!), but so far, no one sees a workable solution. Save your suggestions to make the “user” pay: smart guys/gals (possible analysts) gravitate towards proportional compensation – the SEC was a “user pays” model, and look where that left the Madoff investors. Even with more compensation, there are holes in any purported “net” that depends on a few to act as agents of the many (the many having such varied interests as to make it inevitable that someone’s interests will be missed). By early 2007, the job had become a farce: imagine the “I love Lucy” scene with the conveyor belt of chocolates getting faster and faster… but make the machine nuclear powered, and tie one of Lucy’s hands behind her back – no amount of compensation would have saved the day. And “aligning risk and reward” is a great theory, but when risk is measured in 12-30 year increments (tenor of the rated product), tends to screw up the ability to align.

    Stone throwing is easy: but building a better glass house is hard.

    Cramer may be two faced (the “sober” analyst admitting to sketchy shorting and manipulative practices and the “BUY BUY BUY” entertainer), but absent the crisis, had Stewart made these criticisms mid 2006 he (JS) would be labelled a crank, picking nits with Cramer’s “edutainment”.

    Finally, check out the blog CXO Advisory Group previously noted by Yves (http://www.cxoadvisory.com). They have backtested the “gurus” and have long exposed the weak performance of Cramer (and others) in making market calls. The point is not that Cramer’s success rate is less than 50%… it’s that MOST prognosticators success rate is less than 50%. You can paranoiacally claim that they were ALL pump and dumpers, and therefore touting names they “knew” were going down, but that’s so much hogwash. Cramer is perhaps the face of the failure of “advisors”, but fault is hardly personal.

    Stewart is tilting at windmills. He is blaming Cramer and CNBC for not being the Newshour. His invective would be less entertaining if he were to attack the Newshour, but where’s the fun in that?

    R in NY

  65. Anonymous

    It’s important to note TDS’s bizarre, unyielding allegiance to Obama (thus far). The motive for the spat with CNBC was Santelli’s rant against the “plan” for US homeowners.
    That said, I still enjoy the show as a warmup for Colbert. TDS’ coverage of the “monkey bite law” debate at the Capitol was priceless.

  66. susan

    From “anonymous”:

    “Stewart reveals his idealism through his cynicism. But it’s dew eyed idealism dressed in cynical drag.

    Journalists have to eat, too.

    I think it’s puerile to fantasize about a lovely utopia where shining armored journalists “expose” the mortal among us.”

    That may be the saddest thing I read here. Good old fashioned, “take on anybody” journalism is now considered a “puerile fantasy?”

    Objective, investigative journalism has to be sacrificed for the sake of a paycheck? That, in my opinion, paves the way for abuses of power that I shudder to contemplate.

    Is that the legacy of the Bush Administration – that we are so used to swallowing whatever is put in our mouths that to imagine examining it first and maybe even refusing to eat it is seen as unrealistic idealism?

    Edward R. Murrow’s brand of journalism (yes, it existed and it took on McCarthyism – remember?), in that case, is well and truly dead.

    The role of journalism is not to tell us what we want to hear. It is to tell us what is true. It was our role to then determine our opinion, not spit back someone else’s opinion.

    And it is true that blogs are taking up some of the slack in the factfinding vaccuum. But those blogs compound the difficulty in getting to the truth as they are not backed, with the exception of large sites a la Huffington, with any sense of confidence in accuracy. That was why newspapers and broadcast media were seen as authoritative – the public trusted that biased reporters would get the boot.

    No more. Now John Stossel spouts his personal opinions on Fox, Lou Dobbs rants against illegal aliens on a nightly basis, and I can’t think of a single unbiased person on MSNBC. The few corporations that own the majority of news outlets – print and broadcast – don’t tilt at windmills because that scares away advertisers.

    But that’s what journalists were supposed to do – they tilt at windmills. They’re supposed to offer us all the information. And we’re supposed to do the thinking.

    Perhaps it’s too idealistic to believe we can think anymore.

  67. InsidePanther

    Thanks Yves. I thought you were on some anti-TV crazy thing. What you said makes sense.

  68. Anonymous

    Susan, be consistent, will you? You cannot invoke ire at journalism and use Stewart as your example of what “real journalism” should be like because he cares or some such thing. He is BIASED and is an Obama sycophant, hence his attack on CNBC. Get it now?

  69. Richard Smith

    Anonymous 2:27, if you’re the same guy as Anonymous 8:40, you may be the one who doesn’t get it. The point you don’t seem to grasp is that Stewart’s motives for his attack on CNBC have no bearing on the substance of that attack.

    Do you agree? If you don’t agree, can you explain why not?

  70. Anon123

    I am the 8:40 Anonymous and of course they (his motives) DO have a bearing on the attack.

    The 8:40 statement seems to be clear wrt my thoughts. Stewart does not deserve praise because his attacks are not altruistic, but are due to his undying devotion to the Messiah, period. Big deal he attacks CNBC because they had the nerve to criticize Obama. To me, while his critique is true, it’s nearly worthless because it never would have been levied if CNBC was attacking Bush, for example. If they had done that, he would have jumped on CNBC’s bandwagon and bashed Bush with nary a mention of CNBC’s bullcrap journalism.

    What is it that you do not understand?

  71. Yves Smith


    With all due respect, you are revealing considerable ignorance. I suggest you Google “ad hominem attack” and then we might be able to have an intelligent discussion.

    An ad hominem attack is a well known logical fallacy and is PRECISELY the sort of argument you are making. This is why Richard is so perplexed that you don’t understand what he is saying.

    Merely accusing someone of bias is NOT a valid argument. You need to attack the argument, not the person. Unless you can demonstrate that the way Stewart conducted the interview with Cramer was somehow unfair or presented inaccurate information, the charge of bias is irrelevant.

    See this example. It tracks well with your line of argument above.

  72. Robato Kun

    For the doubting anon who thinks that pump and dump is only in the minds of the tinfoil wearing paranoids.

    It’s simple. Cramer touts a stock that is not really all that. His intellectually challenged viewers buy it up forcing price up. His minions short sell the stock prior to it’s inevitable drop back to reality. Usually goosed by some sort of “new information” Cramer introduces in a way as to cause some doubt. DO YOU WATCH THE SHOW?

    Come on, people. The real delusional people are the ones who don’t see the fix.

  73. Anon123


    With all due respect as well, I know what an ad hominem is. My only point is that *I*, as in Anon123, am not willing to give Stewart the fawning praise that some others here are willing to do. I have stated above that Stewart is smart and his arguments against CNBC and Cramer are absolutely valid. I think, and deep down know because I have seen his show enough times, he is doing it for ulterior motives, consciously or not. Those motives being his weird obsession to protect the image of Obama. I do not think he is doing it for the honor of hard hitting, investigative journalism.

    So of course I’m attacking Stewart and his motives, but NOT his argument. His argument is 100% spot on.

  74. Richard Smith


    You acknowledge the accuracy, relevance and rigour of Stewart’s attack (achieved, you think, in the teeth of goodness knows what biases), but you don’t think these are good reasons to praise him.

    I’ll have to sleep on that one.

  75. Salmon

    BTW, What’s up with rolled-up sleeves?

    Next: Would love to see Stewart interview Robert Rubin. Talk about criminal.

  76. Anonymous

    @Anon123, said…Those motives being his weird obsession to protect the image of Obama….

    I think, I can hear your Master Rupert calling for his towel. Oh with the seafood talk, hes not ordering, just sayin he likes everything on the menu, including you, to sate his desires. Literal and non-literal translations apply.

    My view to this post, is the capture, reduction and pre-mastication of information via MSM, to branded consumers. (lov the fact ppl don't make the connection to "cattle branding" MOOO Brothers & Sisters.

    The fact, that cutting editorial in and of MSM, of the comic form, is telling in its own right, (the M. Moore conundrum, I decry the madmen in their personal forum, because they make money off me).

    Their is an illusion of a_golden age_in media, yes at times people took great risk with their fortunes and decried madmen. Some were victorious whilst others had long prison terms, reduction of status or their head hit the floor.

    Can we agree, that in the last 8 years a "final solution" to any kind of rational information out of MSM was nearly complete. Obama love vs Bush neocon love lol, which would be better, hell Obama is and will be handicapped for years. Would have liked to see Bush have such a start, it would have been WWIII after a time (everything is someone elses fault, so lets go kill them).

    Obama is just looking for better balanced playing field. If you wish to slam Obama lov via the daily show, try reconciling with your previous masters action in this regard first. I myself have no love for politicians or soothsayers, just hope they don't get us all killed for their profit.

    Grosse Pointe…the day IBs became more important than citizens, is the day we were diminished as a nation.

  77. sammy

    CNBC tries hard to get balance on topical issues, and thus has become the main business channel, bar none

  78. Anonymous

    Anon 23 clearly has a weird concept of what a sycophant is. Anybody who actually watches The Daily Show consistently would notice that Democrats and even the “messiah” are not immune to mockery. Stewart, despite his liberal bias has actually done a better job of drawing humor from the Obama phenomena than Fox’s pathetically short lived conservative Daily Show clone.

    Having a liberal perspective and being generally supportive of Obama does not make Stewart a sycophant. The fact that Anon 23 characterizes people this way tells us more about his own biases than those of Jon Stewart.

  79. Anon123

    To Anonymous March 15, 2009 5:27 AM,

    In other words, Stewart is A-OK and I should believe you and disregard my lying, and apparently “biased” eyes and ears. Your comment is a glaring example of the intolerant left’s ideology that some opinions are “just not correct”. As if I need to conform to the group think and fawn over Stewart. I don’t. As if you’ve made some point with your faux dichotomy of Stewart is better than Fox. You haven’t as I have never made that claim nor intend to do so. As a matter of fact, I stated above I do not advocate Fox as it is the other side of the same coin. That being, biased reporting isn’t worth squat. Yet, here you are chirping on about Fox.

    I’ve also stated that I find Colbert a better and more palatable liberal entertainer than Stewart due to his presentation. Did you miss that? I am not even going to attempt to show how Stewart is a sycophant as that would be beyond your scope of comprehension considering the mindset you already have entering this comment thread.

  80. Anon123


    You acknowledge the accuracy, relevance and rigour of Stewart’s attack (achieved, you think, in the teeth of goodness knows what biases), but you don’t think these are good reasons to praise him.

    Correct. I’m sure you can think of examples where one good deed by an individual does not absolve previous not so good deeds. Well, that is the category that I place Stewart in. If he tempers his, what appears to be bitterness, he would be better. I again use Colbert as a comparison. He is just as liberal in his beliefs, and maybe more so, though comes off much less hostile.

Comments are closed.