Stewart and Cramer – pwnage on Brawl Street

13 Mar


You have to sit through a 2:30 minute ad for some movie, but at least Hulu doesn’t chop the show up into separate segments like Comedy Central does.

24 Responses to “Stewart and Cramer – pwnage on Brawl Street”

  1. Derek J. Punaro March 13, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    I used to watch Cramer’s show on a regular basis until I realized that it didn’t improve my ability to trade stocks at all. It did, however, teach me a few things about investing and the stock market that I didn’t previously understand, and that’s not a bad thing.

    My real problem with this whole Stewart vs. Cramer thing is you have a guy who anchors a news comedy show calling out a guy who anchors a business entertainment show. Anything said on either one of their shows should be taken with a grain of salt. Cramer’s not a news reporter, so why hold him to that standard?

    Now, Stewart is also trying to hold CNBC as a network to that standard, but what network these days provides 100% neutral reporting-only content? None of them. People need to learn to separate news from entertainment/opinion and not rely on a single source for all their information.

    Frankly, I could easily see Cramer’s show running on Comedy Central as easily as it does on CNBC. So to have Stewart calling out Cramer just seems a bit odd.

  2. Ike March 13, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    John STewart is annoying because if cramer came prepared to fight, and had a bunch of talking points to nail stewart to, stewart would retreat into his “this is just a comedy show” shell and try to slide by without having to answer them

    That “just a comedy show” bit is completely disingenous, while it is a comedy show, he obviously has an agenda…one he should be more prepared to defend when called out on

  3. Ben McD March 13, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Ike is spot on. I remember feeling that way when Stewart was on crossfire. He does like to take people to task for being irresponsible with their shows, but then uses his show to promote his own political beliefs. I do find him funny, but also disingenuous as Ike said.

  4. Mike Walsh March 13, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    “People need to learn to separate news from entertainment/opinion and not rely on a single source for all their information.”

    Exactly right and that’s not an easy task anymore as most programs are a mashup of all three now. Throw in a bit of fear mongering and sensationalism and you have a completely confused population. But, they do achieve their prime motive which is to get eyeballs to advertisements.

  5. Jon Splett March 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm #

    It’s not Stewart’s fault comedy has a well known liberal bias.

    When Dennis Miller and Larry the Cable Guy are the standard bearers for red state comedy, you know it’s pretty bad.

    Fox News tried to run some Daily Show rip off with a conservative slant. It lasted a month.

  6. Christopher Smith March 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    So, Cramer is just entertainment and no one should take him seriously? Mmmmmkay.

    Also, the interview talked about the issue of media complicity in creating this crisis. It wasn’t specifically about Cramer and Cramer copped to the fact that CNBC should do more than fawn at the feet of CEO’s and do some fucking research and, ya know, journalism.

    The role that Jon Stewart is now playing as a media watchdog is accidental and I think he’s starting to embrace the role. Someone needs to do it.

    I think Sullivan was spot on in his analysis.

  7. Ben McD March 13, 2009 at 1:53 pm #

    Stewarts problem is that he is part of the media, yet claims separation from it. He calls other people party hacks who are hurting the country while he does the exact same thing then hides behind the veil of comedy.

  8. Derek J. Punaro March 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm #

    Yeah, sorry, but I don’t elevate Jon Stewart to such a lofty position. Financial “news” is a small part reporting of facts, and a large party hypothesizing about what actually caused those facts to come about. Financial markets are so complex that the best these people can do is guess why they’re working the way they’re working.

    As it was said above, Stewart is part of the media. Was he reporting on any of these issues over the years, or did he just wait like everyone else until the whole thing blew up to play the blame game like everyone else? When these issues were brought to light years ago in the MSM by the likes of Peter Schiff, those warnings were dismissed and laughed off by everyone else in the media.

    The problem is that Stewart, like every other person in the world, has great hindsight and not very good foresight. There aren’t many people willing to put their reputations on the line by predicting the future. So it’s easy for people like Sullivan to say that more people should be calling out the mistakes of others when they’re not putting themselves in the same position.

  9. RaChaCha March 13, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I caught this last night, and thought it was one of the most remarkable media moments I’ve seen so far this year — aside from the coverage of the air disaster. A couple of times I thought I heard Cramer’s voice getting ready to crack. It was sort of like a guy in the middle ages being dragged before the inquisitor, ready to grovel and say anything just to avoid going back to the dungeon or worse.

    It’s hard to know where to stand about Jon Stewart’s position in all this. Clearly he holds enormous sway — the fallout from the Crossfire situation gave a glimpse, and now this lights it up in Technicolor. Yet on the other hand, say what you will or draw whatever comparisons, his show appears on a network called “Comedy Central.”

    All in all, I find myself agreeing with what Geek wrote above: the Stewart role is accidental, he’s embraced it, and U BET someone needs to do it. No doubt a lot of people will be triangulating around Stewart in the aftermath of this — it will be interesting to see where this goes.

  10. Russell March 13, 2009 at 2:27 pm #

    Chris, I don’t think Cramer is actually a journalist and I didn’t hear him say he should do more journalism, but I might have missed that. He’s a financial analyst. His job revolves around research. Sure, he probably missed some things, but there are plenty of other things he did catch. Even the Oracle of Omaha admitted to making some mistakes this year, to the tune of billions of dollars, and he’s widely considered the best.

    And for something that wasn’t specifically about Cramer, Stewart sure made very personal.

  11. The Humanist March 13, 2009 at 2:29 pm #


    Holy Christ….so a self-proclaimed “expert” on the market, a man whose ego compels his network to promote him as “In Cramer We Trust,” should not be held accountable for being totally fucking wrong? What is this….the Bush administration?

    I think the real outrage is that it takes a comedian to call out these media whores on a consistent basis.

  12. pirate's code March 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm #

    It would be a bit easier to give this any weight had it been strictly comedy, or strictly an interview…but it was neither. It ended up, mostly, being Stewart lecturing Cramer. Not that Stewart isn’t entitled to his opinions, but the whole thing seemed misplaced. Maybe that’s why Stewart, at the end of the show, said something like “I hope this was as uncomfortable to watch as it was to do.”

    I would have liked to have heard more from Cramer — not sure he had a whole lot more to say, but we’ll never know because, frankly, Stewart gave him little opportunity to answer even the most basic questions.

    I agree that Cramer is not a journalist, but a self-professed Wall Street expert ought to be able to see through the Wall Street bullshit. But Stewart isn’t a journalist, either. If he wants to cross into that, he needs to stop the “don’t take this personally, guest, but f*ck you.”

  13. Denizen March 13, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    Actually Cramer’s formal training is that of a journalist. He was editor of the Harvard Crimson in his undergrad years and went on to be a beat reporter for a few years before he ended up going to law school and subsequently a stock broker.

  14. Chris Smith March 13, 2009 at 8:37 pm #

    @10, I said that: CNBC should do more than fawn at the feet of CEO’s and do some fucking research and, ya know, journalism.

    I didn’t say that Cramer was a journalist although one can certainly make a claim that having a sizable ownership stake in one of the largest financial news websites in the world ( might make him a “journalist” in some sense of the world.

    The original rant that Stewart went on had to do with the irrational exuberance of the whole network, which is a valid critique. Cramer ended up getting sucked in as he was the lead clown of the network.

  15. Chris Smith March 13, 2009 at 8:47 pm #

    Two other things…

    1.) Not enough credit has been given to Cramer for engaging the discussion. The web has been filled with headlines like Alan’s, but at its very core, this interview was good for America. We need more interviews like this where there is honesty and clarity on both sides of the table.

    2.) Hopefully, people will start watching Bloomberg for their financial news instead of the traveling dog and pony rodeo show of the CNBC asshats.

  16. joe schmidbauer March 14, 2009 at 8:06 am #

    Stewart crossed the line. This was not comedy. It was a hard critique of mainstream corporate media that is rarely seen (except Bill Moyers), Cramer and MSNBC were just the fall guys. He took the mask off corporate media as well as his own. In the past this has been a suicidial act.

    It will be interesting to see if Stewart will go the way of the Smothers Brothers, who crossed the magical line in 1968.
    Did he overplay his hand or will high rates and the independent potential of cable protect him? This a corporate nightmare, where a maverick personality transforms high ratings and uses intellectual capital, masked by comedy into a threatening critique of the system. It is an American comic tradition, Bruce, Smothers Brother, Carlin, Pryor, Chappell, etc…

    Ober-liberal circus clowns for MSNBC, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow were told to keep their mouths shut and as of today they have followed orders.

    Independent media in America has been a grand myth since WW ll. It is a lie built on the work of a few independent mavericks journalists and editors who generally were either ignored or paid for it with their careers.

    Since the 50s, journalism in America has not been the instrument of truth that knocks down the lies. It has been comedy .

    joe s

  17. shim March 14, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Let’s be honest..both of these guys are entertainers and anything either of them say should be taken with a grain of salt. While journalism and finance may be his background it’s his zany off the wall schtick that has made Cramer popular…along with his off the wall predictions. But yes he should be held accountable for what he says and does on the air….but by a comedian like Jon Stewart?? The whole scenario is pretty laughable..

  18. David Allen March 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm #

    Difference is, Stewart sells his show as comedy/entertainment. Cramer’s show is sold as valid financial information.

    The whole accusation of the network ‘being in bed’ wih Wall Street reminds me of my Regulatory Law classes, when we learned about the ‘capture theory:’

    “Regulatory capture is a term used to refer to situations in which a government regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead acts in favor of the commercial or special interests that dominate in the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.”

    For public choice theorists, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether. When this imbalance of focused resources devoted to a particular policy outcome is successful at “capturing” influence with the staff or commission members of a regulatory agency so that the preferred policy outcomes of the special interest are implemented, then regulatory capture has occurred.”

    Thank you, Wikiedia.

    While the theory applies to regulatory agencies, it can easily apply to the media outlets, also. Years ago, I wrote for some of the local papers: whenever I assigned to a new beat, I suddenly gained a lot of new best friends.

  19. Russell March 16, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    When you really get down to it, this isn’t so much a problem about corporate media networks at the base of this whole discussion. It’s really about holding financial analysts accountable, which is rarely done. Most logical people understand that their advice and opinions are not flawless or without risk. They’re based on research, combining past performance with future expectations. When we’re caught in a once-in-a-100-years (or so) economic phenomenon, that vision is clouded, even for the best. How can you hold someone accountable for not seeing an incredibly rare and unpredictable event coming? CNBC and Cramer were not the only ones that screwed up here. No journalist or financial analyst should have been expected to have gotten this right. I cannot even think of a single advisor that I’ve heard of that has gotten this all correct. Like I said, even the Oracle of Omaha lost billions, not only for himself, but for thousands of people. Why is no one attacking him? His mistakes directly impacted a hell of a lot more people than Jim Cramer and all of CNBC. The Oracle was still telling people to buy long after Cramer was saying to sell or hold.

  20. Chris Smith March 16, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Russell, let me break it down:

    1.) Cramer was willfully ignorant of the growing economic catastrophe. He had the knowledge to know that banks were over-leveraged and knew the risk. He was also playing games like the hedge funds on how to make as much money as possible before the bubble burst. It was in his own self interest and that of his network to ignore the coming reality.

    2.) Buffett was not over-invested in the financial sector. His diversified portfolio was and is susceptible to greater economic downturns. The fact that Buffett has lost money is more a symptom than a problem. Should Buffett have known better? Sure. He also shouldn’t have invested in newspapers.

    Comparing Buffett and guys like Cramer is completely nonsensical. They had different aims, agenda, and goals.

  21. Russell March 16, 2009 at 10:45 am #

    So now you’re stepping up the claim from honest mistake or poor research to illegal activity? That’s what it sounds like you’re saying with the playing games like the hedge funds and acting in his own self-interest. Hedge fund managers have been known to play games to manipulate stock prices, sometimes even illegally, but Cramer was not managing a hedge fund during the period in question. If what you’re alleging is true, then it would constitute illegal activity and the SEC would/should be all over him right now.

    How did CNBC profit from the bubble bursting, or ignoring its coming?

  22. Christopher Smith March 16, 2009 at 12:17 pm #

    Well, there are rumors of an investigation based on video of Cramer talking about how easy it is to manipulate the market. He posted a market manipulation 101 video on his own site. Do you not think that hedge funds manipulate the markets? That’s what they do and there are people complicit in the actions.

    How did CNBC benefit? Are you joking? The irrational exuberance and the promotion of the bubble without any critical analysis led to HUGE ratings. When CNBC started out, it was the weak sister of the NBC family. Over time, it used personalities like Cramer to build a very strong cable niche for itself and separate it from the serious financial reporting of BloombergTV. By the way, there was substantive discussion on Bloomberg for quite some time about mark to market accounting methods, Gaussian Copula Functions, the validity of investing in MBS/CDS and whether or not this was a bubble, etc.

    Now that the bubble has burst, CNBC ratings have been even higher (until the last two or three weeks).

    Also, as Stewart told Cramer, “this song isn’t about you”, it’s about a meta topic and everyone has seemingly missed what Stewart was trying to accomplish. He was trying to point out that on the whole, news and media have failed the American Public. Their cheerleading, non-challenging interviews and complicity is a core problem in our society. Maria Bartiromo and the Squawk Box morning hacks asking softball questions of CEO’s and taking their PR as news was damaging to this country. Especially when the people at the network should have known better.

    It’s not just CNBC either, it’s MSNBC, Fox, CNN and the major networks. They have all failed America by avoiding substantive discussions for years and have abandoned the idea of a critical, independent media.

    It’s sad that Stewart is really the only person on TV talking about it, but that is what The Daily Show has been lampooning for years, the lack of real journalism in America. Which is the underlying irony of his show in the first place, that it’s hard to tell the difference between a show that comes on after Farting Puppets and 360 with Anderson Cooper.

    We can keep making it about Cramer (and I keep getting sucked into it) but it’s really a discussion on a bigger issue.

  23. Russell March 16, 2009 at 12:50 pm #

    Stewart is the one that made it about Cramer, not us. He may have clouded the bigger issue by really going after one man with a little attention on one network He may have given a little lip service to the larger problem, but that was lost in the personal attacks on Cramer.

    Your explanation of CNBC’s do not make any sense. They would have to be very short-sighted to sacrifice future credibility for any short-term gains from their irrational exuberance. If there irrational exuberance caused all of America to lose big, why would their ratings then shoot up in the aftermath? Wouldn’t it make sense that people would flee for more reliable, trustworthy and substantive analysis?

    Where did you get the idea that I do not think hedge funds manipulate markets? How about when I said, “Hedge fund managers have been known to play games to manipulate stock prices…”? Did you miss something?

    I already stated that Cramer’s past hedge fund experience has nothing to do with the period in question. Any SEC investigation, like the one that was dropped, has nothing to do with what you’re charging now. If there was any relation to his position on Mad Money, he would have broken some serious laws. As it is, the SEC is not even hinting at looking at any of this. No one of any real authority sees any possible wrong doing like you have alleged.

  24. Russell March 16, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    Sorry for the errors. It’s CNBC’s profits and insert a period where it’s obviously lacking. And it’s “If their irrational exuberance…”, but I’m sure everyone was able to read around those.

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