Stewart Clobbers Cramer

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An apologetic Jim Cramer isn't a good Jim Cramer.

Financial journalism's biggest celebrity looked defeated on The Daily Show last night. He went in willing to take his lumps, but appeared lifeless after Jon Stewart kept playing clips from a recently unearthed 2006 video.

It is in that video where Cramer discusses ethically abhorrent hedge fund tactics. If they are not legally incriminating, they may very well be professionally incriminating.

Cramer was making the most of the crosshairs, feasting on the media attention it attracted. Heck, he even found his way onto Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's (NYSE: MSO  ) flagship home crafts show.

I guess he didn't see the pummeling coming. I did, "fully aware of the trap," and urging Cramer to not do the show, despite the primal instinct for publicity.

This all comes at a sensitive moment for Cramer's (Nasdaq: TSCM  ) . The financial media company announced this morning that CEO Thomas Clarke is leaving. CNBC majority owner General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) was slapped with a long-term debt rating downgrade by Standard & Poor's yesterday.

I can't defend Cramer's words from the 2006 clip, but I was surprised to see the Mad Money host spend way too much time shrugging his shoulders when questioned about his bad calls. Why didn't he fight back harder when Stewart accused CNBC -- and financial media in general -- of allowing individual investors to be swindled and played by fat cat speculators?

When Cris Collinsworth or Dan Marino makes an NFL game prediction or a fantasy football lineup suggestion, will Stewart be there to lash them out for picking the Bengals to win or when Tom Brady pulls up lame?

Of course not. The implication is that while bettors and money fantasy leagues may lose cash by following crummy advice, the economy won't crumble on the basis of a dropped pass or a horrific MRI. No one is going to nationalize the Detroit Lions, though that may not be a bad idea at this point.

The point is that anyone who goes out on a limb is going to get burned. No one is perfect. Even Legg Mason's (NYSE: LM  ) Bill Miller stumbled after his 15-year winning streak. His mutual fund has now lost to the market in each of the past three years. Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) Warren Buffett is the greatest investor of our time, yet half of his largest passive stock investments started out the year under water.

Instead of defending his right to be human, Cramer let Stewart skewer the financial media's irresponsibility in not catching the economic malaise sooner. Maybe the irony is that mainstream media is raining down on financial media's coverage at a time when the market has been rallying for three straight days and Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) is waxing positive on its operating profitability prospects.

Yes, Stewart owned Cramer last night. Now it's time for individual investors to get the last laugh.

Cram a little more Cramer dissection into your life:

Berkshire Hathaway and Legg Mason are Motley Fool Inside Value recommendations. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Legg Mason. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an occasional fan of Cramer and a perpetual fan of Stewart. Rick does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:11 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    I think Cramer deliberately stayed non-confrontational. He forced Stewart to repeat himself over and over, coming off as a bully and not all that well informed. Plus the show wasn't funny, and when a comedy show is not funny, it is not successful. Stewart wanted a brawl and what he got was himself ranting at a contrite, apologetic, intelligent stock analyst. Stewart did not get what he wanted. This will all blow over in a couple of days and Cramer will keep doing what he does, his audience will stay loyal, and Stewart will have another un-funny show under his belt.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:15 PM, marcopogo wrote:

    Your football analogy was pointless and stupid. And more importantly it reveals that you didn't get the point from Jon Stewart - The people who got hurt are all those people who have been lead to believe that putting their money in 401Ks was the best and safest way to secure retirement. These are not people who "play the market" game. They are taking advice from Financial advisors at Schwab, Fidelity, etc..

    If I trade I accept the risks and the losses. If I invest my money in a 401K for retirement it is because I have been incented to do so - by government and corporations jointly. When someone else gets rich because I've put my money into the market via a 401K something is wrong.

    Yes I felt sorry for Cramer. I understand the purpose of his show and it is clearly entertainment and just like I don't get mad at Marino for a lousey pick, I don't get mad at Cramer either - unless of course i've just lost a big pile of money.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:24 PM, marcopogo wrote:

    Mr. Mediaconsultant -

    You seem to be out of touch. How do you come to such a conclusion about what Cramer was thinking? What's really funny is that you think Cramer was playing possum to make Jon Stewart seem like a bully. HAH!

    Yes the show wasn't funny, and Jon Stewart even said so in his epilogue - maybe your TIVO didn't catch that. Or you just got too tired and went to bed.

    Hang it up old man.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:31 PM, ge205 wrote:

    Rick, you just don't get it, do you?

    Stewart's point (during the interview) wasn't about Cramer making wrong predictions. It was about an entire business news network letting CEOs lie on their shows and not going after them. It was about CNBC "journalists" looking the other way when a lot of leveraging was going on.

    As far as the football prediction analogy, that only works for addicted gamblers. Most of the people losing their 401Ks are not like that.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:35 PM, ge205 wrote:

    Oh btw, I was impressed that Cramer looked apologetic. He looked honest, and I will to continue to watch his show to see if he will be more objective.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:37 PM, goofnoff wrote:

    <i>When Cris Collinsworth or Dan Marino make an NFL game prediction or a fantasy football lineup suggestion, will Stewart be there to lash them out for picking the Bengals to win or when Tom Brady pulls up lame?</i>

    The analogy is apt. Collingsworth and Marino actually have a better record. But what really makes it apt is that the uninformed, in both instances, think the analysts ahve special knowledge the general public lacks. Bet this team because the spread is wrong. Buy this stock because it is undervalued.

    In both cases the analyst is saying I'm smarter than the market and people believe that they are, even as they bet the race track tout is smarter. the guys who actually are smarter don't sell the information.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:39 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    "Hang it up old man" !!?!?

    I came to my conclusion by thinking about why Cramer would have acted how he did. We know he is not shy and he is certainly capable of a spirited discussion. So why did he act that way? He's not a wimp and he's not stupid and he's media savvy. So one reason is that the lawyers told him he could not say anything substantive in defense of CNBC without creating potential legal issues, or that the best strategy was to just stay quiet. Another reason was to deprive JS the satisfaction of engaging on a (almost) live TV great event. Oh of course, don't forget that the Daily Show editors went to town on cutting this together and had to leave out a lot to keep to the program clock.

    Your post did not include an analysis or any commentary on the show -- only a criticism of me. What's your take on the show? I know you'll have to think a little and it may be tough, but give it a shot -- it will help you stave off Alzheimer's to use your brain a little.

    So I am not out of touch, I'm just trying to think things through -- something you may want to try once you get past the name calling!

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:42 PM, brokejack wrote:

    First off, I'm a fan of Jim Cramer. I don"t take everything he says as gospel. He does recommend I do my homework, hence I don't always agree with him. He is the only talking head on cnbc in which they run a long disclaimer about his advise. Jon, did have a point about reporters on this network, should be doing more investigating and not always taking everyones word for it.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:43 PM, Ruister wrote:

    Are you comparing football games with people's financial security???? The problem is that investment has become a game for you. Unfortunately for many who believe your baseless and irresponsible claims that long term investment in securities is safe, the losses are life changing! You are out of your depth and do not posses the ability to defend your position. Instead make arguments that have the sophistication and maturity of a frat boy caught drunk at the wheel.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:43 PM, cranksports wrote:

    Are you kidding me, comparing the NFL to the stock market. When you BET on a football game you know you are GAMBLING. When you buy stock you are INVESTING. While investments can be risky by nature, investors rely on experts including the supposed experts on CNBC to help guide there investment decisions. There's nothing wrong with gambling, but when you do it, it should be for fun with an understanding that there is a really good chance that you are going to loose. When you invest you are putting your life savings on the line - something that you would never do on a football game. If you are implying that wall street is just one big gamble then why don't you suggest everyone pull out their 401K's and go to Vegas?? No wait, who would pay for all those $20 million bonuses if that happened.

    Grow up and let your industry take a little responsibility.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:44 PM, Computerjockey wrote:

    I never thought that Jon Stewart was funny on this best days. So now, not only is he not funny, he maybe has an anger management problem. Get some help Jon!

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:47 PM, clintspicks wrote:

    The sports analogy is not apt; it's ridiculous. The difference is too many people are stupid enough to tie their financial futures to something Cramer or Kudlow or some other screaming biz celebrity has to say on any given day. The disclaimers on these shows are in lieu of thoughful, careful commentary.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:53 PM, macmanjc wrote:

    Mediaconsultant: Personally, I don't think you could be any more wrong. I think that if someone where to do a poll today of "normal" people (i.e., middle income people who know next to nothing about the intricacies of finance and investing and who have probably never even heard of Jim Cramer or watched CNBC) then there would be overwhelming approval for Jon Stewart.

    Why? Because he attained EXACTLY what he set out to do last night: he used his pulpit to say the things that every one of those "normal" people has wanted to say for months now. Not just to Jim Cramer, or CNBC, or even Wall Street, but to the world in general. Last night was the chance for all of us to vent our anger and frustration with this whole f-ed up situation to the people who got us here in the first place and more importantly to those whose job it was to see it coming and keep us out of here.

    Based on those videos last night I think it is pretty clear that Jim Cramer has existed in both of those camps, so he is doubly responsible.

    That being said, I have to give Jim Cramer credit; by the end of the show I was more sympathetic towards him than I thought I would be. I think he made the best out of a tough situation, and I am sure that he was under immense pressure to defend himself and his network. He was just completely outgunned on every level by Jon Stewart.

    Funny, the truth does shine bright sometimes.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 2:53 PM, VintageCat wrote:

    This is a big deal precisely because Jon Stewart has been able to say what most of us regular people have been thinking and feeling since the banks and investment houses went down, taking Wall Street, our 401Ks and the nation's economy with them.

    Is Cramer responsible for this mess? Only in part, because he was in a position to know and was in a position to sound the warning instead of the "feel good" shilling that occurred not only on his show but the vast majority of other financial news.

    Meanwhile those that put their 401Ks into market dependent accounts are left holding the bag, some of which will never be able to retire. Most of those individuals that perpetrated the investment fraud still have their 7th house in Nassau, their private jets and swimming pools and will likely never be brought to justice. If that doesn't anger people, I don't know what will. Thanks Mr. Stewart for giving voice to my concerns.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:00 PM, Eekare wrote:

    You know... thinking about it, I'm starting to like the gambling vs. investing analogy. The only real difference between the two is the connotation. With gambling, its presumed you're on the losing end because the "house always wins." With investing, people recognize that they could lose what they invested but believe they have an "edge" (through the advise of the 'experts').

    Cramer looked contrite and seemed more willing to defend his own personal actions but Jon repeatedly was attacking CNBC as a whole and Cramer unfortunately was the figurehead of CNBC. I understand Stewart's point in the numerous flaws in CNBC leading up to this crisis but the ultimate reality is, I don't think whatever CNBC did or did not do could have prevented this crisis. Jon won the battle but all in all, Cramer handled it as best as he could (probably constrained by the legal department of CNBC to boot).

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:05 PM, marcopogo wrote:

    Mr. Mediaconsultant,

    Please read carefully the posts from VintageCat and the rest. They seem to get it.

    Mr. Computerjockey - you don't think Jon Stewart is funny!? What, no HULU?

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:08 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    macmanjc: I have expressed my outrage by writing to the President, my representatives and congressmen. I have also met with my financial consultant to see what I can do to protect my investments. I don't need Jon Stewart to vent for me -- it won't help bring value back to my retirement investments, or to yours.

    Jon Stewart pretended to be stupider than he is, and he did take on the role of "frustrated everyman". I can see where that would satisfy people who have no personal outlet to express their frustrations. My point comes from a television entertainment perspective (he has a comedy show) and it was a failure. It wasn't funny. People who expect to get serious news from a satirical show on Comedy Central are idiots. Now for CNBC - they are in a difficult position. They cannot be cheerleaders for a recession, but they have several tracks of financial news going at once -- moment by moment, day by day and long term. This is a complicated and difficult task and they are sometimes good, sometimes bad, but usually just ok. They try to be entertaining and informative at the same time, never an easy task.

    So I think it's nice that Jon Stewart took up for the "normal" guys who have no voice, and I'm sure he feels good about it, and he should. But he did not achieve anything substantive, and as I have said before, Cramer pretty much killed Stewart's intention for the show to be a comedic success by simply being polite, contrite and apologetic.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:09 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    Hey marco -- still nothing substantive about this from you. Thanks for stopping the name calling, but c'mon -- don't you have anything original to add to the conversation?

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:16 PM, Seano67 wrote:

    I thought Stewart was grandstanding a little bit, especially as the show went on. In the beginning of the interview his anger seemed genuine, however as the interview moved along along, maybe not so much. When he went into his rant about the honest traders in the pits just doing their jobs and busting their balls and they're getting f*cked-over too (and that's a quote), well, that did not seem genuine to me. It seemed very forced, and maybe the studio audience picked up on that too, because that rant received just a smattering of applause rather than the thunderous applause Stewart had gotten at the beginning, when he was really, genuinely angry. And I really don't think that most people have sympathy for anyone on Wall Street now, whether that be the honest traders in the pits or the shadowy, sketchy figures in the background. They're all making lots of money and they're all part of the same dishonest and broken system, or at least that's how I feel they're viewed by the vast majority of the public.

    So I felt that portion of the interview was a pretty blatant attempt to manipulate people's emotions and anger, and for me it really didn't work. It just seemed phony and very, very forced.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:26 PM, cranksports wrote:

    mediaconsultant -

    That's great that you wrote letters and met with your financial consultant, but that wont fix the problem. Jon Stewart was not venting for me or any one else in particular, he was shinning a light on the problem - and this is the only way that it is going to get fixed. The scams need to be exposed, one by one, and obviously after viewing those clips Cramer is as guilty as Madoff on a small scale and he now has zero cred. He admitted that he has manipulated markets for his personal gain and you are running to his defense, hmmm?

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:37 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    I'm not defending Jim Cramer the Hedge Fund manager who engaged in the standard manipulative practices still being used by the big financial firms. If he broke the law he should be in jail. If he was successful in a shady environment, then I hope he uses his knowledget of those days to help protect the investors that listen to him today. I'm pissed as could be about the overall situation and hold our financial infrastructure and government responsible. Maybe Jon Stewart deserves kudos for calling out CNBC as not being a watchdog -- I would like to call out the government and the risk management depts of the banks for being stupid, greedy and irresponsible.

    I think Jon Stewart saw a convenient soapbox to stand on for a few days after his ego was bruised by Rick Santelli turning him down. Face it, Stewart wants to make fun of people and make his audience laugh. I'm not defending Cramer, but that did not happen last night. Also, now that Stewart has lost his goldmine of content (i.e. the Bush administration) and cannot blast away at Obama, he needs things to fill up his time. He's floundering.

    Cramer has made good calls and bad calls. All told, I've heard him tell his audience enough times to learn how to research and do their own due diligence, and warn them of the pitfalls of investing that I think he is a responsible broadcaster -- just like Jon Stewart is a responsible broadcaster. It just happened that this time Stewart fell short on his mission to provide entertainment, and proved that he is not very effective as a media tough guy. Just my opinion.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:39 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    cranksports -

    Please explain how Cramer is as guilty as Madoff on a small scale. I don't see the connection between Hedge Fund management and running a Ponzi scheme. A technical explanation would be appropriate. Thank you.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:42 PM, pantograph wrote:

    One of the things I really enjoy about the Daily Show is that Stewart has a good mix of humor and serious criticism of the blatant hypocrisy running rampant in business, politics, and the media. It's not a big surprise that Cramer is part of the problem, with his lack of morals when he was running money.

    But anybody with brains isn't out trying to beat the market and just ignores 100% of the bulldroppings on CNBC and all the other financial media.

    It is definitely time that some of the perpetrators of our current financial mess are sent to jail and their overseas accounts cleaned out. They stole a lot more than that piker Madoff. At least Stewart is willing to call them out without apology.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:47 PM, cranksports wrote:

    mediaconsultant -

    According to his own words, he knowingly and intentionally published false information about companies that he knew would effect stock prices and then he profited from the moves in stock prices that HE caused. It's called market manipulation. This is cheating investors in my book, and I'll bet most people agree with me. Is that technical enough for you?

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:57 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    cranky -

    Actually, I don't think those were his exact words. I think he did everything he could within the range of acceptable practices of hedge funds (and I admit these are sleazy manipulative practices but not illegal) but these are not the same as taking money from people with no intention of investing it all. It's fair to dump on Cramer as long as it's in the context of his entire industry. Madoff was a criminal industry all to himself - he did not engage in industry wide (unfair but legal) practices, he simply stole.

    Personally, I think the hedge fund manipulative practices are despicable and am not defending them or Cramer. But I guarantee you that if it could have been proven that he broke the law he would have been prosecuted or fined by the SEC.

    Why don't you seek an indictment for Cramer if you're so upset?

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 3:58 PM, Gravytrain2020 wrote:

    This was a no win situation for Cramer.

    He could have came out and been angry and fought Stewart but he would just come across as the rich Wall-street guy who doesn't get what ordinary people are going through or he could do what he did and just take it.

    My problem is that Stewart's problem was with CNBC and then he uses old internet clips that weren't on the channel. Also, he did not let Cramer speak, I would have liked to see Cramer have the chance to take about the "They no Nothing" rant, the "pull your money out of the market if you need it in 5 years" advice he gave on the Today show or the fact that he has wanted the Uptick rule reinstated well before anyone else did. Cramer has been right a lot on the recession and did not have a chance to say it.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 4:02 PM, mediaconsultant wrote:

    I agree. Cramer would not have won by pushing back. However, by staying quiet, apologetic, sincere he made Stewart a lot less entertaining than he probably wanted to be.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 5:21 PM, scootcha wrote:

    Fine, you did not think it was entertaining. Now stop being so repetitive about it. It is getting boring.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 5:22 PM, cranksports wrote:


    I'm not saying the two situations are the same, I am simply stating the fact that in both cases investors are getting cheated. When a hedge fund profits by manipulating the market, by definition someone else takes a loss.

    Go watch the entire original interview with Aaron Task and you'll see that Crammer talks about the illegal activities of hedge funds and that the SEC doesn't do anything about it. I wish I had the time and the resources to seek indictments for every white colar criminal, but I don't. It would be nice if the SEC started doing it's job.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 5:35 PM, macmanjc wrote:


    I can't dispute that last's night show was at times squirm-worthy. Some might argue that is entertaining in and of itself (a lot of daytime TV shows are pretty much based around putting the camera on someone and watching them squirm while they are confronted by "friends"/relatives/exes/etc). Having watched the Daily Show for many years I like to think that Jon Stewart and Co. are above that level of entertainment. But that doesn't mean that every show has to be one long punch-line with the audience rolling in the aisles. As a matter of fact, a lot of the "interviews" that the other correspondents do in the field veer into seriously uncomfortable territory, very similar to the interview last night.

    So, I think that it is incorrect to assume that the interview was a failure just because the audience wasn't laughing and cheering the entire time. I'm sure that Jon Stewart and the rest of the staff were very pleased with the way that it went.

    Just remember: the show may be a "comedy show", but different people like their humor different ways. Sometimes they even like it grim.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 5:35 PM, dfrndez wrote:

    Short term investment in the stock market for the clear majority of investors is a gamble much like gambling on a sports team. No one knows which stocks are going to outperform the others, not Jim Cramer, not Bill Miller, not Peter Lynch, and not Warren Buffet. No one can time the market. So if these certainties are expected then why do people demand that they be guaranteed a certain amount of return in a severely short time?

    Should people hang Warren Buffet for telling us to buy American a few months ago? How about Bill Miller and Peter Lynch who called the bottom after the November 20 low?

    People are angry and people are dumb, plain and simple.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 5:46 PM, cranksports wrote:

    ... and some people are crooks, plain and simple.

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 6:04 PM, Iamslowlikeyou wrote:

    i want cookies and milk, i want people not to use their power or status for their own personal gain, i want people to stop being sheep and stop following "leaders" who will allow us to fall over the cliff while following them, i want common sense, i want virtues, i want loyalty, i want the truth no matter what it may be, i want my leaders to make informed decisions on real facts and not projections made by corporate saturated and lobbyist mangled morals, i want to be happy, i want you to be happy, i want my kids to be happy, and above all i want all the finger pointing to stop. let the past be the past, lets make some rules that make sense that will prevent others from recreating what got us into this mess in the first place. i just want a good night sleep, knowing that my family and I are well taken care off...thats all i want. so was JC (not jesus christ) wrong in abussing his power? yeah... was JS venting? yeah... are we going to solve anything by talking about something that happened already? probably not...

  • Report this Comment On March 13, 2009, at 7:10 PM, kirkydu wrote:

    Seriously, you compared a financial network completely abdicating it's journalistic responsibility to fantasy football. Wow. You aren't a fool, you are an idiot.

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 1:13 AM, currytto wrote:

    A fan of Cramers fun and energetic show I am, but, where was the bravado? It is interesting to see that the outright thievery that controls much of the get rich quick side of finance has Cramer's tail between the legs. It is indefensible, too bad that a nice guy like Cramer has become a poster boy. You play with the devil, whether real or fictional, and the jokes on you sooner or later. I believe that this whole market has been knowingly manipulated into a crisis by much more nefarious charectors than a guy who runs a charitable trust...As for Cramer, not guilty. But seriously Jim, stop crying.

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 1:42 AM, epmccart wrote:

    In addition to many of the things other people have mentioned already about what I think Jon Stewart's REAL point was, I also think it should be noted that Stewart was saying that the problem isn't that Cramer et al. are making wrong calls once in a while, but that they're claiming to be practically infallible (he says this explicitly, just like he points out that he wasn't going after Cramer exclusively, but financial media in general). He says something along the lines of "we're both selling snake oil", but that at least Stewart admits he's doing it - at least he's not "claiming it's vitamin tonic", like the financial media seems to be doing. And the football analogy is completely irrelevant - like others mentioned, only an incredibly small minority are broken or lost if they put complete faith in a single person/network's opinion in that case, whereas great numbers are in the financial world ("In Cramer We Trust"...?).

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 1:57 AM, lostbutnowfound wrote:

    Ok, he did error along the way, but the best errors are yet to come. Cramer is forgetting to add the effect the next downward spiral from the resets in morgages this year and the next year + of the commercial crises the public has yet to see, and is totally blind to - sorry Cramer, "we trust" no more, entertain us with Mr. Stewart or on your show, but the $ your corporate entity charged to lead us with the "I know the way" are turning out like the tarp - written off!

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 2:19 AM, Ranoff wrote:

    Hey! Stock picking has nothing to do with a football game. Someone had the gaul to say that Cramer looked to be honest and sincere. Well, what the hell were you watching - Tommy Cramer playing football 30 years ago? Jim Cramer was caught, red handed, and red faced, lying through his teeth. He tried to claim that he was only explaining how he used to stick it to investors, in the clip, to teach investors how hedge fund managers milk their victims. Then! When Stewart played the rest of the tape - we could easily see that Cramer was just bragging about how he ripped stupid people, like you all, OFF! So why don't you Boo Yah - That!

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 12:01 PM, predfern wrote:

    The Daily show with Jim Cramer was as fake as all star wrestling. Liberals like Stewart want to blame the financial mess on greed and Cramer vowed to do a better job of exposing it. Shocking! In reality the financial mess was caused by risky mortgages (encouraged by the federal government) and the cheap money policy of the federal reserve. For an excellent policy analysis, see:

    How Did We Get into This Financial Mess?

    by Lawrence H. White

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 3:18 PM, tim757pilot wrote:

    Airlines, cable TV, health care companies (insurance, ppo, hmo, big pharma), and finally wall street and banks - every single industry that was deregulated invited thieves in pinstripe suits to act like psychopaths, harming almost everyone else - customers, employees, stockholders, bondholders, etc. Do we really want to live in a nation in which 1% of the population owns and controls everything and everyone else is a pauper? We're headed there at the speed of sound. The powers that be have gutted our manufacturing base, cut our pay, gutted our benefits and made us responsible for our own retirement, while their recklessness has basically destroyed the stock market and put our government at the brink of bankruptcy, as they have taken billions and billions of dollars for themselves. If this is not high treason, what would you call it?

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 5:27 PM, simplicius wrote:

    Stewart's point was a simple one, but one that has been missed by almost everybody. Cramer stepped into Stewart's criticism of CNBC and took the brunt of it, but the criticism was really targeted at 21st Century Media Journalism in general.

    Daniel Sinker describes it pretty well in a recent article in the Huffington Post:

    "Near the end of the interview (which, if somehow you haven't seen it, is worth watching), Cramer begins to weasel out an explanation to Stewart (the specifics are unimportant, but if you need to know it involved why Cramer utilizes banana cream pies in his financial program) when Stewart interrupts him and says, indignantly, "As Carly Simon would say, 'This song ain't about you.'" It was a point largely lost on Cramer, who continued to defend his own show against Stewart's much larger indictment, but it was also a point lost on the many media outlets that covered this basic cable dustup as actual, honest-to-god news.

    You see, Stewart's real critique wasn't about Cramer, it was also only marginally about CNBC. Instead, Stewart's real rage comes from the role the modern media has created for itself: the role of cheerleader instead of watchdog, of favoring surface over depth, of respecting authority instead of questioning it.

    It's the same critique that some have about the New York Times (and the rest of the media) in the leadup to the war in Iraq; the same critique lobbed every time a TV reporter does a stand up in front of the Apple Store before a product release; the same critique leveled every time a sensational murder steals a headline from a corporate crime: is this really the job we want the fourth estate to be doing?"

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 10:13 PM, Tradervic55 wrote:

    As you can see by my name, I'm a trader. I watch Cramer's shows for ideas, then make my own decisions. I rarely submit comments, but Jon Stewart's comments were long overdue and I felt compelled to say something. Cramer seems like an honest guy, and it showed in the interview. He KNEW what the hedge fund traders were doing to manipulate the market, so there wasn't much to say in defense. Jon's remarks were not directed to Cramer--it was aimed at CNBC. His point was that CNBC "reporters" were aware of the manipulations but never exposed them--isn't that what reporters are supposed to do? Instead they looked the other way and put blame & gloom on other issues. There were instances where Cramer was trying to shield his co-workers from these accusations. Who knows what kind of small talk & laughter goes on at the CNBC coolers. The special entitled "House of Cards" was an excellent example of what CNBC is capable of producing. Cramer knows this and I'm confident that his future shows will be influenced by what happened on Jon Stewart's show....

  • Report this Comment On March 14, 2009, at 10:42 PM, Jgrimm4 wrote:

    I find it very interesting that this media attack could have come down a long long time ago ...on cnbc, but it only comes about right I mean right after a lot of CNBC reporters "attack" Obama's economic policies...

    hmmmmm now cnbc is the bad guy...just has been over a year since those bad calls on Bears Sterns were made...smells in hear.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2009, at 3:14 AM, none0such wrote:

    I am a US tax payer who has resided outside the USA for the past 7 years. I haven't seen JS's nor JC's respective shows but I have heard of them. I read newspapers, magazines, and e-content to get a perspective on the US. There were two facts, one determined by the government and one determined by the media, I read about that alarmed me in 2006 that everyone reading this (if they are investors) probably knew about as well:

    1) The Federal Reserve's loose monetary policy - this had been freaking-out central banks around the world, and consequently me too.

    2) A TV show called 'Flip this House' - when my mother told me about this show I begged her to sell the house she lives in and owns outright and put the money in the bank and come live with me. She could buy it back in a few years for cash and still have money left over (and cheaper property taxes to boot)

    It is important to address both the government and the media's role in this economic debacle (JC is primarily an entertainer and is only providing a service as such). This is the lesson we need to put forefront.

    Interestingly, the language and metaphors used by the economic 'experts' AND 'average' investors to describe equities consist of the same opposing perceptions. To be an economist or financial 'expert', you need to demonstrate some ability to understand the stock market (maybe though education or special insight). So language that renders the stock market as an animate being (something that can be controlled) is used to exemplify this expertise. However, this is opposite of the actual concept of the stock market which (by definition) can't be controlled/predicted (always) and can defy rational explanations for extended periods of time. During times when loss of control is apparent (such as now), the 'experts' change their speech to emphasis the inanimate nature of equities. I didn't see the show but my guess as to why JC would remain silent and apologetic is because anything he might say could only be linked to his (and everyone else's) inability to foresee the economy - this is something already in the minds of people watching the show and deemed a non-answer for his previous discourse (i.e the video tape). CNBC lawyers would not have allowed JC's appearance if there were pending lawsuits of any significance and telling him not to say anything that might be 'incriminating' or 'stupid' (what lawyer wouldn't give this advice?) doesn't mean he can't talk - the fact is he simply couldn't say anything.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2009, at 8:41 AM, Andyroo3 wrote:

    Cramer is an example o what is wrong with Wall Street and what begat the housing and foreclosure crisis.

    Predatory lending is just one bad practice. I was curious if anyone thinks it makes sense to create a class and sue the investment banks for creating this whole mess in the first place. I would think it makes sense to start a class action where homeowners can band together as a class and sue the Wall Street firms including Lehman Brothers, who happens to allegedly own my note via a CDO(collateralized debt obligation), which are these securitized bundles of mortgages.

    Everyone who has a mortgage is part of a CDO. The problem is that way back when, Wall Street firms (Lehman, Merrill, Bear Stears, etc) decided they could bundle mortgages into multi-layered single securities and sell these like hotcakes if they were to successfully obtain a AAA rating on the top layer. They were indeed able to obtain this rating and they did sell the heck out of these to all kinds of investors everywhere including whole governments, banks, money market funds, and insurance companies. This led to the housing bubble which I and everyone else participated in via our owner-occupied home purchases and home improvements. Others participated via housing speculation (flipping and the like).

    These Wall Street firms started owning increasing amounts of CDO's on their balance sheets. The former Merrill CEO was quoted as saying Merrill Lynch started "committing suicide" in 2005 by never selling any of it's CDO's and completely removing their risk. Lehman and Bear Stearns were no different.

    Seeing this increased concentration of assets that were benefiting from the housing bubble, Hedge Funds (these evil unregulated inefficient and costly mutual funds) decided a great strategy to capitalize on this was to buy insurance on the bet that the Wall Street firms would be succumbed by their risky CDO holdings and that this would cause the entire firm to fail.

    Such insurance (a.k.a. credit default swaps) was happily sold to the hedge fund firms by the largest of insurance companies - AIG, and the hedge funds were even allowed to buy, if they wanted to, up to 40 times (40x!) the amount of the risk, a completely irresponsible practice but I digress. The hedge funds knew they would benefit if they were able to sink Lehman and the rest as they would cash in on the insurance. So they issued press releases essentially warning about the failure of the Wall Street firms. This caused traders everywhere to sell Lehman stock.

    And these very same hedge funds who sent the negative press releases started shorting the stock of these firms at the same time! Since the "uptick rule" was abolished by President Bush, another irresponsible act but I again digress, anyone could short a stock (betting on the stock price going down, not up) to their heart's delight. The uptick rule allowed shorting twice only after a stock price's "uptick" or increase in it's price, but the rule was not in effect. All of this shorting and all of the negative press releases, drove the Wall Street firm's stock price into the gutter and caused the firm's to fail.

    Washington's first reaction, thanks to the self-regulation ideology of the Bush administration, was to let the first of these firm's to simply fail. This happened to be Leman Brothers. And so the hedge funds were victorious in their strategy because they not only made billions shorting Lehman stock, but could also now cash in on the AIG swap insurance policies. Yet these very insurance policies bankrupted AIG or could have bankrupted them.

    Having learned that letting Lehman fail was a terrible mistake because of the message it sent and the ensuing financial panic that resulted, the Bush administration and later the Obama administration decided to bailout AIG multiple times and with multiple billions of dollars.

    Once the housing market bubble finally popped some years earlier, it was learned that these AAA CDO's that originally started this whole mess were really not AAA and were very sensitive to the housing market going down and foreclosures going up. This began the falling of the "house of cards" that CNBC reported David Fabier so eloquently reported on, because it decimated the CDO market and caused further financial panic because banks held a lot of these and they were required to mark the value of these CDO's to their market price (a.k.a. mark to market). Well, there was no market anymore and a zero value meant banks could not lend anymore. They were essentially "maxed-out" in a credit card analogy of sorts.

    This caused the feds to bail them out, pumping more and more of our taxpayer money into banks to keep them alive and lending. Meanwhile, the folks who are bailing everyone out, the taxpayer, are left holding the bag. Many taxpayers are also homeowners. And even though we are bailing out the banks with tax dollars, for generations to come I might add, these same banks are breathing down homeowner thoats with foreclosure lawsuits because they cannot either sell their home at all or for any reasonable amount, or they were sold into mortgages that were ridiculous to any trained eye, and aren't even sold anymore, or we simply have less income thanks to this whole economic mess brought on by the Wall Street firm's way back when they decided to create mortgage-back CDO's and sell them to everyone.

    <b>The start of the house of cards being built was the creation of the mortgage-CDO.</b>

    Thus, I think a new defense for homeowners in trying to save our homes is to sue the owners of the notes, or the alleged owners as it is in most cases. In my case, this would be Citibank as trustee for Lehman Brothers (Lehman has failed and Citibank is working things out for their assets I guess). Other firms are still in business such as Merrill Lynch(now owned by Bank of Amer). Or they have been taken over as is the case with Bear Stearns who is now owned by JP Morgan. Banks such as BofA and Chase should also be sued, but many were simply servicers, although they certainly benefited from the bubble.

    All of these firms contributed to this whole mess and have shared culpability in my view. Homeowners are now having to pay for the cleaning up of this mess while also having to pay increased taxes for generations to come. In essence, we are being forced to pay twice the amount borrowed for our homes because of the increased taxes that will definitely be needed to pay this nation's deficit. That was not part of the deal when we took out our mortgages. That is wholly unfair. And that is just plain wrong.

    Homeowners need to sue these firms, as a class action, to at least get their note returned to them free-n-clear because getting cash in these class actions is, generally, not going to happen since the atty's get the lion's share of settlements, which is fine by me, and that is only after expenses which will be sizeable(years of court battles). But homeowners can be given their notes back while any cash can go to the attorney's for fighting the good fight. Again, fine by me.

    Ultimately, I think it is in the nation's interest to simply give the mortgagees back their notes from the lenders because of the situation created. They don't ask for free housing. We are all going to pay for our housing, believe me. All of us. Increased taxation is the only way to crawl out of this. So, it is not a handout. It is a bailout, which if it is good for banks, it darn well should be good for homeowners.

    This will also cure the property tax problem that so many cities are now suing for damages. People will start paying taxes again, having a home free and clear. A class action lawsuit seeking to obtain relief from the alleged owners of the CDO's is just what is needed in addition to the standard fights everyone should already be doing alongside their good real estate attorney or other advocate.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2009, at 1:07 PM, vapoly01 wrote:

    I think John's anger was seriously misplaced.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the mutual fund managers responsible for picking the securities in their portfolio? Aren’t they paid to notice things like a 35-1 leverage ratio? Do they take advice from an “entertainer” on television? I would hope not.

    And how does he expect securities to be accurately priced without frequent trading?

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2009, at 12:17 PM, InvestmntWankers wrote:

    "My point comes from a television entertainment perspective (he has a comedy show) and it was a failure. It wasn't funny."

    Parts were. Example: (clip shows Cramer beating bread dough alongside with Martha Stewart): "Haven't you killed enough dough on your own show?). But sorry if the destruction of this pre-retirement class's retirement savings and the next generation's fiscal security didn'y have all the hilarity you'd hope for.

    "People who expect to get serious news from a satirical show on Comedy Central are idiots."

    Hmm... so that would explain why when I picked up my copy of the Financial Times in the driveway on Saturday morning, it was running a lead section front page story on the clash.

    The FT article's lead sentence describes Jon Stewart as "a comedian who has become one of America's most challenging news commentators". But what do they know?...

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2009, at 12:22 PM, enneas wrote:

    I have no sympathy for Cramer, irrespective of the value of his opinions, and his being "pummeled" on The Daily Show. Cramer turned himself not only into an "entertainer" but into a poster child for the financial markets, as well. He's as convenient a whipping boy as anyone is likely to find for the lack of critical inquiry applied by the media generally to Wall Street. Yes, there's a strong element of personal responsibility but the priests and apostles of Wall Street have made a career of making people believe in their special skill and knowledge. Just as Bernie Madoff did with his investors.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2009, at 1:29 PM, InvestmntWankers wrote:

    One last point -- Simplicius (March 14 at 5:27pm) gets it.

    The broader, deeper point is really about the woefully inadequate the job the 'serious' media did during the genesis of this fiasco.

    Any gripe that Stewart is trying -- admittedly imperfectly -- to adress (on the Comedy Channel, ferchrisakes!) surely misses that point entirely.

    The other examples Simplicius gives -- such as the NYT's gullible pre-invasion shilling for Admin's rationale for the forthcoming venture in Iraq -- are similarly right on the money.

    If the "serious" Fourth Estate is asleep at the switch, I'll take my oversight anywhere I can get it...

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2009, at 9:39 PM, guychan wrote:

    Simplicius nails it. This was way more than about Cramer, however foolish he looked in the whole episode. The best part of this superb show was when they played the clip where that sycophantic dufus from CNBC interviewing Stanford says something like (I'm paraphrasing) "oh and just one more question". Just then and there, look at that pathetic Stanford swallowing hard and the fear he is struggling to conceal. He knows the end is nigh and he is expecting his scam to blow up in his face any minute. His hesitation to answer the dufus' question on life as a billionaire to me simply reflects his intense relief (disbelief ?) that the question is a friendly lob and that he is still off the hook. Of course I am writing this in 20/20 hindsight. But the fundamental issue is that you have to question why his scam was not called out before. Someone, somewhere in the (financial) media had to know but did not have the guts to call him out. Why ? Where's the integrity? That's the point JS was making. In a masterful way I would opine.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2009, at 10:17 PM, guychan wrote:

    Part 2 (correction): got my episodes mixed up, in that the interview I refer to occurs on a show prior to the Cramer interview. The point remains, however: where's the pillar of fierce and relentless journalism holding the corporate world's feet to the fire..?

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2009, at 8:58 PM, menefer wrote:

    I like Cramer, he's a fun guy, but I don't take his investment advice too seriously. I've stopped watching CNBC as I find more political spin than usable investment advice. If I were running that network I'd clean house and start over. I thought John Stewart did a great job and I hope it results in a new CNBC. The "author" of this article is way off by comparing football picks to reporting on business and finance.

  • Report this Comment On March 19, 2009, at 10:37 PM, jbrumley wrote:

    I'm not taking either side here - I'm just making an ironic point than nobody else has yet....

    Yes, Cramer's show is designed to be entertaining first and financially helpful second. And, that's a distant second. From what I could tell, that was Stewart's main problem....that he (Cramer) was sloppy because he was dispensing stock picks and advice without reverence. Fair enough.

    Isn't that a bit hypocritical from Jon though?

    Jon Stewart runs a show that is entertaining first (like Jim's), and his distant second goal is to provide news and perspective on society and politics. Isn't that pretty much what Cramer does, except with politics instead of investing?

    Is there a difference? Yes, I'll acknowledge that losing money is a big deal (bigger than most other things), and you don't want to cause that to happen. However, isn't Stewart equally guilty of misleading or misdirecting his viewers by his incomplete 'reporting' of news by looking for a laugh first, even though it's all presented under the guise of being a 'news show'? Stewart's not an anchorman, and the Daily Show is not a news show. Yet, I suspect his viewers regard it as such.

    I know it's not exactly apples to apples, but you get the idea. I think either side's combatants need to be brutally honest about what the other side is doing - good and bad - rather than only focus on Cramer's mis-steps. Stewart is equally misdirected on other fronts. Money isn't at stake with Stewart, but other things are.

    And while I know Cramer's picks are mediocre at best and poor at worst, here's the probable reality.... if his picks had beat the market and his viewers actually made money, it's doubtful Jim would have received accolades on par with the beating he took from Stewart. It's the viewers that would have been geniuses...FOR BEING SMART ENOUGH TO WATCH MAD MONEY ON TV.

    But no, since he caused people to lose money (in a bear market where no stock survived), HE'S THE GOAT AND GETS ALL THE BLAME. Duplicitous.

    I don't want to discount that Cramer bullishly pounded the table on far too many companies in early 2008, but Stewart conveniently omitted all the clips where Jim steered investors straight.

    Just sumthin' to think about.

  • Report this Comment On March 20, 2009, at 2:36 PM, Laniel wrote:

    First, Jon Stewart does not pretend that The Daily Show is a news show; he comes right out and says, "We just make it up."

    Second, Stewart wasn't slamming him and CNBC because of poor honest picks, but because they touted stocks they knew had serious problems, and wouldn't ask guest CEOs the hard questions.

    I see no hypocrisy nor duplicity.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2009, at 1:27 PM, JCaldy wrote:


    Amen brother!! You must be a mind reader. Mindless deregulation is absolutely the stake through the heart of this once great nation. Shame on the greedy mindless politicians for allowing it to happen. That's the result of industry writing policy. Shame on us all for allowing a very small minority to govern those mindless greedy politicians. I'll take my share of the blame. It speaks volumes that only those that can afford it, have representation in what is supposedly a representative government. I long for the day when a honest and fair days work is rewarded with an honest and fair days pay. The days before shear greed ruled this society.Those were great times for us regular folk. After all, we were taught that is what built this country and made it great. At least that's what they taught us at our school and was confirmed by observing the work ethic of the older generation of my family. The newer generation, now that's a whole different ballgame. Any wonder why a large part of our young society have more respect for money than themselves. No matter how we try to teach them, they still have eyes and are not blind to what we are constantly told and shown is success. Alas, I'm afraid the early years will just stay a memory. You can sure tell the folks that made the big leap though. They just don't get it. There is a reason a very large percentage of younger people who get their news from JS. They're smart enough to know not to trust the propaganda that comes out of America's main stream media and I say kudos to JS for having the ba**s to help expose the truths. And Laniel, I've never seen JS say "We just make it up". He constantly says, "could we make this stuff up" or "we couldn't make this stuff up". I as well as my 22yr. old daughter watch his show regularly. I find it refreshing he presents things that you almost never see in the main stream media. What is called journalism today is nothing more than a joke most of the time. I'd rather have it delivered to me by a real comedian. This view that I speak comes from a 49yr. old man that worked his way to near the top, fell to the bottom and is climbing back up again. I choose to try to climb through hard work again, only this time I'll be comfortable part way up the hill viewing the mindless a**es above me. I do know 1 thing for sure, this climb is much harder than the 1st in large part because of the lack of representation of our leaders. A testament to the times. As I said, shame on us all for not holding our leaders accountable.

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