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Cramer Still Stinging From Stewart's Smackdown

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It's been more than a month since Jon Stewart clobbered Jim Cramer on The Daily Show. Why can't Cramer just let it go?

Speaking to the Ohio State University student newspaper in anticipation of his visit to the campus -- where Cramer's Mad Money show will be taped on Wednesday -- the fiery financial celebrity seems sore over what he considers a nationally televised ambush.

"He told my staff that it was going to be fun, convivial, no clips," Cramer told Ohio State's The Lantern. "Was it a fair fight? No, it wasn't even a fight. I came on with the idea of taking a high-road approach and discussing the issues, obviously [Stewart] came on strictly to try to humiliate me."

Cramer is clearly still smarting from the appearance, though he also points out that the confrontation with Stewart has boosted ratings of his show on General Electric's (NYSE: GE  ) majority-owned CNBC.

Good for him, but what did he think would happen? That he and Stewart would be talking about discounted cash flows over a mani-pedi?

You can't go back
"Don't do it, Jimbo," I urged, heading into the late-night showdown. "In defense of Cramer, I don't want to see him get mauled. As the poster child for financial journalism, if his ambassadorial skills take an uppercut to the face, we're all yelling "cut me, Mickey" after a losing round."

He certainly didn't heed -- or even read -- my advice. I only know that he read a critical article of mine from 2006, in which I took him to task for flip-flopping on Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) when a "buy and hold" strategy would have been more prudent. He responded graciously, but I guess vocal Cramer critics were few three years ago.

Cramer's far more famous these days. Perhaps that's why he's rubbing salt in last month's wounds, instead of allowing them to heal.

Never underestimate a comedian
Cramer's biggest mistake was growing too comfortable with Comedy Central. After a few well-received stints on The Colbert Report, he figured that he could get off lightly with Stewart.

He failed to realize that the country was feeling cheated by the financial markets, and that he'd just cast himself in the role of the scapegoat. Stewart is only a comedian, but history has a way of padding extra weight to the words of humorists like Mark Twain and Jonathan Swift when they take careful aim at prominent targets.

Just last night, Stewart was still taking shots at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) and AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) . That's old news to me. I've already bellyached about the public uproar over $168 million in AIG retention bonuses, which ignores the nearly $13 billion that AIG handed over to Goldman Sachs to make it whole on its claims. I even wondered whether the Teflon-coated Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) would be able to escape without a scrape.

Few cared. My pews are bare because I don't have a popular cable show. However, now that Stewart is picking apart Goldman Sachs and AIG -- and the ties between them and former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, which all lead to Goldman Sachs -- watch out.

Live and learn
Stewart may or may not know his financial markets, but Cramer forgot that Stewart knows his audience. Did Cramer really think that he'd be able to turn a lynch mob into a bed of booyahs?

This is no time to gamble. Cramer's (Nasdaq: TSCM  ) is juggling plenty of problems right now. Between last month's resignation of CEO Thomas Clarke and a round of layoffs, a little stability would be nice for Cramer's company in particular, and the industry in general.

Move on, Cramer. Learn your lesson and come back stronger: Don't remove the pin from any grenade that you're not willing to swallow.

Cram a little more Cramer dissection into your life:

Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection and a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is an occasional fan of Cramer and a perpetual fan of Stewart. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, save for Intuitive Surgical. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool's disclosure policy makes its points without wacky sound effects..

Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (27)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2009, at 6:24 PM, beatnik11 wrote:

    He came on a show and got mauled because he basically had an indefensable record. Seeing Cramer with his tail between his legs the whole time was rather sad and he was also caught red handed in a lie when stewart showed the old clips of him talking about how to manipulate a hedgefund. All Cramer could do is keep stating how he is doing what he can now to expose to dark underbelly of the financial industry, but such after the fact attempts do little to gain him respect since it was their job to do that before the bubble burst. Cramer may be an easy lightning rod to strike at and a casualty of this whole mess, but his enabling does not make him an innocent bystander.

  • Report this Comment On April 16, 2009, at 7:41 PM, CMFStan8331 wrote:

    Cramer is a fairly bright guy, but he's crippled by a massive ego. He knew or at least should have known full-well before he went on Stewart's show that he would be held to account for the comments of the Rick Santellis of the world. I thought Stewart actually did take it considerably easier on Cramer than he would have some of his CNBC brethren, who were smart enough to stay away. Ego is the only explanation for Cramer thinking he could skate through that interview unscathed. Cramer may have a somewhat better record of being less dishonest and disingenuous than many of his cohorts, but I wholeheartedly agree with beatnik11 - that does NOT make him an innocent victim.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 12:28 AM, JibJabs wrote:

    Cramer missed his opportunity to defend himself when he was on the show. He did not defend himself- okay, move on.

    I will say for him, though, that he appears to have learned a lesson. Maybe it's just my imagination, but he appears to have toned down his rhetoric a tad and is taking more time to explain the market. I don't follow it much, though, so I can't say for sure.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 1:25 AM, billabarou wrote:

    Disclaimer: I like JS and his show is mostly entertaining. I also am only somewhat familiar with Cramer.

    However, Stewart's behavior was (as it has been in the past) embarrassing. He is a passive-agressive bully in the same way Fox pundits are when hammering their prey. Stewart had a single purpose on that segment, and that was to humiliate Jim Cramer. No matter what Jim said or did, Stewart continued to unload the arsenal. JS does this a lot. He's got home court advantage, damning clips, and he has this way of interjecting silly self-effacing comments while he twists the knife in his quarry. I also find it tiresome that the guy deflects responsibility for his role in media. At the end of the day, he mugs at the camera and says "don't look at me, I just host a comedy show." Chicken. Time to own up to his responsibility as an opinion-maker.

    But I did learn an important thing that evening: apparently the whole financial crisis is CNBC's fault. Stewart broke that story!

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 5:52 AM, gindiantest wrote:
  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 11:07 AM, ely95125 wrote:

    As was once told, "Never come unarmed to a battle of wits."

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 11:21 AM, MADACASTO wrote:

    No shame on Cramer or Stewart. Shame on those who look at their words as gospel. Blame the lunkheads that listen to any of these guys and don't check their sources.

    Disclosure - The Daily Show and Colbert Report are the only shows on tv worth watching.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 12:59 PM, prakashojha wrote:

    Jon Stewart show has been funny by using comedians like Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert brilliantly ( now John Oliver).

    But Stewart himself has gradually turned into the Dem's Rush Limbaugh.

    During the week of his spirited CNBC-bashing , he lost one of his most loyal fans ( me ) . My only crib is that Cramer did not defend himself. He is the smarter , wittier guy but for reasons best known to himself, he acted like a wimp !!

    That "showdown" was the real DUMB and DUMBER.

    By the way , Stewart picked the bottom of the market to tell the world that CNBC has created the problem !! He can be added to George Soros's 'Shoe-shine boys'.

  • Report this Comment On April 17, 2009, at 1:20 PM, IRABound wrote:

    "Live and learn

    Stewart may or may not know his financial markets, but Cramer forgot that Stewart knows his audience."

    Cramer underestimated Stewart's intentions and he didn't do his own homework prior to the show. He wasn't prepared for what he got hit with. However, both are entertainment shows seeking popularity--and from all the publicity their getting over what happened, I'd say they got plenty of that.

  • Report this Comment On April 22, 2009, at 1:10 PM, ilovesum wrote:

    Cramer show is his opinion only , Stewart's show scrutinized him. I guess he didn't like that and is still whining about it. If he can't take the scrutiny then he shouldn't be a public figure.

    Cramer made money when the market was going up and everyone was making money. Now things are tough he took the sure money and went on TV. Why isn't he out there with the big boys in the market?

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