Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jon Stewart v. Jim Cramer

In case you missed all the "dust-up" between Jon Stewart (Daily Show) and Jim Cramer (from Mad Money), there are a couple of videos you might want to watch. Jon Stewart hit Cramer pretty hard for his part in the news business putting entertainment over accuracy. Stewart really complained heavy about the accuracy of the reporting and argued that the news media like Cramer are actually "guilty of a sin of commission" not one of "omission." Stewart was pretty angry and admitted it saying this is "not a $$%%^ game."

First, the background of the sparring before Jim Cramer's appearance on Comedy Central:

Second, the comedy central appearance. This full show is available at over at The Daily Show. Here are some of the highlights:

So, what is the role of cable news financial reporting? Not to be too hard on Mad Money, which does present in an entertainment style, but Jon Stewart has a valid point about responsibility. Not just with Jim Cramer, but with business news on a greater scale. Jim Cramer explains at one point that we all should have seen this coming (including him). That is, people began to believe that the market would just continue to go up. Listening to the video, there is still an impression that part of Stewart's message did not get through. That Cramer perhaps doesn't get it. A lot of people lost a lot of money, many of them ordinary people saving for their children's college or retirement or those already in retirement. For sure, Cramer's Mad Money is supposed to be targeted at money invested for purposes other than retirement, but does that exculptate him (and others) from careful reporting?

The business media should be held to a higher standard of reporting due to its ability to influence financial decision-making. Again, this is not a game. Tough night for Jim Cramer.


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