Schlock Market Smackdown

From the Los Angeles Times:

The “weeklong feud of the century” reached its climax Thursday night as Jon Stewart welcomed freshly minted nemesis Jim Cramer to ” The Daily Show.”

Cramer, who hosts the CNBC show “Mad Money,” had figured heavily in a “Daily Show” piece highlighting that network’s poor track record on the financial apocalypse, an attack originally inspired by reporter Rick Santelli’s diatribe against over-leveraged homeowners. (“If I only followed CNBC’s advice,” Stewart said then, “I’d have a million dollars today — provided I’d started with $100 million.”)

When Cramer objected publicly to what he considered unfair treatment, Stewart and his writers, smelling comedy blood, turned their sights toward him. Or, as the host described it last night, “We threw some Boston cream pies at CNBC, you got a little, obviously, shmutz on your jacket from it, you took exception, and then we decided to hit you with pies.”


The back-and-forth generated a lot of Web hits to the Comedy Central page and comments among the punditry, taking on a patina of “news” and turning a comic riff into a self-inflating media moment: “People on TV have talked about how much people on TV have talked about it,” “Daily Show” announcer Drew Birns intoned with customary mock gravity at the opening of last night’s show, which was being pitched like some WWE grudge match, excited certainly by memories of Stewart’s 2004 dust-up with Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala of CNN’s “Crossfire.”

Stewart’s point this time was much the same: that CNBC practiced irresponsible journalism while selling itself as a source of superior insight and information.


Although Stewart took some care to separate Cramer personally from his larger attack on CNBC — whose misrepresentation of the financial crisis as “some sort of crazy once-in-a-lifetime tsunami that nobody could have seen coming” he called “disingenuous at best and criminal at worst” — the net he was throwing was certainly meant to include him.


Cramer is a star in his own world, but in the larger hierarchy of cable TV and pop-political culture, “The Daily Show” ranks higher than “Mad Money.” And though he had told Martha Stewart earlier that “I’m going to have to fight back. I’m not a doormat,” he came off as chastened, conciliatory, pleading and overwhelmed:

“I try really hard to make as many good calls as I can.”

“I should do a better job.”

“I wish I’d done a better job.”

“I’m trying. I’m trying.”

Jon Stewart had a home-court advantage, of course, as well as a few damning clips, not meant for broadcast, of Cramer describing, in a positive way, certain barely to not-even-barely legal things a hedge fund manager might do to work the market to his advantage. And he also had editorial control — the interview that went out over the air was cut for time; Cramer comes off somewhat better in the complete exchange, which is available online. But what makes Stewart formidable is that he also has a passion greater than the irony in which it is often couched.

Cramer, who repeatedly characterized the illegal and merely immoral doings of the market as “shenanigans,” tried to downplay his own importance […]


Stewart was having none of it. “I understand you want to make finance entertaining,” he said, “but . . . you knew what the banks were doing and yet were touting it for months and months. . . . These guys were on a Sherman’s march through their companies financed by our 401(k)s, and all the incentives for their companies were for short term . . . and they . . . walked away rich as hell. And you guys knew it was going on.”

Closing the show, Stewart added, “I hope that was as uncomfortable to watch as it was to do.”

Just a note–If you clicked over to the Crossfire poster, please be aware that it was done in MSPaint. It was before I learned Photoshop, but I was rather proud of the result. If you asked me to recreate it in MSPaint today, there’s no way on earth I could do it.


Filed under humor, Maria Bartiromo, Media, parody, politics, snark, television, Tucker Carlson, Wordpress Political Blogs

10 responses to “Schlock Market Smackdown

  1. jeb

    I watched the full interview online. I’ve also seen pundits either cheering on Stewart or bemoaning how unfair he is.

    The astounding part is that there is even any debate about what Stewart has done here or what he did in 2004 with Carlson and Begala. He pointed out the obvious that no one else would do.

    Hell, I’m no financial whiz – sometimes I feel really proud of myself for just balancing my checkbook – but even I knew 8 years ago that the financial and real estate markets were going to come crashing down at some point. There was nothing tangible holding them up. My only shock was that it didn’t happen much earlier.

    • i didn’t see a moment of unfairness, and, i confess, i actually felt a bit sorry for cramer for a moment (but it was fleeting). there was no gotcha journalism. cramer knew why he was going to be there. he had a long time to think up a rebuttal, but he couldn’t. instead, he made the rounds of every show he could get himself invited to, and tried a p.r. campaign. look at me! i bake pies with martha stewart! (by the way–martha stewart? ummm, she was in jail for lying about insider trading. was that really the best show for cramer right now? just sayin’…) that tells me that he had no good excuses or explanations.

      the really amazing thing is that none of the news shows or the newspapers ever took notice of–make that, never too exception with– anything that the financial channels were saying until rick santelli made an ass of himself. of course, they only discussed how many youtube hits he got, not what he said. it took a comedy show to smack so-called journalists in the face. i think it’s pretty clear that there are no news organizations in this country anymore. there are only entertainment outlets and advertisers.

      p.s. did you notice where i put the copyright? i was very proud of that, but i wondered if anyone would notice. 😀

      • In the stock ticker! Very good!

        So, do I get another Baked Alaska?

        • yayyyy!!! i was going to wait to see if anyone noticed that i didn’t put the usual © at the bottom of the pic and went looking for it. of course, i got antsy and couldn’t wait to see if anyone noticed. 🙂

          no baked alaska, silly! i still have all these pies left over from π day!

  2. Most excellent work, Nonnie! I find it a sad testament to our country and our times that it takes a comedy show host to get the truth out on the airwaves. That being said, Jon Stewart is an amazing man for doing this. It reminds me of when no one was allowed to criticize the shrub until Colbert was brave enough to humiliate the shrub at the correspondents dinner. After that, much more “truthiness” prevailed.

    Thank goodness Colbert & Stewart are using their popularity to get this message out. Both men have done this country a great service.

    Now, it’s up to us to turn up the heat on the corporate-owned mainstream media.

    • i agree with everything you said, helen. one would hope that the msm would hang their heads in shame, but we all know that they might do a momentary mea culpa, but then they will go right back to their cushy little jobs, transcribing notes for the corporate shills. cnn and faux news will use the kerfuffle as a reason to skewer the competition. they won’t, however, look in the mirror and admit that they are no better. the print journalists will do the same–point their fingers at tv journalists, but they’ll never accept their own culpability.

  3. It is ironic that Jon Stewart and a comedy show instead of the regulators or news media had to bring all of this public. Also in Cramers defense he is far less guilty than most of the other financial media for their efforts together with Wall Street, the politicians & incompetent regulators for what has happened.

    While I enjoy watching Cramer every night, one must remember the show is primarily entertainment. The financial networks exist to promote their advertisers financial and investment products. Who would expect them to warn about the credit bubble or coming Washington national debt collapse which will destroy much of the remaining private wealth in America today or what this will do to the dollar, the stock market, bonds, gold or the real estate market?

    China is now worried about their dangerous over investment in US Treasury obligations. Washington ’s long-term choice is either repudiation or monetization. For monetization to be effective, the depreciation in the dollar would have to be substantial and this in turn would dramatically raise prices of imports for American consumers which would mean a tremendous drop in foreign imports. Debt monetization would cause more disruption to exporting nations than selective repudiation of Treasury debt.

    The Campaign to Cancel the Washington National Debt By 12/22/2013 Constitutional Amendment is starting now in the U.S. See:


    Ron with 30 plus years in the investment business and banking industry.

    • hello ron,
      welcome to the raisin! 😀

      i agree with you that it should not have been up to a comedian to expose what is going on in the market today. however, i disagree with you on the amount of guilt the financial networks should accept.

      first let me say that i don’t watch cnbc or any of the other financial channels. i’ve only seen cramer on other news shows, and he seems like an ass to me. jon stewart said that his focus was on the network and not just on cramer. cramer made it about cramer. that aside, i think the networks are designed to be entertainment and promotional shows. in other words, they are infomercials. however, they don’t describe or display themselves as such. instead, they purport to be news shows about the economy and finance and investment. people listen and trust them and invest based on what they say. if they were honest, they would have a banner at the bottom of the screen with a disclaimer that their advise is based on who their advertisers and owners are, rather than on the market and facts.

  4. That poster makes me want to renew my offer to bring you to Texas, provide you with a bank of computers and graphics software and support you just so you can keep them coming.
    You really are brilliant, my dear.