The buzz today is Cramer's appearance on Jon Stewart's show. I've been of two minds about this whole fooforaw, which is why I haven't blogged about it. On the one hand, I am not a fan of financial cable news (Bloomberg usually excepted). I think Jim Cramer should be illegal. Anyone who invests money based on one of these networks, or Wall Street Week, should seriously consider making themselves a ward of the court. Anyone in the business who goes on one of those shows is talking their book. If anyone has a good way to make money above and beyond broad, boring strategies like stock indices or bond funds, will not tell you about it.
So Jim Cramer should be illegal, presumably meaning arrested for admitting on tape to illegal practices while running a hedge fund. But what does McArdle think the purpose of the business channel is except give financial advice? If nobody were to take it seriously there would be no reason for it to exist. It isn't that entertaining to see people sit around in suits talking about money. And the anchors aren't entertainers, with the possible exception of Cramer. No, the stated purpose and the behavior of the anchors amply demonstrate that the network is meant to be taken seriously. It's just not an issue, unless you're trying to excuse inexcusable behavior. Glibly stating that nobody takes CNBC seriously when it is televised into countless homes and provides countless hours of financial information is just dishonest. Maybe McArdle doesn't take it seriously but a lot of other people do and you can't just hand-wave them away.
If anyone has a good way to make money above and beyond broad, boring strategies like stock indices or bond funds, will not tell you about it.
This is a non-sequitur. The network reports on the stock and bond markets primarily.
On the other hand, the Jon Stewart video that touched this off was clearly misleading.
McArdle can't be bothered to back up this statement with a single example. If your are going to call someone misleading, you must prove it.
I do watch these channels, not for the interview but for the tickers and the breaking financial news.
I watch these channels too, interviews included. I've seen hundreds if not thousands of hours of CNBC in the last four years.
And it was obvious from the clips that half of them were anchors and reporters simply quoting someone else--it's the equivalent of dinging someone for using a racial epithet in the context of discussing racial epithets.
No, it isn't. This is either a lie or a gross misunderstanding due to stupidity. CNBC purports to report honestly on the financial world. They are either idiots or tools for not seeing any of this financial storm coming, and indeed actively fought against the idea of anything untoward in the financial industries. Goldilocks economy, greatest story never told, Bush Boom--I watched these anchors suck up to power and worship at the feet of billionaires, fluff up GE stock, lie about what was going on around them, and endlessly cheer lead on Bush, Paulson, and Goldman Sachs. And now that a Democrat is president and must clean up the financial mess, Cramer and Larry Kudlow are especially vituperative in accusing Obama of destroying the economy and ushering in socialism.
Ultimately, I find Stewart disturbing because in some sense he's doing exactly what Cramer is--making powerful statements, and then when he gets called on him, retreating into the claim that well, you can't really expect him to act as if he were being taken seriously. Jim Cramer, whose stockpicking acumen seems slightly worse than your average monkey with a dartboard, frequently issues recommendations that people act on, then brushes off the failures with a shrug.
Ah, the old excuse that everyone who was ever burned by Stewart pulls out of his rear end. Her portentous intoning about the professional responsibilities of the comedy show and its host are ridiculous--a comedy show about the media is not the same thing as the media. This point is so very self-evident that nobody should be able to misunderstand it. Cramer purports to give stock advice. He says he's there to make people money, and people call into his show to get advice. It's what he and CNBC do. Stewart makes jokes about people. He doesn't report on the media, he makes fun of the media. Just like I don't report on economics, I make fun of Megan McArdle. You would think even an idiot would understand that.
Jon Stewart also shapes peoples' decisions.
No, he doesn't. He makes people laugh. They don't take him seriously. They laugh at his words and funny pictures.
Video is a medium with powerful claims to reality--people tend to think that if they saw it, it must be true.
Sure, very, very stupid people. Otherwise don't tell me people think Dora the Explorer and Jon Stewart are really discussing CNBC. It just makes me angry, I get sarcastic when I get angry.
This makes it uniquely good at manipulating its audience with skillful editing.
Bullshit. Okay, I get profane when I'm angry.
I'm very sympathetic to Stewart's deep critique of financial shows, but I don't think the way to go about it was to string together a bunch of very misleading clips.
Prove they were misleading. You can't, because they weren't.
Nor to imply that Santelli, who has been vocally against all bailouts from the beginning, was merely frothing on the foreclosure program because ordinary taxpayers were finally getting a taste of federal largesse.
Stewart was slamming Santelli for calling people losers for trusting people like Santelli. Which McArdle really should be able to figure out.
But Stewart carefully claims he's just an entertainer, so he has no obligation to hew to journalistic standards on things like quoting out of context.
That's right. (Wrong about context, though.) Because he really is an entertainer, not a journalist. His show is a comedy show. It is not a news show. He is not a reporter. CNBC is a financial news show. It has people on it who really are supposed to be reporters. But I can understand that McArdle is confused, as she also seems to accept whatever a banker tells her. Which makes mining her archives for foolishness such a fruitful endeavor.