"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stewart vs CNBC Showdown

Poor Jim Cramer. Nothing worse is being on the receiving end of an enraged Jon Stewart. The reason why is several. One is Jon very rarely expresses it as real anger (the last time was Crossfire) so it just builds. Another is he a real problem with journalism in this day and age. Specifically journalists’ current refusal to do their most basic job - seeking out the truth. Instead the simply regurgitate what other people tell them at face value.

Oh, a CEO says the company is fine! Then it must be because he has no reason to lie. A real journalist would ask a CEO their viewpoint after an investigation has found or not found anything. Sadly, investigation is the problem. Journalisms simply don't do that. Their idea of investigating is checking their email for a story that is practically pre-written, do a polish, make a phone call or two for comment and publish. If email suddenly stopped working, I don't think most journalists would even know what to do.

This doesn't even cover the TV talking heads. They rarely only know what the teleprompter and the producer whispering in their ear tells them to know. They are "experts" only in their head. This can easily be verified by their total inability to engage in valid follow-up questions or highlight contradiction in answers. They have a script, a basic opinion and that is the only road they know how to follow.

Which brings us back to Stewart. He truly and deeply believes in the role and power of journalism. He sees TV, newspapers, etc as a powerful force for good and I think it deeply angers him how that potential is now wasted. Everywhere are these talking heads whose primary goals seem to be self aggrandizement or maintaining the status quo instead of the primary goals as a seeker of the truth. If you look at the Daily Show over the last 10 years, its uses comedy is the tool they use to achieve that very goal every day.

Unlike the talking heads, Jon knows his subject. He drinks up the news and journalism so it isn't coming from a place of teleprompters and vague knowledge of the headlines. The result is he asks very valid questions that NO ONE has asked of CNBC and their so-called experts. They spent the last 10 years helping to dig the economic grave we are in, pretty much refusing to ask the questions that might have avoided this mess. Instead they chose to regurgitate Wall Street's wishes (see Santelli for proof) without questions or investigation. The interview below is a culmination of that outrage in wanting to know why day after day, year after year, why CNBC not did their job as journalists. Every single person at that network failed to do their job and the question of "Why?" has yet to be answered.

Journalism is supposed to be the watchdogs of government, commerce and the public. They are supposed to find the truth, to ask the questions that the public may not realize they should be asking. As the Bush years show, as Iraq, and now this have shown, journalists have clearly abdicated their role as our sentinels to the truth.

"Who watches the watchmen?" Apparently it’s Jon Stewart. I hope he does this more often instead of every four years.

Below is the full interview complete with cuss words so not safe for work.


  1. 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: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=67594690498&ref=ts


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

  2. I wish it could be true that Jon Stewart was interested in being a real journalist. Alas, he too leans heavily to one side and has an agenda that isn't exactly selfless. I think Jim Cramer is a fool, but I would never say Stewart rides above him. Another cable media guy trying to get ratings like Jim Cramer and that's what that was about. If he was serious it wouldn't have become a shout-fest.