My immediate reaction is that the whole experience hurt to watch. It would be great if someone could explain to me why Jim Cramer did not stay home.
Jon Stewart in brief: people like Jim Cramer sell stock trading as a clever game, knowing full well that small investors like his viewers will get creamed if they follow his manic trade-every-day advice. His network works like a cheap PR firm for the major criminals of the mortgage investment bubble and bears all the more guilt because most people in it saw through the happy bullshit they sold to the rubes.
Cramer responds: Every time I met one of my good friend CEOs he told me everything was fine! Now that a truck-squashed rattlesnake can tell who the criminals are I make useless noises of disapproval on my show. What else could I do?
Cramer must follow some obscure school of rhetoric where that even counts as a response. Want to know if a firm is in trouble? Interview the CEO! There’s no way that the down to earth guy who the board would f*cking lynch if he told the press anything other than happy nonsense would lie to you.
By the way, Cramer’s pathetic performance emphasizes an important weakness of celebrity journalism. It is not a coincidence that CNBC reporters do crappy journalism and worship access to the top names. If Jim Cramer did his job as a journalist then celebrixecutivess like Vikram Pandit would stop talking to him. Believe it or not this explains a shocking range of journalism’s symptoms. Why do reporters grant anonymity to the most inane and innocuous statements? Why does lying to reporters never seem to have a consequence? Why Judith Miller?
The answer is that reporters want important people to keep taking their calls. For a reason that escapes me, people who are paid to understand politics all seem to think that “access” to people with a PR staff will get them some special insight when the only difference between speaking to them anonymously and asking their spokesperson is that the person can lie and most people will never know. Naturally the public would know if you called him on it, but then he wouldn’t take your calls. Catch 22!
Somewhere on the internets (late. lazy.) there is a passage where Seymour Hersh explains his strategy for breaking original stories. First he gets to know ordinary people who work in insteresting places. Occasionally one of them passes on something interesting. He calls other ordinary people to follow it up. After a while he has a complete story and calls the important people involved, but surprisingly they often don’t want to talk to him. In the end Hersh and journalists like him (off the top of my head, Murray Waas, Charlie Savage, Scott Horton and a few others) don’t get to pass on gossipy baloney directly from the source. Instead they have to settle for a real story and an on-the-record semi-non-denial from someone’s spokesman.
I can see how that would sound crazy and disingenuous to Cramer and the guys at CNBC.
See the whole interview here.