The cable and network news has been focused on the oddity of The Daily Show this whole week. Usually, cable news programs might show a clip or two from TDS throughout the week, just for fun. But this week Jon Stewart did something that “real” journalists were loathe to do: criticize their own bad work and information.
It all started on Monday when Jon Stewart showed a classic mash-ups of CNBC anchors, journalists and hosts giving horrible advice to investors, often on the eve of one of the great financial/banking/investment meltdowns over the past year. Concluding the mash-up, Jon Stewart looked into the camera and added his editorial: “F-ck you.”
Most CNBC people in the mash-up kept quiet. But Mad Money host Jim Cramer did not, complaining that his segments in the mash-up were “taken out of context”. The next day, Jon Stewart showed even more clips of Mad Money, this time “in context”, which made it even worse. Cramer again responded, mocking Stewart as “a comedian.” Jon’s response? “You don’t have to make ‘comedian’ sound like a venereal disease.” Then he gave Cramer his own personal two-word salute again: “F-ck you.”
It was all a build-up for last night’s
appearance by Jim Cramer on The Daily Show. CNN has the best run-down of what happened next:
After a week of pointed verbal barbs, host Jon Stewart sat face-to-face with financial analyst Jim Cramer on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and continued the assault Thursday. Stewart blamed Cramer and cable network CNBC for being irresponsible cheerleaders in the lead-up to the stock market meltdown.
Stewart, whose acerbic brand of satire centers largely on the political news of the day, has held Cramer’s frenetic, nearly cartoonish, stock-advice show, “Mad Money,” and other CNBC programming up as examples of an anything-goes attitude that contributed to the financial collapse.
“I understand you want to make finance entertaining, but it’s not a [expletive] game,” Stewart said during the recorded interview, segments of which aired on Thursday night. “When I watch that, I can’t tell you how angry that makes me.”
Stewart’s blistering criticism of Cramer this week has included a censored, two-word phrase he spoke into the camera after airing video of Cramer enthusiastically urging viewers to buy stock in Bear Stearns. The global investment bank and brokerage firm collapsed soon after the comments aired and was eventually sold with stock prices less than one-fifth what they were when Cramer pushed them.
Cramer has fired back. In a string of interviews with NBC news outlets affiliated with CNBC. Cramer disputed some of Stewart’s claims and noted times he’s made more cautious comments about the economy.
In one interview, he sarcastically feigned distress at being attacked by a comedian and, on an appearance on Thursday’s “The Martha Stewart Show,” pounded a wad of dough with a rolling pin, pretending it was Stewart’s face.
“Mr. Cramer, don’t you destroy enough dough on your own show … ?” Stewart said early in The Daily Show. After declaring he’s a “big fan of the show,” Cramer appeared contrite during the interview.
“I think that everyone could come in under criticism because we all should have seen it more,” Jim Cramer said. “I don’t think anyone should be spared in this environment.”
Cramer pushed back very little in an interview far more serious than most that Stewart conducts.
He complained when Stewart suggested CNBC’s reporters are “in bed” with Wall Street financiers and said he’s worked with government officials to try to crack down on abuses in the industry.
“Absolutely, there’s shenanigans, and we should call them out,” Cramer said. “Everyone should. I should do a better job at it.”
Stewart did call it “unfortunate” that Cramer has become the prime whipping boy in a larger complaint — “the gap between what CNBC advertises itself as and what it is.”
“We’re both snake-oil salesmen to a certain extent,” Stewart said. “But we do label it ‘snake oil’ here.”
I want to marry Jon Stewart. I don’t even care that he’s already married, I’d happily be his second, secret wife. I love when he gets righteously angry. Stewart has always seemed like one of the most under-rated interviewers in the media today – his pieces make the other news programs all the time, and even when he hates the person he’s talking to, he’s always respectful and he always listens.
Jon Stewart’s work this week mocking CNBC hasn’t gone unnoticed. He has changed the conversations the news shows were doing on the financial crisis – and he’s made them turn inward and question their own shoddy work.