Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Silence Was Deafening

MSNBC Barely Touches Stewart vs. Cramer

Every time someone uses the phrase,"liberal media," I look for the nearest brick wall on which to pound my head against.

In anticipation for the Jon Stewart/Jim Cramer knock-down-drag-out, Cramer took to the airwaves of the morning shows in his defense to attempt to rehabilitate his image and rebut his main critic with a specific message: "A comedian’s attacking me. Wow. He runs a variety show." I remember him saying it at least twice. He appeared on the Today show, got Joe Scarborough to shill for him on Morning Joe, and even pounded dough with Martha Stewart.

After the bloodletting, Joe Scarborough was touting an exclusive interview with Cramer on Morning Joke™ using Twitter.

I even got up at an ungodly hour to watch. No Cramer. Then this.

So much for Jim Cramer taking it like a man. Did he no-show or was he cancelled? Maybe the latter.

..."MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today." In fact, the only time it came up on MSNBC was during the White House briefing, when a member of the press corps asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if Pres. Obama watched. Gibbs wasn't sure if the president had, but Gibbs did. "I enjoyed it thoroughly," the Press Secretary said.

Keith... Keith... Why have you forsaken us?

The biggest disappointment in all of this is that the "liberal media" (namely MSNBC according to its detractors) took its marching orders with the culmination of Keith Olbermann completely ignoring what was probably one of the best journalism pieces this short year. Not. A. Word. And the silence was deafening.

Now we all know what side KO's bread is buttered on, but I think this qualified as a pretty big news story and if Olbermann doesn't think he can mention it because of a conflict of interest with separate NBC network entities, then he actually did no better than Jim Cramer.

Luckily, there is still one person on the MSNBC line up that kept her integrity.

Yes, Rachel Maddow framed the feature of this "Dust Up!" story in regards to what millions were interested in, in comparison to other newsworthy stories... but she mentioned it. She didn't ignore it like the rest of the day of MSNBC programming, from Morning Joke™ to hours of inane coverage of that missing Halleigh girl to even more news of Anna Nicole Smith two years after her death. That's what they talked about. But something that happened to one of their own in the NBC family? Mum's the word.

Chris Matthews, who got his own drubbing in my opinion with the Ari Fleischer crapfest, ignored it. David Shuster? Did he mention it? Apparently not, since it seems to be the talk of the intertubes that except for Maddow, the Cramer story was ignored (please correct me if I'm wrong).

Let's not forget that this isn't some little side story about television personality rumbles. This was the true outing of the lack of financial oversight and regulations that have put our government in an economic crisis that we all fear, an admission from a former hedge fund manager as to how the inside game is played because the SEC doesn't understand it, as well as a complete deficiency of investigative journalism on the part of the financial "reporters" on financial news networks like CNBC and Fox Business Channel. If they have doubts about a certain company, do they seriously expect a CEO of said company to come on their show for an interview and be honest?

As for Jim Cramer, he was the only other NBC regular that actually mentioned "what happened yesterday" on his Friday broadcast, proving to all that it was going to be "business as usual" on his show, bell, whistles, red buttoned sound effects, plastic sledgehammers and all. So much for the promise of change, Mr. Cramer. So much for the promise of change.

Excuse me while I go find a brick wall.


Anonymous said...

Comeback to us Keith! fox&the post are going to have a field day at your expense pointing out you engaging in the same sheer hypocrisy that you always accuse them of.All kidding aside you do owe your loyal viewers an apology for not even mentioning the subject.Keith Olberman todays worst person in the world!

Matt Osborne said...

I for one actually liked Cramer better after seeing him come on the show and take his lumps like a man. Hopefully he's learned his lesson.

Broadway Carl said...

Matt - apparently he didn't judging by the video I linked.

Cramer Says "Business As Usual"

Chris Anderson said...

Anyone who felt that there was any chance that Cramer would change his tone, let alone his format is willfully ignoring the old adage: "Judge a man by his actions, nhot by his words"

Showing up on Stewart and taking a public drubbing wasn't a very difficult thing for Cramer to do. In fact, it's possible that he'll come away from this smelling like a rose. He's still got a ton a money, a very popular show, a reputation as a maverick (that will likely only be enhanced for being willing to do the Stewart interview), and didn't open himself up to any criminal charges.

Cramer isn't a journalist, he's wacky stock picker. To hold him up to journalistic standards is missing the mark. Cramer's not the guy (as Stewart admitted) that he's really gunning for. He just stepped in to take the heat on behalf of everyone else at CNBC who f'ed up.

As satisfying and cathartic as it was to watch Stewart take down Cramer, there is no doubt in my mind that nothing will be changed by it. No one will hold CNBC, Bloomberg, the WSJ, the Economist, or any other news agency to a higher standard because of what happened.

Broadway Carl said...

Cramer isn't a journalist, he's wacky stock picker. To hold him up to journalistic standards is missing the mark.

That very well may be the case, Chris, but besides Cramer, if you asked anyone on CNBC to describe what they do, whether it be Maria Bartiromo, Erin Burnett or that asswipe Mark Haines, they would probably tell you they are financial reporters or financial journalists.

The fact is that investigative journalism is dead in this country. Political, world news finanacial; they are all just talking heads that repeat what's told to them without finding out the actual facts to back up the report.

Yes, Cramer became the face of this mess because he was stupid enough to speak out and say he was misrepresented, but he's supposed to be giving you advice on what he knows, he's not just guessing. And as Stewart said, it isn't about Cramer, it's about the financial reporting industry as a whole.

I'm going to disagree with your assessment that nothing will come of this. I think that over time, this story will eat away at any ratings Mad Money, and CNBC as a whole, has going for it and will take a turn for the worse. Even I would watch Cramer every once in a while and thought that even if he was wacky, he had credibility. Not anymore - and others will see that soon.

Only time will tell.

Chris Anderson said...

I'm not so sure that Cramer's coming forward wasn't a plan. Though I usually leave the conspiracy theory to my dear friend Armadillo Joe [;-) ], I think there's a good chance in this case that Cramer was "taking one for the team", as it were.

If Cramer was sent out as the public face of CNBC, then having him take the licking from Stewart deflects some of the harsher criticism that is due all the other windbags there. It satisfies the public bloodlust and desire for a scapegoat, all the while leaving the network free to continue going about it's business, which is providing skewed information to a biased audience.

I hope I'm wrong and that you're analysis is closer to the truth, Carlos. The only way to be sure that the necessary change happens is for the public to keep up the pressure on news orgs like CNBC. If Stewart keeps at this crusade, something good may indeed come out of this. But I have little faith that reforming corrupt journalistic practices is going to keep the attention of the writers of The Daily Show for more than a couple of weeks.

Broadway Carl said...

I get what you're saying Chris, but remember that Stewart was going after CNBC in general when Cramer decided to stick his head in the guillotine, whether he intended to on his own or was forced to.

Either way, Stewart is too smart to become distracted and make this solely about Cramer - as he said during the interview, "This song ain't about you." It's about that industry as a whole. We'll see.

At the very least, she shined a spotlight on the hypocrisy and lack of seriousness that is the financial journalism cable networks.

Broadway Carl said...

Ultimately, Chris, the point of my post was the utter disappointment of the lack of coverage, most glaringly, Olbermann's omission.

Their lack of journalistic integrity made them no better than the financial reporters they were condemning all week.

Anonymous said...

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.