Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Want This To Get Ugly

If you've been following the recent Jim Cramer / Jon Stewart feud, you're probably already aware that Cramer will be appearing on The Daily Show Thursday for the title bout.

Now, up until this point, Stewart has mostly hit three honest and unassailable points:
  1. By a luxurious margin, neither CNBC nor Jim Cramer live up to their marketing slogans.
  2. Their failure to do so makes them at least as dumb as Rick Santelli's "losers" who took on mortgages they couldn't afford.
  3. Like Stewart's last famous cable news target, Crossfire, many of CNBC's shows have titles (Squawk Box, Mad Money, Fast Money) that betray a serious contempt for the viewers' intelligence, while actually attempting to convey a smirking, insouciant camaraderie with the audience.
There's a good chance Cramer's appearance will be a gentle ribbing on par with Bill O'Reilly's appearance. However, it would be really great if Stewart and the team ambushed Cramer on the long circulating accusations of his illegal activity and market manipulation.

Here's one example of what I'd like to hear come up, taken from former Columbia Journalism Review editor Mark Mitchell's long expose on a still developing short-selling scandal:

Not long before [Jim] Cramer announced his SEC subpoenas, Rocker sold all of his shares in Cramer sold around $2 million of his own shares. If Cramer knew about the SEC investigation before he sold his shares, which was almost certainly the case, he was trading on insider information - another jailable offense.

But Cramer don’t know nothin’ about nothin’. And Herb thinks the SEC investigation is an outrage. So Herb and Cramer have commandeered CNBC. They are live on CNBC. Herb has jabbered something about a conspiracy - a conspiracy to get Herb.

And now Cramer is going to show us something.

He’s pulled out a big, red magic marker. Veins are popping, rope-like, from his bald cranium. And he’s snarling. Cramer is actually snarling while he uses the big red magic marker to scribble something on a piece of paper.

He holds the paper up to the camera.

It’’s his government subpoena...Cramer has vandalized his government subpoena! On live TV... in big red letters...

It says, "BULL!"

[This and more via Daily Kos diarist TocqueDeville]

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