So apparently the financial news media has taken Jim Cramer's interview on The Daily Show
like a kick to the balls. America watched, and laughed, and went on with their lives (gathering cardboard boxes, killing rats for dinner, etc.), but the corner of the news industry I inhabit went kind of apeshit. Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impersonation on Saturday Night Live
aside, I've never seen furrowed-brow straight-up news types like the Associated Press
show so much interest in a single episode of a cable comedy show. (They don't generally do fluff pieces the way the regional papers do. Who, incidentally, have the hyperbole turned up to LEVEL 9 -MAX-. "Jon Stewart Ices Jim Cramer,"
bellows Robert Schlesinger from U.S. News and World Report
. "Is Jon Stewart The Most Trusted Man In America?"
adulates a headline in the New York Times
. If you could use the word "pwned" in a major commercial newspaper, you'd be seeing it everywhere right now.) CNBC has responded by advertising the bejeezus out of Cramer's Mad Money
24/7. The newest commercial features footage from that clip of Jon Stewart amicably poking fun at Cramer's "THIS IS ARMAGEDDON!!" meltdown after the subprime crisis, as if to point out that YES EVEN JON STEWART ADMITS CRAMER IS NOT FULL OF SHIT PLEASE LET US HAVE SOME CREDIBILITY PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. (Despite what Wikipedia and The Huffington Post
say, a few Google News searches verify that it's still too early to tell what effect the interview had on CNBC's ratings. It's only true that no publicity is bad publicity if your credibility hasn't been dynamited.) CNBC's head honcho Jeff Zucker made some offhand comments about it at some kind of boring media industry meeting, saying that Stewart's comments weren't fair
and that it was preposterous to assert that CNBC caused the financial crisis. Way to straw-man, Zucker--Stewart never even implied that. Failing to report an impending disaster isn't the same as causing one!
Editorialists on Wall Street are unamused. But fuck them.
As for the rest of the news media...opinions vary. On one hand you've got The Atlantic
hyperbolically comparing Stewart to Edward Murrow, on the other you've got the snivelling douchebag from Crossfire
(who Jon Stewart also famously chewed out, btw, leading to Crossfire
being cancelled by MSNBC) playing the nitpicking missing-the-forest-for-the-trees apologist
. And then way down in the right ring toe you've got the BBC
, explaining the event to a British audience which has never seen either The Daily Show
or Mad Money
, and interviewing their own business editor
, Robert Peston, so he can editorialize, inside what is supposed to be news coverage, that the BBC would never resort to the kind of shoddy American news journalism that Stewart criticizes. He also says, somewhat alarmingly: "If Stewart tried to do that over here, I think he'd look like an idiot because I don't think there's evidence for falling down on the job in remotely the same way. I don't think it's possible to do it because the evidence isn't there of a complacent, or self-satisfied, or lazy, or unduly optimistic media." American English translation: "Stewart, if you try that shit on our turf we will fuck you up." Which is quite bold, considering that The Daily Show
is merely the American heir to a long and storied legacy of excellent British faux news television
, all of which heavily satirize the self-importance of the BBC.
Upon being asked what he thought of the interview, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs simply responded: "I enjoyed it thoroughly."
Was it as good for you, Gibbs, as it was for me?