The Jon Stewart - Jim Cramer interview was a real cultural moment. You should really watch the extended interview if you haven't already.
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I was impressed with Jon Stewart and I'm glad to see actual reporting happening again. This interview really makes you squirm with awkwardness and it helps to let Jon rage for you at all of the craziness that takes place in our country's financial sector.
That being said, I have a few problems with the interview. I felt like a lot of anger was misdirected at Cramer. He's essentially a Wall Street Pundit who puts on an entertainment show. I think the point is valid that he may be disingenously promoting himself to be an all-knowing guide through the economic storm, but who really expects the SELL, SELL, SELL guy to be a spokesman for an entire network?
People are mad right now and we have the right to be. We should be examining how we all played a part in the economic meltdown, the traders and the borrowers. No one has really discussed how the media let us down on this one, and I'm glad to see the conversation get started. But let's be clear: Stewart is accusing CNBC of not doing 'investigative financial journalism'. Is that really the expectation that veiwers have of CNBC? To get them all the facts and expose those corrupt CEOs? I would argue that that exectation does not exsit.
I view CNBC in the same light as the E! channel. It has a particular demographic that wants to hear vaguly reassuring/ interesting tidbits of information. Perhaps you'll look forward to an E! Hollywood Story, but I'm not going to bank my entire future on what E! tells me a high school friend says about Mickey Rourke. CNBC exists for traders and for the E-trade market warriors of the world, but shouldn't be and isn't the sole financial beakon for serious people. At least Cramer talks to people about what to look for and the importance of doing their own research before investing.
I think there is plenty of blame to go around with respect to financial reporting, but I think it's soft to go after a cable news financial network for being defferentail to titans of Wall Street.
Still, this is some awesome TV. I'm Netflix-ing Frost/Nixon right this minute.