In Defense of the Crazy Bald Guy on Mad Money

15 03 2009

By J. Scott Gaillard

I’ve been one of the loudest and most consistent critics on CNBC and their shortcomings.  I’ve been after them for their biased reporting and politically charged commentary.  I’ve criticized them for their Dow-chasing and stock-hyping.  I’ve unloaded on them for their bad calls and slammed them for manipulating economic reality to fit their predetermined right-wing paradigm.

Their on-air personalities cut off former government leaders, who presided over better economic times, and berate them with ring-wing talking points.  These same personalities coddle, coo and praise CEOs who turn out to be dolts and company- killers. The same personalities cut off prescient academics who, years ago, predicted precisely what is now happening.

But, for all the clowns, entertainment monkeys and adrenalin freaks on CNBC, you can occasionally find insightful commentary, accurate reporting and trenchant analysis.  Occasionally, Jim Cramer is one of these guys.

It’s easy to criticize Crammer for his antics on the show, “Mad Money.”  He smashes boxes, tosses icons, hits buzzers and throws pies.  But, Cramer is also a guy that often provides some of the more penetrating and insightful segments.  Crammer is the guy that actually tries to help Joe and Jane every-person understand the vast complexity that is today’s economic environment and financial landscape.  He tires to break through the press release boilerplate, corporate spin and market manipulation to tell you what is actually going on.

Moreover, Crammer is the guy that has continually lampooned the Bush era regulators for being “of, by and for the corporations.”  Crammer is a guy with vast compassion and concern for the average investor.  Cramer is a guy who also displays great humility and admits many of his mistakes (see his column in New York Magazine).  Crammer is the guy with a “Wall of Shame” for the corporate CEO’s and leaders who are wrecking their companies while personally reaping millions.

Cramer is the guy that in 2007 accurately predicted the housing meltdown and the political fallout to follow.  Speaking about Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Cramer said,  “We think of him as Saint Alan now, but in a few years he will be known as the reckless Fed chairman who encouraged the creation and use of exotic mortgages…with low interest payments the first two years that explode into gargantuan fees for the next 28.” Cramer further noted, “Now, pretty much every large financial institution in the country is caught in a web it can’t get out of.  Bogus mortgage paper is infecting the system, and no one has a cure.” He nailed it while most of the country was still asleep.

Should Cramer, and the rest of the CNBC team be blasted for their bad calls on stocks and the market?  Abosloutely. Should he be criticized for being entertaining while trying to be informative to the average investor? No.

I love Jon Stewart and think his show is one of the most important satirical enterprises of our time.  That’s right I said “important.”  But in Cramer he has picked the wrong target.  Or maybe the target picked him?

Scott Gaillard is the host of the Radio Show “Talk Back Jacksonville,” a political consultant, and former Congressional staffer.

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14 04 2009
Scott Gaillard

03/11/09

The Real Problem with CNBC
By Cenk Uygur, or the Young Turks of Air America

I know that Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer have been in a bit of a “fight” lately. Of course, it’s not really a fight because Stewart isn’t doing this to pick a fight with Cramer or because he doesn’t like him. He’s making fun of him – because that’s what he does.

Stewart also makes fun of Obama from time to time (check out him ripping Obama here). Does this mean he doesn’t like Obama? No, it means he’s a comedian. Over the last couple of days Cramer and Joe Scarborough have been using that word as a pejorative, but that’s the guy’s job – to make people laugh. They are pissed because he’s good at it.

But if they think there is a kernel of truth in what Stewart is saying – which, of course, is why they’re actually angry – they’re right. Stewart also wants to make you think about what the role of the media is. And when you think about that in regard to CNBC, Jim Cramer is the least of their problems.

In fact, I don’t blame Cramer at all (disclaimer: he’s been on our show and I had a friendly interaction with him personally once). Everybody knows what Cramer does – he yells and screams about his stock predictions. That’s his job. You’d have to be crazy to think Cramer knows everything and that you should invest all of your money purely based on what he says. And I think he would be the first to admit that.

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