If you haven’t already, you should watch Jon Stewart’s conversation with Jim Cramer from last night here. Everything Stewart says is dead-on, and he is a saint for doing it, and the celebration of Jon Stewart is fully justified. I am wondering, though, if I’m the only person who feels a tad bit uncomfortable, or sympathetic to Jim Cramer? The man is in way over his head. (Tangent: watching this girl in high school play Tori Amos, terribly, in front of everyone was rightly mocked and yet I had this strange sympathy for this poor girl. My reaction to Jim Cramer is very similar.)
Glen Greenwald, as he so often does, uses the Stewart/Cramer conversation as a tool for making several larger and crucial points. You really ought to read it.
They would continuously put scheming CEOs on their shows, conduct completely uncritical “interviews” and allow them to spout wholesale falsehoods. And now that they’re being called upon to explain why they did this, their excuse is: Well, we were lied to. What could we have done? And the obvious answer, which Stewart repeatedly expressed, is that people who claim to be “reporters” are obligated not only to provide a forum for powerful people to make claims, but also to then investigate those claims and then to inform the public if the claims are true. That’s about as basic as it gets.
Today, everyone — including media stars everywhere — is going to take Stewart’s side and all join in the easy mockery of Cramer and CNBC, as though what Stewart is saying is so self-evidently true and what Cramer/CNBC did is so self-evidently wrong. But there’s absolutely nothing about Cramer that is unique when it comes to our press corps. The behavior that Jon Stewart so expertly dissected last night is exactly what our press corps in general does — and, when compelled to do so, they say so and are proud of it.