Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Ballad of Jim Cramer and the Coming of the New Media Order

jim-cramer Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money and regular commentator for the NBC News family of networks, has had a bad week.  It started last week when the Daily Show ran a spot lighting up CNBC for months of bad advice.  This was followed by another Daily Show torching last Monday after Cramer complained that his comments from the first segment were taken out of context. 

Seeing as how Jon Stewart and company are beating one of their stars, NBC orders damage control and has Mr. Cramer make the early morning rounds.  He shows up on the Today Show and Morning Joe with an “aw shucks, why are they pickin’ on me?  What did I do to deserve this?”  Joe Scarborough goes on paint Jon Stewart as a comedian on a variety show with nobody to pick on since Bush left the White House.  Unfortunately for NBC, the Daily Show could give a shit and runs a third flame fest on both Cramer and the entire NBC News operation

Blood is in the water and the sharks are circling.  This morning I find Gabriel Winant’s “Why is Jim Cramer Shouting at Me” on Salon.com which is a not too flattering account of watching an entire day of CNBC.  Then, later in the day, I find this video from 2006 where Jim Cramer explains how he manipulated the market and shorted stocks.

The question is, would all of this attention directed at Jim Cramer be happening if he had just taken his lumps in the first place?  The initial Daily Show piece was about CNBC in general, of which, he is a part.  However, he complained that he was taken out of context, to which the Daily Show responded by showing even more of the clip, making him look like an even bigger ass, followed by a network support rally, which opened the floodgates on the rest of the operation. 

What is most interesting to me is how this blew up and what it means for the future of information gathering.  Regular Joes are sharing all kinds of information through services like digg and reddit.  What’s great is that the sources are not always coming from the main stream. That’s not to say that the sources are always accurate, but it is pretty easy to fact check.  Then there’s other folks, like me, that want to tell the story, make a record, and pass it along.

In a funny way, this whole thing has given me a kind of optimism at Jim Cramer’s expense.  CNBC has been railing against the Obama Administration for weeks blaming him for the problems in the market.  The Daily Show called them out on that showing them for the false prognosticators that they were, and NBC didn’t like that.  Lucky for us, the Daily Show didn’t back down.  If more people follow the Daily Show’s lead and bring attention to even bigger injustices, we just might end up with a better world.

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