How strangely unsurprising to report that when shouty CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer finally showed up on the Daily Show last night – after a high-profile feud that’s been running all week – it was the comedian and presenter Jon Stewart who offered the penetrating insights about the US media’s complicity in the current economic crisis, and the financial expert who was left looking hammered into the ground.
After the initial PR disaster that sparked the standoff – Rick Santelli, CNBC’s ranting demagogue, pulled out of a Daily Show interview at the last minute – someone had clearly advised Cramer to abandon his forthright TV persona and try being apologetic instead. So he barely disputed Stewart’s litany of charges that hyperventilating TV talking heads have misadvised the public for years. “If I’d only taken CNBC’s advice I’d have $1m today,” Stewart said last week, “provided I’d started with $100m.”
And he watched mutely as Stewart played clips from an interview – never intended for television – in which Cramer, a former hedge fund manager, openly discussed how he manipulated the market in his favour. “I can’t reconcile the brilliance and knowledge that you have of the intricacies of the market with the crazy bullshit I see you do every night,” Stewart observes at one point, building his thesis that there are “two economies”: the one normal people trustingly invest in, and the one where Jim Cramer’s profit-crazed friends use everyone else’s money to take disastrous risks.
Let’s give Cramer some credit for his conciliatory attitude here. But only some, because you just know he’ll be doing his Mad Money thing, exactly as before, in just a few hours’ time.”