Friday, March 20, 2009
In the “Art of War” Sun Tzu says the most important thing is to know when to fight and when not to fight. I guess CNBC doesn’t follow the Art of War any more than they follow the rules to good journalism.
For those of you who haven’t been following the latest media war, about a month ago CNBC commentator Rick Santelli had an on-air rant where he asked why the stock traders who made huge amounts of money under the deregulation of the markets should pay for the “Loser’s” mortgages.
That same week he was scheduled to appear on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”. Someone must have warned him that Stewart would use that rant against him so he canceled.
The Daily Show went ahead and ran that clip as well as some great clips from CNBC where their commentators made wildly bad stock picks, like Jim Cramer recommending people hold on to Bear Stearns stock three days before it went from over $60 a share to $2.
If CNBC had left it at that they would have had to eat some humble pie, and the whole thing would have been forgotten about. But Jim Cramer decided to make it personal. He went every NBC show he could, including Martha Stewart, saying how Jon Stewart was being unfair to him. (Just a tip if you are being accused of playing dirty tricks with stocks, hanging out publicly with someone who went to jail for Insider Trading is not a smart play.)
Naturally The Daily Show had to hit back and did an entire segment on bad advice given by Cramer. For some reason Jim Cramer decided to answer those allegations and agreed to appear on The Daily Show.
To be kind to Jim Cramer I will just say that he got his ass handed to him, after Jon put it through a meat grinder, handed off to Emeril Lagasse who fried it up Creole style with special seasoning and onions and “Bam, just like that” Cramer was humiliated. Other commentators haven’t been as nice to Cramer in their description of that interview.
Stewart was hitting him with things that no one could justify like: "Listen, you knew what the banks were doing, yet were touting it for months and months," Stewart said during his March 12 show. "The entire network was. Now to pretend that this was some sort of crazy, once-in-a-lifetime tsunami that nobody could have seen coming is disingenuous at best and criminal at worst."
The beat down was so bad that Cramer canceled all his post Daily Show interviews.
If CNBC had left it at that they would be able to slowly shift the blame of their bad journalism to the entire news industry. CNBC turned into cheerleaders for the financial industry just like the rest of the news had been cheerleaders for Bush when we rushed to war with Iraq.
Instead of quietly trying to smother the flames, NBC Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker has decided to grab the nearest Gasoline tanker and pour its contents on the embers. At the McGraw-Hill Media Summit in New York, he said that Stewart was being “Unfair” and “…to suggest that the business media or CNBC was responsible for what is going on now is absurd."
To say that reporters should ask follow up questions and not just serve as PR flackys for companies when they are lying is absurd? I can’t wait until Monday to see Jon Stewart’s response.
Although CNBC is being incredibly stupid in their handling of this, they may be doing the nation a great service by inviting Stewart to look over the network news practices with a magnifying glass. If this war keeps on long enough maybe the entire news industry will see why people no longer find them credible and that is why the whole journalism industry has gone into the tank financially and some mainstream outlet might just start reporting the truth instead of just repeating whatever their sponsors tell them.
Original Story Here.