CNBC: Cheerleading Nitwits Bluster Cluelessly

Those in charge of CNBC, as well as signature talent like Jim Cramer, appear to remain utterly clueless about the damage that Jon Stewart inflicted on the network in one bold stroke on “The Daily Show.” (For a helpful compilation of Stewart’s eight-minute segment and some of the CNBC and Fox News howlers that preceded it, see this handy link from Esquire.)

Santelli_lowry What Stewart accomplished, with the help of his research staff, was such a damning blow to CNBC’s credibility because it exposed an obvious fact the channel would surely like to overlook — namely, If you didn’t know what the hell you were talking about then, why on Earth should anybody believe you now? And while nobody expects TV pundits to be 100 percent accurate, when they go that howlingly wrong, it’s time to retreat to that old strategy of having a monkey throw darts to make stock picks.

Credibility is a fragile commodity, and for all its bluster, CNBC’s is in tatters.

Stewart’s piece, in fact, was only half of a one-two punch that Comedy Central landed on CNBC. The other came from Stephen Colbert, who featured CNBC’s mad prophet Cramer as a guest, letting him hold forth about the market while Colbert ran pictures of puppies and kittens behind him. Cramer tried to play along with the joke, but as the audience roared, it only made him look like more of a buffoon. And when the CNBC host talks now about “wealth destruction,” well, could anything have contributed more to destroying somebody’s current wealth than heeding Cramer’s advice back when he was yelling “buy, buy, buy” with the Dow at 13,000?

CNBC officials still haven’t adequately addressed their role in all this, including today’s New York Times piece, which was puffy — failing to include any reaction from the network to “The Daily Show” broadside, even a no comment — but nevertheless illuminating. CNBC President Mark Hoffman blandly told the Times that this is “a unique time for the organization,” and so far, the network seems content to continue covering the financial crisis as if they were ESPN and this was their Super Bowl. The main problem with that strategy is that when football analysts get their predictions wrong, there’s only one big loser.

Update: Stewart bitch-slapped CNBC again on Monday, running a pretty devastating assortment of clips that undermined Cramer’s whining claims that he hadn’t been a cheerleader for Bear Stearns before the company collapsed. Here’s the video (also, see related post on Cramer’s “Today” show appearance):

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  1. Saw Cramer on Morning Joe or whatever Scarborough’s show is called now. Just pathetic.

  2. p90x says:

    Good luck Lorne, you’re going to need it!

  3. RazorsEdge says:

    Here’s some insight: CNBC, Comedy Central and Variety are all entertainment! Correct me Mr. Lowry if you’re an investigative reporter. If so, please exlain the purpose of writing this article?
    Ratings, viewership etc. That’s the gig and in that gig, everyone’s right or a blowhard (speaking or writing as if they KNOW the answer or truth. If you’re that certain or qualified, then FIX the economy, otherwise it’s insignificant to who’s right, CNBC or Comedy Central. Even wiriting that out is silly.

  4. Joe says:

    Saw Cramer on Morning Joe or whatever Scarborough’s show is called now. Just pathetic. He (and Joe and his sidekicks) are attacking Stewart and others for taking things out of context or only focusing on certain bad calls. Cramer’s entire living is based on the perception that he always makes good calls. When you position yourself as a maverick and preach insanity instead of prudence, you absolutely deserve to get torched.

  5. TB76 says:

    The Daily Show’s segment on CNBC was right on point. For a bunch of experts who supposedly know the market, The Daily Show showed that they failed miserably.
    Here is an article about Bear Stearns collpase and CNBC’s reporting of the situation. I’m not saying CNBC caused the collapse of the firm, but it surely did not help in slowing it down.

  6. Mike says:

    I’m curious how many of the commenters here actually bothered watching the Stewart clip. If you saw it, there’s no doubt at all that CNBC has zero credibility, regardless of the messenger delivering the message.
    What Stewart did is the sort of thing our supposed news leaders like the New York Times SHOULD be doing, but aren’t.

  7. R. F. Stinson says:

    Sheeesh. You take Jon Stewart seriously, and you’re calling other folks “nitwits”?
    Check out the nearest mirror.

  8. enhager says:

    You really can’t display videos in your blog?

  9. Owen says:

    Those who would not take Mr. Stewart seriously should talk to the producers of Crossfire.

  10. Brian Lowry says:

    That’s a fair point, but it misses my point: CNBC can respond to Stewart’s segment or say nothing at all. Yet given how much attention “The Daily Show” has gotten for blasting the network I find it odd, to say the least, that the New York Times piece wouldn’t ask CNBC officials about it, or exhibit some evidence that they had brought the subject up. And frankly, I’m not sure at this point that anyone with a 401(k) can argue with a completely straight face that CNBC has demonstrably more credibility than “The Daily Show.”

  11. SeymourGlass says:

    CNBC’s failure to respond to Mr. Stewart is akin to President Obama’s failure to respond to right wing bloggers. To do so, in either case, would be the mistake of making the other appear “on level” either CNBC or the presidency.
    Mr. Stewart is an entertainer, not a serious commentator. He need not be acknowledged.

  12. DeBartolo says:

    CNBC going over the top is a very old story:

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