At a certain point, isn't NBC News complicit in peddling the defensive BS that's coming from its business-news channel, CNBC?

On Tuesday, Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett appeared on the "Today" show, where Cramer feebly responded to the question of "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart's" searing criticism of CNBC by allowing, "Anytime you recommend a stock and it goes down you've made a mistake." Considering that Cramer's show had been one prolonged orgasm about the merits of the market before its collapse, that would seem to be enough "mistakes" to disqualify him from the advice circuit — or at least put him in the equivalent of TV's penalty box. It's also utterly ridiculous for Cramer and CNBC's Rick Santelli to paint themselves as victims ("little guys," as Cramer put it) when they enjoy a nationally televised forum. If you can't stand the heat, stay off the trading floor.

Still, Burnett also stepped forward on Cramer's behalf, saying, "Jim has to go out every day and make these calls." Really? Whatever happened to that old adage, "If you don't have anything intelligent to say, don't say anything at all" — or maybe I'm screwing that up, because that's certainly not the maxim in cable news.

Indeed, what's really on display here is a more fundamental question: When our so-called "experts" reveal themselves to be every bit as clueless as laymen, then why should we give any credence to their advice/analysis/pontification? The problem is that between NBC and MSNBC and CNBC — with all that time to fill, requiring all those talking heads — that's a point that NBC can't possibly make.
(See related post.)

Update:MSNBC's Joe Scarborough also hosted Cramer this morning, and — apropos of what I wrote above — seemed intent on bucking up his fellow GE employee. The "Morning Joe" host also criticized "The Daily Show" for mocking those "in the arena" while suggesting that Stewart had turned his fire toward the media because he was a fan of the Obama administration.

As Jason Linkins writes on the Huffington Post, with that comment Scarborough merely exhibits his ignorance about the nature of "The Daily Show's" satire. Indeed, Linkins recommends "that Scarborough develop an understanding of what The Daily Show is. First and foremost, the show is a critique of the media. It is not 'fake news.' It is not 'funny riffs on the headlines,' a la 'Weekend Update.' It is a lampoon of media excess. As any veteran watcher can tell you, it has ALWAYS 'attacking people like [Cramer].' George W. Bush was just value-added content."

Bingo. Stewart's most valuable contribution hasn't been to politics, but in providing a near-real-time review of the media on television, which even in an exaggerated form is extremely rare. Pundits can't hold forth quite so freely if they're going to be held accountable for their commentary. Small wonder that Scarborough — whose daily discourse has expanded from TV to radio – would resent the idea of being subjected to such scrutiny.

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