Did Jim Cramer spur a ‘Mad’ dash?

Finance guru told 'Today' viewers to sell stocks

Jim Cramer said he’d thought about it all weekend, and that he did not want to say something like it on television. But then he said it anyway:

“Whatever money you may need for the next five years, please take it out of the stock market right now, this week.”

That was Cramer, the feverishly loud and seemingly omnipresent stock-touting host of CNBC’s “Mad Money,” advising viewers of the “Today” show Oct. 6 — before the market’s opening bell — on how to respond to the carnage on Wall Street.

By the end of the day, the Dow plummeted 370 points more. Coincidence?

More than 5 million people tune in to the “Today” show, but shortly after Cramer spoke, the hyperviral and heavily trafficked DrudgeReport.com had a link to his comments.

“The Cramer Crash?” was soon the headline on one financial site, seekingalpha.com.

“These type of hysteria comments to Main Street America from a renowned bull may cause just the type of panic that we noted this market was currently lacking,” the site observed.

“I’m disappointed Cramer would say such a thing, knowing how many people heed his advice,” wrote one visitor to the site. “What did he expect would happen? Making such comments only makes things worse. Very disappointing.”

“It’s one thing if he says it on CNBC, but he’s saying it in front of a national audience,” wrote a blogger on lazymanandmoney.com. “The way he said it made it sound like one should panic.”

While it’s hard to imagine one TV guru having the kind of influence that drives the market down with one piece of ominous advice, Wall Street and federal regulators would probably have preferred Cramer not said anything.