(photo credit MoneyNews.com)
On Thursday, Jon Stewart from The Daily Show was back up to his old tricks. Dismantling, publicly embarrassing, and likely damning a top tv show host on international television.
Some of you might remember his ruthless but plain-talk, burning-at-the-stake dismemberment of Tucker Carlson and the CNN program, Crossfire. Carlson was soon after fired, and Crossfire has since been canceled.
Jon Stewart is a comedian by trade, remember. But a very smart and tack-sharp one. In fact, I’d go so far as to call him immensely intelligent. His act is not schtick. It’s not character (read: Stephen Colbert). It’s dissemination of the day’s news, critique of reality and exposure of the veiled.
Follow this chronology for a compelling story line about the saga that is Jon Stewart vs. Jim Cramer. It might take you half an hour, but it’s worth it (in the name of context):
March 4, 2009: Leading up to this past Thursday, he’d been calling out various show hosts on CNBC. It all began with a fellow named Rick Santelli (watch – starts about 1:30 in – the remaining few minutes of this clip are all part of this story), and Stewart’s abrupt and visceral call-out of the entire network; a network that is disappointing at best when it comes to authority on business.
March 9, 2009: Stewart picked up on the blossoming headlines caused by his Santelli skit and responses from Jim Cramer, host of CNBC’s Mad Money. Stewart effortlessly added his indictment of Cramer (watch). Some of the media coverage of their growing spat can be seen here.
March 12, 2009: It boiled over, as this spat, seen as comedic persecution by Stewart and The Daily Show, and as impotent wash by CNBC, began appearing as headlines on NBC’s Today and various other prime-time American programs. The follow through surprised me and surely others, in that The Daily Show was able to get Jim Cramer to appear on the show tete a tete with Stewart in the same week that all this drama was making the news. The full, unedited interview can be found here.
I have no doubt that Jim Cramer will be, or has already found himself, fired. He’s lost all credibility, and CNBC is undoubtedly undertaking serious PR damage control. They will survive though, and move on to further baffling and indoctrinating the masses for the benefit of their advertisers and boards of directors.
Evidently, the showdown between Cramer and Stewart was the second most-watched episode of The Daily Show in it’s history (see Jon Stewart’s wiki entry). Clearly, Stewart is fearless and wickedly intelligent. I only wish that Cramer had been more of a match. Given his prowess, I’d like to see Jon Stewart take on Bill O’Reilly again, or perhaps Rush Limbaugh or Carl Rove. Fact is, Stewart champions common sense and crafts his messages in the simple tones of reality. So when provided an opportunity to call these people out, they haven’t a leg to stand on.
A good follow-up article on this story line can be found here, and here. Some hefty reaction to the video can be found here.
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It’s all about being the voice of reason as I am sure many PR professionals can attest to. Cramer inherently is not, and Stewart makes plane sense in a reasonable way, and you can tell he’s joking when he’s not. Cramer had no way out of this and probably should not have provoked someone who only needs a target for examining the massive financial catastrophe.
By the way, Santelli is an idiot but his message was really that the bad mortgage buyers should hold some responsibility for taking out mortgages that they could not afford. I agree with that sentiment, but he is a clown for the way he brought it up. I’d like to see him on the Daily Show a bit more.
I found the reasoning of CNBC to be very weak when grilled about their vigor of research – they say it’s a lot of live TV, so they can’t fact check as much as a 30 minute daily show can. That is an excuse, not a reason. Stewarts reply – do less live TV – was bang on. CNBC has no recourse – their news model is flawed and it was exposed in a simple way that everyone now sees.
Ooops, that should be “plain sense” not “plane sense.” Plane sense sounds cool though.
um, I think it’s plane cents. You know, the stuff you find in the seats, next to the flotation device.
and I completely agree about your point. Stewart does represent the voice of reason. I think his talent lies within the ability to unravel the tightly wound spin that these mega-corporations, stock markets etc. have spent decades and billions to achieve.