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Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Daily Show foofaraw

Jim Cramer is a snake who well deserved to be publicly exposed and pilloried--but Megan McArdle makes a lot of sense with her refreshingly non-manichean take on "the whole [John Stewart/CNBC] fooforaw":

Jim Cramer, whose stockpicking acumen seems slightly worse than your average monkey with a dartboard, frequently issues recommendations that people act on, then brushes off the failures with a shrug.

Jon Stewart also shapes peoples' decisions.  Video is a medium with powerful claims to reality--people tend to think that if they saw it, it must be true.  This makes it uniquely good at manipulating its audience with skillful editing.  I'm very sympathetic to Stewart's deep critique of financial shows, but I don't think the way to go about it was to string together a bunch of very misleading clips.  Nor to imply that Santelli, who has been vocally against all bailouts from the beginning, was merely frothing on the forclosure program because ordinary taxpayers were finally getting a taste of federal largesse.  But Stewart carefully claims he's just an entertainer, so he has no obligation to hew to journalistic standards on things like quoting out of context.

In case you missed the "week-long feud of the century," this is the meat of what she's talking about:

(h/t Tyler Cowen)

Posted by Kalim Kassam on March 14, 2009 | Permalink


Where is the surprise? John Stewart and Chris Matthews are two guys who just love Obama. According to them, nothing is Obama's fault. They act like Obama is freaking Einstein! Heck, Obama is portrayed as perfect on Stewart's show. Stewart only went after Cramer because Jim(a lifelong Democrat) criticized Obama's economic policies. I hear Stewart and Matthews are married to women but their passion for Obama sometimes gets kind of weird.

Posted by: Don | 2009-03-14 10:59:27 PM

Well sometimes it's interesting to see somebody playing the newsman on TV of all places.

These networks do not deserve their viewership, and that's not who's interests is being pursued. On a personal level, I kind of like Cramer, I think he took it pretty well. A person who's pretty much accepted they have no credibility, but accepts it because it's the status quo in his industry... you've got to feel for the guy.

John Stewart is right in feeling sure that any ambitious administration is good business for comedians. On some occasions, having slipped into partisan demagoguery, his comedy suffered. I worry about his flippancy, little beyond categorical niceness.

The 'objectivity' of the journalists' role amounts often to adornment for prejudices. Hasty, little researched, breathless interviews... people should have access to the information upon which news casters base their pronouncements. The 'joking' of comedic commentators seeks to subvert the news by articulating its vices. This may amount to a system to persuade people to expose themselves to propoganda.

But if there is one thing that can be said of Colbert and Stewart, despite their best efforts, they are not yet nearly so ludicrous.

Posted by: Timothy Shaw-Zak | 2009-03-15 10:59:19 AM

Stewart has become one of the pompous assses that he's made a career of criticizing. He's come full circle. It's time to fade away.

And what's with him always slagging Canada? It's not funny.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-15 11:42:20 AM

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