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Jim Cramer fires back at Jon Stewart amid debate over financial coverage

As the two television personalities exchanged retorts on the air this week, a broader debate is raging about whether the financial press did an adequate job covering Wall Street’s handling of the complex transactions that precipitated the current recession. CNBC, the most prominent business news network, has come in for a large share of criticism that the media failed to alert the public to the system’s precarious footing.

Stewart savaged the cable channel last week with an eight-minute segment that strung together some of the most bullish remarks made by the network’s anchors and pundits during the last two years.

“If I’d only followed CNBC’s advice, I’d have a million dollars today -– provided I’d started with a hundred million dollars,” Stewart quipped.

Cramer, a former hedge fund manager who hosts the popular 3 p.m. PST show “Mad Money,” played a recurring role in Stewart’s mash-up.

“Bear Stearns is fine!” he shouted in his trademark bellow in one clip, less than a week before the investment house went under. “Bear Stearns is not in trouble.”

CNBC has remained mum about Stewart's jibes. But Cramer broke the network's silence this week and defended himself.

In a column posted Monday on MainStreet.com, he complained that Stewart took his words out of context. He wasn’t talking about buying Bear Stearns stock, Cramer noted, but was reassuring a viewer that money held in Bear Stearns accounts was safe.

“The absurdity astounds me,” Cramer wrote of Stewart’s critique.

Stewart responded on Monday’s episode of “The Daily Show,” offering up a partial mea culpa.

“OK. I was wrong,” the comedian said. “He was simply saying that if Bear was your broker or if your money was at Bear, your money would not disappear. He was not addressing the value of holding Bear stock. So Jim Cramer, I apologize.

“You weren’t suggesting to buy Bear Stearns,” he added with a sly smile. “That was something that you did five days earlier.”

Stewart then aired a clip from March 6, 2008, in which Cramer roared, “I believe in the Bear franchise. You know what? At 69 bucks, I’m not giving up on the thing!”

Cramer fired back Tuesday during an appearance on the “Today” show.

“Oh, oh, a comedian is attacking me!” he said mockingly. “Wow! He runs a variety show!”

“Did I make a mistake?” Cramer added. “First of all, any time you recommend a stock and it goes down, you've made a mistake. Here's a shocker: Almost every stock is down! Any stock you recommended is bad. You know, Warren Buffett, I could run tapes from him, he would look like a complete fool.”

The “Mad Money” host noted that Stewart has not shown the clip of Cramer’s appearance on “Today” in October, when he caused a stir by saying people should immediately sell and get out of the market.

“That was 35 percent ago,” Cramer said. “Whatever he says, Bear Stearns this or that, that was a call that should have wrecked my career. And it would have, if the market had gone up. But I stuck my neck out and did it and saved a lot of people money.”

UPDATE: Apparently, that won't be the final word on this topic. According to a Comedy Central spokesman, Stewart plans to volley back at Cramer yet again on tonight's "Daily Show."

-- Matea Gold

 
Comments () | Archives (24)

The Daily Show and the Cobert Report use comedy as a veneer to report and provide commentary on the news. Rick Santelli, Bill O'Realy, Rush Limball, and others use "news" as a facade to keep their egos inflated.

Cramer is not an idiot. He's an entertainer who gets people engaged in investing. You people are too serious. Like Tucker trying to hold up the Daily Show as a credible news program. Its kinda hard to make the point stick that cramer's show is more than it is.

Brad

Jon is just a Fake News man. Sure he's funny and he does make a point now and again but the facts still remain he cuts clips and segments in a way to make them funny regardless of the context. In truth Jon's audience and Cramers audience are probably not one and the same so it's safe for them to gut each other without losing any popularity.

Jon is wrong to have left out the big item where Cramer basically told everyone who needed the money soon to get out of the market. That was the big call that put Cramer onto the pike. That once call basically told everyone any stock he suggested to buy is now a sell. If Jon's trying to be "real", which is not likely, he'd realize Cramer makes short term buy and sell trades. He's not Buy and Hold and probably never will be.

All believers in Buy and Hold curse Cramer and all those who are Buy and Sell praise Cramer. That's just how it is.

Jim Cramer himself has stated that the average investor, meaning the non-professional investor will NOT make money in the long run trading in the stock market because the Pros like him have inside info that we will never have access to and therefore can trade on the all important info. The deck is purposely stacked against the average investor and CNBC, Fox Business, the Wall Street Journal, etc. ALL know it, but they want the average Joe to put their money in the market so these insiders and Professionals can take it away.

 
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