Everyone is talking about Jim Cramer's recent appearance on the daily show. Here is my take:
Jon Stewart seemed to have 3 main criticisms:
1) They give bad investing advice on CNBC.
2) Journalists on CNBC have a responsibility to dig deeper and be ahead of these scandals and meltdowns.
3) Jim Cramer and hedge fund managers in general are corrupt and unethical.
1) I think cramer was ready to defend himself on making bad calls, which he admitted to. Everyone makes bad calls, Warren Buffet just got his credit rating cut. I should have sold goog at 750. Anyone that invests will loose money at some point. Also CNBC often interviews people with conflicting views and most people take people comments at face value within the context of their usually disclosed self interests... whether they are analysts promoting their firm or stocks they own, CEOs promoting their companies.... economists promoting their profile or books, etc. Even Cramer has to be taken in context. He is a guy that used to run a hedge fund, and is used to changing direction on a dime, and turning a profit every day. His experience doesn't fit well in a format after the market closes. Plus he is shilling his books and his web site and Action Alerts Plus, a service where he trades and notifies you before he makes the trade. Most people that invest are aware of these interests. However, I think there is some value in what these people have to say.
2) The 24 hour news channels, fox, cnn, cnbc, etc. will never be a platform for serious investigative journalism. There are outlets for serious investigative journalism, 60 minutes, npr, the economist, the New York Times (largely the people that are guests on the daily show). Fortune famously ran the article "Is Enron Overpriced?" that began the unraveling of their fraud. However, in depth journalism doesn't seem practical for stations with a 24 hour news cycle.
3) However, the death blow was that Stewart called him out for unethical behavior when he ran a hedge fund. That was awkward. Zing.