Jon Stewart Versus Jim Cramer Essay

1215 words - 5 pages

The comedian and satirical news host Jon Stewart had a feud with former hedge fund manager and financial expert Jim Cramer. For people unfamiliar with these characters; Jon Stewart is the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, and Jim Cramer is the host of Mad Money on CNBC. Stewart grilled Cramer for over 15 minutes and posed the question, "What’s the difference between a multimillion dollar media “financial expert” and an ordinary street hustler?" Stewart believes Cramer is more an entertainer as himself and he should not be making stock recommendations to the public at large.
Stewart unleashed a fury of intense and condemning questions upon Cramer. However, unfortunately for Cramer he functioned as a stand-in for the entire CNBC company and our entire corporatized news media. Stewart used multiple video clips of Cramer in 2006 to prove Cramer was well aware of the “shenanigans” that allowed investment returns to roll in at 30 percent per year, and major institutions leveraging at 35-to-1 for most of the 2000s. This leveraging, in effect, is the one thing that caused the fall of Wall Street and the decline of our retirement portfolios' value. Stewart made that point to Cramer and Cramer could not disagree. The crucial question Stewart asks and we will attempt to answer is, do shows like Cramer’s Mad Money and other CNBC reporters have an ethical responsibility to be critical, investigative journalists? We must first understand the actions taken by each party involved in the housing and banking collapse of 2009 in order to fully comprehend the ethical situation that unfolded. One must first understand the actions taken by each party prior to 2009. Bankers backed by investors, started lending mountains of excess capital. This lowered interest rates, which the Federal Reserve assisted in pushing, to an all-time low. Regardless of what we determine the answer to this question is, Stewart’s interview magnifies that major corporations and wall street moguls favorite phrase to use when talking about “our current economic crisis,” is “we never saw this coming,” is a complete fiction (Kurtz 1).
Jim Cramer has an ethical responsibility to the network he works for, CNBC, and the viewers that watch his show. The most difficult aspect of this is determining what responsibilities are entailed in being ethically responsible to his viewers. Cramer has never claimed to be any kind of journalist to my knowledge. Therefore the complaint that Stewart makes regarding CNBC's duty to critically, and analytically investigate in its journalism is a moot point. According to CNBC and Jim Cramers' "Mad Money Manifesto," the show is not a get rich quick solution, nor is it to give the details of individual companies and investments on the market. Cramer states, "My job is not to tell you what to think, but to teach you how to think about the market like a pro. This show is not about picking stocks. It's not about giving you tips that will make you...

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