Alright, so Jim Cramer of CNBC’s “Mad Money” wasn’t wrongfully victimized, but that headline got your attention and that’s my point.
As Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show” said in his interview with Cramer, this is the same exploitation of possibly inaccurate information and advice given by the commentators and reporters of CNBC.
Stewart has been lampooning CNBC this past week after reporter Rick Santelli was seen on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange shouting about bailout money going to home-owners. Much to his dismay, I’m sure, Cramer decided it would be a good idea to become, as Stewart put it, the face of CNBC.
But that’s also not the point of this column. The point of this column is we have found true journalism in comedy and that’s both ironic and funny, but not necessarily “funny ha-ha” more like “funny uh-oh” as Yakko Warner would put it. (But misdirection keeps you reading)
Comics tend to turn to the news makers for material. The idea of current events comedy is what started “The Daily Show.” You recap the events of the day, week, month or year and put your own spin to it.
Stewart has taken this a step farther, whether he wanted to or not, and is becoming the watcher of the watchdogs.
Perhaps the best clip of the past week’s war with the financial station was when a reporter, asked one executive accused of Ponzi schemes “What’s it like to be a billionaire?”
Hard hitting, isn’t it? That’s point Stewart was making and he’s absolutely right. It’s sad and stupid that we have to get this information from the same guy who was in Half Baked asking “Have you ever seen the back of a $20 dollar bill…on weed!”
Why can’t more journalists call out other journalists? Because the newspapers or shows they work for are part of the same company. Let’s take the Chicago Tribune, for example.
Tribune Media Co. is owned by Sam Zell. His media group has not only the Trib, but also WGN-TV, WGN Radio and CLTV. Now, let’s make believe CLTV had mostly commentators instead of reporters, like a lot of the national media.
Would that group honestly call out CLTV the same way CNBC was called out by Comedy Central? No, absolutely not, even though they probably know more of what goes on than other media outlets. If they screwed up, it would be news in competing papers, but it would most likely die. Journalists have other things to worry about a lot of the time, such as it not happening to them.
Then again the Trib doesn’t really need to worry about any kind of controversy, considering gossip is such a big deal for Colonel Tribune, the newspapers resident tweeter. Bristol Palin and her boyfriend breaking up was big enough news for him to hop on Twitter.com and get excited about, which was first reported by the Associated Press. And I’m pretty sure these people have more things to worry about than the daughter of a failing Alaskan Gov.’s social life.
Anyway, back on message. From a business stand-point, chastising your own affiliate would cut into your profit margins and, much like what the rest of the market has been doing, your stock would tank. As Chuck Klosterman said in his book Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, journalism is a business owned by “massive conservative corporations” and they “own everything.” And all those CEO’s know are profit margins.
Editors know that, so they try to keep bad news about their business--(drumroll) out of the news.
CNBC failed and Cramer became the spokesman. The hard-hitting financial network reported on more fluff and crap than the comedy news show. In turn failed to see the bigger picture of what was not just happening, but what they were perpetuating too.
Stewart noticed this, Stewart called them out and it’s ridiculous the journalists missed it.
We’re supposed to be the watchdogs of society, but we were too busy knawing on the bones of G.W. to notice a huge mistake in our own backyard.
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