Crossfire Redux

The complete unedited Daily Show interview: Part I (5:47)

We don’t produce a comedy show at night, so we don’t bother watching cable news during the day. Neither do most Americans — we’re a generation beyond the era when three broadcast networks controlled the national conversation.

We’re also a generation beyond the era when television news took itself seriously, when Network was over-the-top satire, when Doonesbury mocked Roone Arledge for turning ABC into “Wide World of News”. How silly we all were, thinking news could be about something other than ratings and advertising.

Which is part of what makes Jon Stewart interesting. Where we’ve long since given up caring, he still holds television news to standards long since abandoned, back when Beethoven’s Ninth introduced The Huntley-Brinkley Report, and not Countdown.

What’s more, he’s effective. Or at the very least, an early sign of change on the horizon.

Part II: Let’s roll the clips! (8:24)

Part of his reputation rests on the Crossfire takedown, when he suggested — as a guest on the show — that talking-head shouting matches were bad for Democracy. Crossfire disappeared soon after his appearance, and even if it was near cancellation anyway, the point had been made.

And if you missed that point — Barack Obama’s campaign was all about it.

That’s the context that came to mind as we watched Thursday night’s interview with Jim Cramer — the interview we likely would have seen a week ago with Rick Santelli, had he showed up. The interview wasn’t about Cramer acting like an idiot with a room full of toys, but about CNBC as a cheerleader for corporations and day-traders, Arbitrage for Dummies. CNBC’s hosts (including Cramer) had the expertise and experience to explain what was really happening during the stock-market bubble, but kept that to themselves.

Will Jon Stewart shame CNBC into submission? Of course not. But he’s introduced a voice of reason into the conversation, and as with the Crossfire aftermath, we suspect we’ll be hearing echoes of it in interesting places.

Part III: A Sherman’s March financed by 401(k)s. (8:31)

Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer: The Extended Daily Show Interview [Comedy Central]


7:41 am • Friday • March 13, 2009


Sorry, I missed last night’s show and want to see the morning rerun!

ETA: Yes, I’m weird.

7:47 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Mannie’s a sad “girl.”

Apparently sales are down although I suspect that it is because RW “tink” tanks aren’t buying her books in bulk to pump up her numbers due to the loss of so many RW sugar daddies. Unlike the DaVinci Code, I don’t know very many folks (even RWers) who actually pay to read her books.

9:26 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Okay, I’m watching the take down now.

I have to turn the volume up on the TV because Cramer keeps getting quieter and quieter as Jon hammers home each point.

I want to thank Jon. For the last 7 years, I’ve been foaming at the mouth about the Biz Nets because of their capacity to suck up. The only somewhat investigative journos are at the Wall St J.

Added: Prez of Sony France was “held” overnight by angry workers because their severance packages sucked. I was talking to a coworker about this. The CEOs and their flunkees don’t need to worry about the cynical types because we’re not fanatics. They need to worry about the true believers who trusted them.

Like these guys.

9:43 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

@ManchuCandidate: I tape the show and watch it the next day, except by “tape” I mean “DVR” and by “day” I mean usually at night before the KeefO 10pm repeat comes on. Trés old school, I know.

10:09 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Jon nailed it. So there’s that.

Here’s a thought that ran through my head last night. Short-term short selling — why would any sane person do/permit this? I mean, it’s essentially an option contract — I will sell this stock at [X] at some point in the future, and will buy the stock in order to fulfill the order. And so I get to dictate the price of something I don’t own yet.


I know this is anti-capitalist of me, but why not ban short selling outright and make people make longer-term decisions on stocks? For Christ’s sake — this is investing. You are giving companies money so that they could do stuff with your money. In theory.

Note: I know zilch in re high finance. As if the preceding didn’t prove that.

10:34 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

I kinda feel bad for Jim Cramer because… let’s face it, he wasn’t the droid we were looking for.

10:39 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

wait a minute. what a suck up. when i said i saw cramers meltdown, i was talking about him shrieking on his own network that “jon is just a comedian!!”
he was trashing jon, the interview, and his voice kept rising each time his feet were held to to the fire, “he’s a COMEDIAN!!” he screeched.
what a 2 faced douchebag lying kiss ass motherfucker.

this is the first time i saw this interview. when jon spoke of the good guys on wall street he knows, who work their asses off for their clients and were blindsided by this…he was talking about my father. on wall street for 40 years. he has to reconcile his honest intent every day to people who lost their shirts. including him. including me. he is 79 years old and devastated financially, and emotionally.
yeah, i’m a little pissed.

10:57 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Cramer was an errand boy collecting a bill for clerks.

The only difference is that Clerks were the ones moaning:
“The Horror, the horror, the horror.”

11:01 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

We’re all casualties in this class war. Problem is, the class war isn’t the eelights. Sociopaths vs. The Sanes.

11:03 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

@baked: It’s your turn on Scrabble. Show me your bingo.

11:14 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Beating up on Cramer is wrong-headed and silly. The kind of instruments that blew the markets to kingdom come are never discussed by Cramer and, if he had to parse their investment quality (outside of current context) for his audience he would probably find them opaque. The guys who need to take the hotseat are the executives of the underwriting houses that pressed for disregulation to the point where they were taking naked positions on the real estate market and selling the toxic waste to correspondent houses, all based (for primary investment and hedging purposes) on instruments that Cramer’s audience would likely never engage. Right questions. Wrong instruments and wrong target.

11:23 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Poor Jim was the sacrificial goat so the rest of the douchesacks can run for the lifeboats.

11:26 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

Don’t forget Credit Default Swaps, too. They manage to combine all the worst aspects of Ponzi schemes, Mafia protection rackets, legalized gambling, and wishful thinking. All paid for with what these bozos treat like Monopoly money, until it all comes apart and has to be paid for with REAL money….ours.

11:36 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

@FlyingChainSaw: I think Jon tried to acknowledge that of all the guys, Cramer was not really “the guy”. But yeah, the poor thing was just a goat led to slaughter (although I have no sympathy). He could have been prepped a little better probably – he didn’t even have an argument and looked more than a little D-U-M. Santelli would have been more fun to bust that out on because I think he would have put up more of a fight.

11:44 am • Friday • March 13, 2009

@homofascist: I agree. Santelli owes Cramer for taking the shots that he was too chickenshit to take. And if Cramer had been better prepared, he might have scored some points by throwing Santelli under the bus – right after Stewart quoted Carly Simon.

12:03 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@FlyingChainSaw: Oh, Jon was very fair, he criticized Cramer only as a journalist, a journalist who knew all about the entire situation, right down to the credit default swaps, and never told the public, instead, throwing toys around and screaming “buy buy buy” right up until the apocalypse.

And he did say, basically, that its only luck that resulted in Cramer being singled out.

12:09 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@Jamie Sommers aka the Waco Kid: Very difficult for me to believe that Cramer wasn’t prepped six ways from sunday by a crisis management PR consultant, and they deliberately decided on humility as their response. I also think he must be seriously worrying about more than just his career.

You know, most suburban stockbrokers I know are really kinda dumb, and they don’t understand things too well, all they know is what they are told, hell, they are the ones who watch Cramer and think he knows something.

Nope, its all the shitbags in Rumson, Fair Haven, and Far Hills who are sitting pretty for life now, the “masters of the universe,” who should swing.

12:19 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

So now I hear Cramer was a no-show for that morning douche show this morning. I just hope he didn’t go home and eat a bottle of downers, or a gunbarrel.

12:20 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@Prommie: I don’t know. I just can’t imagine that he was prepared, or if he was he was so caught off guard by what was thrown off him that he forgot all of his talking points (which I would find harder to believe frankly). I can’t imagine that the brass at NBC are happy with that performance. He rolled over like a (n inarticulate) puppy and really I think hurt their credibility. You can do humility and still be stocked with examples of things that you (CNBC) did well. I think even the hardcore apologists (such as the Repub. and Dem. ‘consultants’ who go on the air to say how great their candidate did in the debate, even if they sucked ass) would have a difficult time saying that Cramer did a good job of sticking up for the network. It is an added bonus that Scarborough probably didn’t sleep last night after the Doucheborough crack. HI-larious.

12:43 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@WaltTrombone: Exactly the kind of instrumentation I was talking about. The Wall Street banks that advocated for this kind of instrument should be on TV 24/7 with the Congressmen and presidents who let them erect a casino with taxpayers’ money. @ManchuCandidate: In a way. I am sure he relishes it as he needs the publicity right now.

12:45 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@Prommie: Yes, the Greenwich/New Canaan axis. I’m sure the most of them were well prepared and out of harm’s way by the end of 2006.

12:51 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

Looking forward to wallowing in this during lunchtime…

/OT/, for how long is President Unicorn going to get a pass on utterly disgraceful shit like this? If someone can ‘splain this for me, I’m all ears.

1:22 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@Serolf Divad:

Still, he brought this down on himself, appearing on Fox with all his contempt for “comedian” Jon Stewart. I am pretty tired of d-bags like this, with their free market fundamentalism and big salaries. When the system gets gamed, everybody loses but them.

1:24 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@Prommie: From that perspective, yes, true but Cramer is a clown whose subject matter happens to be the markets. Waste of air time to beat him up and all it does is give him free publicity. Waste of outrage to expect the clown to write an indictment.

2:04 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@FlyingChainSaw: Again I would disagree, only because it wasn’t good publicity (I know, I know, any publicity is good publicity). He didn’t raise his stock so much with all of this publicity and now he is going to get some big new contract. He was embarrassing and incompetent, and if he knew it was going to turn out like that I can almost promise that he wouldn’t have done the show, publicity be damned. For a canned teevee personality who thrives on image over substance, he totally shot himself in the foot. Again, I agree that he was the wrong target in the larger sense, but I don’t think Jon was trying to make him the target per se. He was just a good example for Stewart to hold up in front of the class and illustrate a larger point.

2:48 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@homofascist: That is the best and most useful piece of television I have ever seen.

The question to me is whether we should have expected Cramer to use his position to point out that the emperor had no clothes. His show is directed at small investors and day traders. The network as a whole (which I have on now – it’s fucking Tweety) seems more directed at bigger players. I’d have cheered for Cramer if he’d gone to the powers at CNBC and urged them to do it. Did I expect him to? No – he has a show, he’s making money, and he didn’t want to create waves.

Host just said “Jim Cramer up next.” Tweety could be heard in the background – “Oh God, him?”

3:11 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@Pedonator: That is crazy. I guess they are working their butts off to cling to the absolute power that Bush and his cronies advocated for. I wonder what kind of play this is going to get? I can see some Obama supporters/blogs not really making many waves about this, and then on the other hand it seems like it would be difficult for the nutroots to do much with this either since they spent the last 8 years cheerleading this kind of thing. Hmmmmmmm…

3:39 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

Holy shit: Carl has links to the unedited Cramer interviews – seriously ugly parts edited out.

3:48 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@blogenfreude: My bad — I didn’t properly identify the clips here as the unedited version. That’s now fixed.

3:50 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@nojo: I watched what is billed as “the full episode” on The Daily Show website — any idea whether these clips are one and the same?

3:56 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@nojo: Funny – about done w/ the links I posted, and it seemed even more cringeworthy. Expectation? Paying more attention second time? Wev – it’s still stunningly good TV.

3:59 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@mellbell: The “full episode” is the edited broadcast version. They also posted the three parts of the unedited 22-minute interview very late last night under a separate headline, and that’s what I grabbed for here.

4:15 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@blogenfreude: I liked his line at the end — “I hope it was as uncomfortable to watch as it was to do.”

Arguments that Cramer was the wrong target are well-taken, and as others have noted, Stewart said this himself — repeatedly — and kept returning to his broader argument about CNBC as a whole failing as business journalism. Cramer just happened to be foolish enough to show up.

5:42 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

Just finished watching this… I reckon Cramer is going to have recurring nightmares where his school teacher looks over his desk at young Jim Cramer and says “Roll 2:16” and he wakes up screaming.

I’m aware of John Stewart’s passion for journalists to practice Journalism, but really. It’s a sad day when a comedy show has to do a serious interview about what is the role of a journalist.

I was surprised the JS didn’t just come out and say “You guys (CNBC) are packaging your infotainment toward the very people that fucked us over, because the advertisers want to market to rich A Types. CNBC is obliging because of advertising revenues.” Instead he asked three times who is CNBC responsible to. Too much wriggle-room in that question.

7:39 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

I loved this interview. RomeBoy and I were talking about the difference between John and Craig K – Craig K would go in for the (IMO cheap) kill, whereas John shows respect for dialogue between to opposing sides, and for meeting someone face to face. He is by far my favorite interviewer, and reminds me of Letterman in ’82 but more so. I love that he went on Crossfire, kicked their asses, and then upheld his opinions with his own actions.


7:49 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

@FlyingChainSaw: Re the Greenwich/New Canaan axis: There’s a reason why it’s the only MetroNorth rush hour train with a bar car attached to it.

8:35 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009

Update: MSNBC is strangely quiet today.

9:14 pm • Friday • March 13, 2009


Is that avitar…Lincoln…with a…trombone????


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