Friday, March 13, 2009

Battle of the (Basic Cable) Network Stars

Earlier this month CNBC's Rick Santelli was scheduled to appear on The Daily Show to discuss his prior rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange about "subsidizing the losers' mortgages". He "bailed out" of the interview at the last minute, but The Daily Show aired a segment that took CNBC to task for the quality of their reporting...

The money quote:
"Wow, if I'd only followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars today -- provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars."

The segment got a lot of attention in the blogosphere and even a few parts of the mainstream media. Then Jim Cramer waded into the fray, asserting in a column on that the clips that featured him were taken out of context. So The Daily Show put together another segment with more context. Cramer then appeared on several shows on the NBC family of networks to criticize Jon Stewart which led to another Daily Show segment.

Last week, Stewart announced that Cramer was going to appear on the Daily Show and took an opportunity to poke a little fun at what the cable news networks were calling a "War of Words."

Thursday night was the big night. Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart going mano-a-mano on The Daily Show. Comedy Central put the unedited interview on their website. Here's Part One...

Part Two
Part Three

Cramer spent much of the interview defensive and apologetic, but it wasn't so much a "War of Words" between two competing basic cable network stars, and as Stewart said, "this song ain't about you." It was a call for CNBC to be a better financial news network, to do a better job of actually reporting and exposing the wrongs of the financial markets. It was very reminiscent of the time Stewart appeared on CNN's Crossfire and lambasted them for turning political discourse into mud wrestling.

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