by Tony Perkins
March 14, 2009
Jim Cramer went on The Daily Show last night to be grilled by Jon Stewart. Liberals everywhere are singing the praises of Stewart, who went in loaded for bear. (See video here-Stewart’s language is saucy: you’ve been warned.) Stewart deftly illustrated the multitudes contained within Cramer-both a loudmouth performer, and a cool, savvy Wall Street operator-and excoriated CNBC, Cramer, and market capitalism in his characteristically self-righteous and crypto-Marxist way (“When are we going to realize in this country that our wealth is work? That we’re workers…”). Apparently finance is serious business and Cramer’s goofy “Mad Money” persona makes Stewart mad. Mad enough that he felt the need to embarrass Cramer for 3 segments in front of his audience of clapping New York sycophants.
And yet, Cramer has been at this for years (I recall watching Mad Money with my friends in college because Cramer’s histrionics and questionable stock advice could be quite entertaining). Why did Jon Stewart decide to take Cramer to the woodshed on March 12, 2009? Why not a month ago-or six months ago, or a year ago, or four years ago? It turns out that Cramer and Stewart have been feuding ever since Stewart began taking shots at Rick Santelli for his “Chicago Tea Party” outburst. This feud, like Stewart’s previous one with Tucker Carlson, is predicated on his infuriating bait-and-switch routine: 1.) Sanctimoniously deliver a sucker punch about a serious political or cultural matter in which there is substantive disagreement; 2.) Respond to counter attack by saying “I’m just a comedian, don’t hold me to high standards! I make jokes! I’m no expert!” 3.) Behave like a smug expert and deliver more substantive criticism. 4.) Respond to next counter attack by saying “I’m just a clown! Watch me make funny faces!” 5.) Repeat until plaudits pour in from Gawker, Huffington Post, and other snark-mongers.
POSITION: ADMINISTRATOR, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
NOMINEE: Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg
BIRTH DATE: 1955
EDUCATION: She earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and completed her training at the New York Hospital/Cornell University Medical Center.
FAMILY: Husband: Peter Fitzhugh Brown; two children
Here’s a preview of today’s Washington Update.
Here’s some other links we are looking at today.
Yesterday, nearly 500 students from across the country visited the U.S. Capitol to lobby their legislators on retaining abstinence funding. Many of these students have directly been impacted by abstinence education programs and come from areas that have extremely high teenage pregnancy rates. These eager and enthusiastic teens listened to FRC’s own David Christensen and Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Assocation. Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska also stopped by the event and added his own remarks. He urged the students to enjoy their time in Washington, D.C. and briefed them about the impact that they are making by visiting their legislators to discuss retaining abstinence funding.
Here’s a glimpse into what is coming up in today’s Washington Update.
Here is what else we are looking at today.
Islam is very much in the news these days. Even before 9/11, Americans had become aware of a powerful presence that had never really gone away. The 45-year Cold War between the U.S. and the USSR seemed to submerge Islamic identity in an East-West struggle. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, however, a resurgent Islam often intruded into the headlines of Western newspapers. Even before the terror attacks on New York and Washington, Americans had been targeted by Islamist radicals for murder -at the World Trade Center in 1993, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the U.S. Embassies in East Africa in 1998, and aboard the USS Cole in 2000. Then, however, we seemed to be in a decade-long “holiday from history.”
It’s normal to expect that American history and world history textbooks would take a few years to catch up with world events. Textbook production is not an overnight process. The headlines, however, don’t wait. And the headlines all have some lessons to teach us about those regions where Islam predominates.
Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.
Here’s what we are reading today.
The New York Times jumped into the fray on Monday to help rescue President Obama’s economic policy-making reputation. This was done in the guise of an analysis piece on the cable business channel, CNBC, that also served as a shot across the bow. The story by Brian Stelter and Tim Arango entitled, “CNBC Thrives as Hosts Deliver News with Attitude,” lets the cat out of the bag when it intones: “CNBC is now a place for politics…. making the line between reporter and commentator almost indistinguishable at times.”
What follows is a grab-bag of faux concern for CNBC’s brand and its reputation for journalistic integrity. Some anonymous back-biting by three CNBC employees is added for good measure. Blah, blah, blah. But the rub comes down to this: “In recent weeks some have perceived the network to be leading the campaign against President Obama’s economic agenda.” BINGO.
Well, the folks in the mainstream media (MSM) are clearly irritated because CNBC is now the most important news organization driving the political-economic debate. The MSM is beginning to realize that it cannot control a news network populated by the brightest reporters on TV and accomplished guests who focus on the hard logic of the markets, interest rates, stock prices, currencies, etc.
After Rick Santelli, a CNBC reporter from Chicago’s mercantile exchange, blasted the Obama Administration’s mortgage rescue plan he was attacked by NBC’s Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Similarly, Jim Cramer was dragged to the Today Show for a hazing by Lauer who had to be assisted by CNBC’s Erin Burnett. Even she couldn’t make it a fair fight. Cramer just brushed them off.
Unfortunately for the MSM the news broadcasts on CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, and MSNBC are populated with reporters who know relatively little about economics and finance compared to their counter-parts at CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business Channel. So, when someone like Lauer tries to slime Santelli or Cramer he is totally mismatched.
This means that serious interviews on the economy now have to be conducted on CNBC. Yesterday’s interview of Warren Buffet by CNBC’s Becky Quick is a case in point. Aside from the two-hour length, that interview would not have been possible on the MSM networks. There are no broadcast TV analogs to Ms. Quick, Joe Kernen, and Carl Quintanilla who are all very, very bright and industry savvy.
This is not to say that CNBC is perfect. It has its flaws. Big Deal. However, between the network’s excellent morning (“Squawk Box”) and evening shows (“The Kudlow Report” hosted by Larry Kudlow) one becomes engaged in an ongoing conversation about our nation’s political-economic-financial situation. The point isn’t that CNBC hosts and guests don’t make mistakes or erroneous predictions. Who hasn’t in this market?
The point is that CNBC presents its viewers with a window into an ongoing high-level conversation between many of the best minds on “Wall Street” as they try to diagnose and solve the enormous problems we face. It has been fascinating to watch many themes developed and analyzed over an extended period of time on CNBC.
This is all to say, that the MSM is incapable of presenting the public with this type of sophisticated, repetitive “longitudinal” analysis that makes it possible to think through the various problems the markets face. And, with all due respect to the snooty journalism professors who love the Times, this is great journalism.
Finally, regarding the charges of being political, as Larry Kudlow said Tuesday night to Charlie Gasparino (another CNBC reporter under attack) - (paraphrasing) “I learned a long time ago that if the liberal pundits are coming after you, you must be doing something right.” Amen, Brother Larry. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.