Aug
10
2009

GE Workers Don't Know One 'Successful Unionized Co.'

Partisan blogger Nick (8/6/09) has republished a new email campaign from American Rights at Work that reviews how, "just before Bear Stearns went under, CNBC's Jim Cramer had strong advice for his Mad Money viewers: buy Bear Stearns stock, and fast!" Of course, "then the company imploded and thousands of ordinary people saw their retirement savings vanish. Oops." Nick continues: Now Cramer is telling his viewers the Employee Free Choice Act will hurt the U.S. economy. Cramer was wrong then, he's wrong now! But this time we know exactly what will happen if viewers listen: Millions will lose out financially. […]

Apr
03
2009

Champions of the Little Guy?

Jim Cramer, CNBC: "I think Goldman is a great firm…. The good guys are in charge. [Lloyd] Blankfein is a fabulous guy. Do people want him in jail? Does Paul Krugman want him in jail? Where do they want these guys?" Mike Barnicle, Boston Herald: "Paul Krugman wants anyone who makes over $75,000 a year in jail." –MSNBC's Morning Joe (4/2/09), cited in Huffington Post (4/2/09)

Mar
18
2009

On Groupthink and 'Financial Infotainment'

Editorializing in the Wall Street Journal (3/18/09) on how "Financial Journalists Fail Upward," Wrecking Crew author Thomas Frank sees the "world of financial infotainment" as its own "market where accountability does not seem to exist" and in which "the old order discredits itself, but the old order persists nevertheless": This needs to be repeated every time someone pleads, "Who could have known?" Plenty of people did see the disaster coming. Most of them were marginalized, however, laboring at out-of-the-way econ departments, blogs and B-list think tanks. They were excluded and even ridiculed because their larger understanding of the economy was […]

Mar
18
2009

A 'New Overriding Mission' for CNBC

Personally inclined to think that "CNBC may be beyond repair," John Nichols (Nation, 3/17/09) still thinks a new Fix CNBC! campaign's "messaging is smart and instructive with regard to the broader media crisis in America," quoting their open letter to the financial network: Americans need CNBC to do strong, watchdog journalism–asking tough questions to Wall Street, debunking lies and reporting the truth. Instead, CNBC has done PR for Wall Street. You've been so obsessed with getting "access" to failed CEOs that you willfully passed on misinformation to the public for years, helping to get us into the economic crisis we […]

Mar
17
2009

Richard Cohen on Jon Stewart's 'Cheap Shot'

Many observers praised the Daily Show's Jon Stewart for his hard-hitting interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer. Columnist Richard Cohen (Washington Post, 3/17/09) begs to differ. Actually, Stewart was "wrong" to go after Cramer, Cohen wrote–it was a "cheap shot at business media." His main argument is that Stewart charged that Cramer "knew all the time what was happening" at game-playing financial companies, but Cohen has a list of CEOs at such firms who lost money on their own company's stock, so even they must not have known what was really going on: "When someone puts his money where his mouth […]

Mar
13
2009

Jim Cramer–Calm, Sober Wild Man

During his well-publicized appearance with Jon Stewart (Daily Show, 3/12/09), CNBC's Jim Cramer tried to present himself as a rational financial journalist, dismissing his on-air wild man persona as entertainment. But if you listened to his calm, sober pronouncements, they really weren't all that rational. For instance, he said by way of apology, referring to the current financial crisis, "I got a lot of things wrong because I think it was kind of [a] one-in-a-million shot." Well, no–if you build a financial system on the idea that assets are going to keep rapidly increasing in value forever, the system's eventual […]

Mar
13
2009

There's Nothing Funny About CNBC

Economics writer David Lieberman (USA Today, 3/11/09) previews a Today show interview with CNBC's Mad Money host Jim Cramer by pointing out that Cramer will "have to answer for misguided stock predictions–including some last year urging investors to buy and hold Bear Stearns just before the investment bank collapsed." But the ironic bit comes after Cramer's dismissive quote–"Oh, oh, a comedian is attacking me!"–when business journalism academic Andrew Leckey "says that while CNBC wants to be seen as serious, 'The best ratings go to a wacky guy.' Cramer often bellows and uses sound effects to highlight his stock picks." As […]

Feb
24
2009

On CNBC and Rick Santelli's 'Losers'

Ryan Chittum of CJR.org holds up (2/19/09) Rick Santelli's recent CNBC tantrum as "an example of what's wrong with a certain kind of financial journalism, the kind where people of like backgrounds spend all day staring at tickers and interviewing each other. As such, Chittum says, "the segment couldn't more clearly illustrate the disconnect between the financial-services sector, certain financial journalists and, you know, 'reality'": What sent Santelli, CNBC's hot-air, oops, "On-Air Editor," over the edge? The homeowner bailout. Of course, he didn't get himself into nearly this much of a lather over the trillions of dollars we've given to […]

Feb
07
2009

Stimulus Bill Progresses–Cable News Doesn't

The folks at Think Progress recently brought us "a report showing that, in the debate over the House economic recovery bill on the five cable news networks, Republican members of Congress outnumbered their Democratic counterparts by a ratio of 2 to 1." Now that the legislation "passed the House last week with zero Republican votes, shifting the focus to the Senate," a subsequent survey (2/6/09) finds that "though the venue has changed, the debate on cable has not improved much": In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that Republican lawmakers outnumbered Democratic lawmakers 75 to 41 on cable news interviews […]