Cramer v. Stewart, the rematch

The CNBC host and the "Daily Show" star tangle, and once again, Cramer comes out the loser.

Published March 10, 2009 4:05PM (EDT)

It took a while, but someone from CNBC finally responded to Jon Stewart's recent takedown of the network. And the person fighting back was none other than one of Stewart's biggest targets, "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer. He didn't escape the battle without taking a few hard blows, though.

Cramer, who appears to be a bit of a narcissist, wrote a column for in which he addresses all of his recent critics and extends an offer to the Obama administration to help them with the economy. One interesting bit:

So, why after toiling in the cable wilderness for four years with Mad Money am I the target of the wrath of the Obama clan, and the darling, albeit surely momentary, of the Obama-critics? After all, my criticism of Obama's handling of the economic crisis is a lot less pointed than my withering August 2007 "They Know Nothing" meltdown against the previous regime's handling of the economic crisis. Then, I advocated a swift slashing of interest rates by the Federal Reserve and a concomitant policy for potential widespread banking failures that were sure to come because of the Republican administration's pernicious laissez-faire attitude toward Wall Street.

The answer lies in the way the two administrations handled criticism.

The Bush administration, I believed, simply chose to ignore my warnings, perhaps because of a brutal combination of ideology, fecklessness and complacency.

Well, yeah, I'm sure that's the only possible reason anyone would have to ignore Cramer's financial advice. Surely it couldn't be his record of faulty advice, since he argues that the infamous clip of him recommending Bear Stearns just before its collapse has been taken out of context:

Take Frank Rich and Jon Stewart. Both seize on the urban legend that I recommended Bear Stearns the week before it collapsed, even though I was saying that I thought it could be worthless as soon as the following week. I did tell an emailer that his deposit in his account at Bear Stearns was safe, but through a clever sound bite, Stewart, and subsequently Rich -- neither of whom have bothered to listen to the context of the pulled quote -- pass off the notion of account safety as an out-and-out buy recommendation.

In Cramer's defense, he's right about this. The clip was taken out of context, and he describes it accurately in that excerpt. But on Monday night's "Daily Show" Stewart responded to Cramer's response, and while he apologized for getting that bit wrong, he also had quite an effective comeback -- the "Mad Money" host had recommended buying Bear Stearns five days before the clip in question.

Check out that "Daily Show" segment, which is pretty brutal, and pretty funny, below.


Update: Just saw this after originally publishing the post -- Cramer was on NBC's "Today Show" this morning, and he was asked about Stewart and Monday night's "Daily Show." He seems a little upset by the criticism.
"Oh, a comedian, a comedian? A comedian's attacking me?" a clearly exasperated Cramer yelled when anchor Meredith Vieira asked him about Stewart. "Wow! He runs a variety show."

Vieira then ran the "Daily Show" clip and asked Cramer if he made a mistake, to which he responded, "Did I make a mistake? OK, well, first of all, any time you've recommended a stock and it goes down, you've made a mistake. Here's a shocker: Almost every stock is down. Any stock you recommended is bad... This is a terrible market, which is why I told people to sell everything. But you think he's going to run that tape? No, 'cause he's got a comedy show."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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