Tuesday, March 17

On Stewart vs. Cramer

So much ado has been made over the "media smackdown" of Jim Cramer done by John Stewart.
I would have enjoyed it more if Cramer had argued back...at all, but none the less everyone's inner populist was excited. My only problem with The Daily Show (and Colbert too) is that they rarely go deep enough into an issue. It's easy to point to the financial media as examples of a too close press/industry relationship. I think that the nature of financial news made it an easy target. I would imagine that the audience is fairly homogenous in certain aspects (they all look like the monopoly guy), "

also laymen can find it difficult to understand what's going on due to technical terms and such. I have a teacher explain it too me three times a week and still cant follow most of these shows. In such a fast moving market there's also a push to get the newst news faster which requires "inside information.
What I think should be taken from the interview is that any type of "embedded journalism" is going to be inherently more friendly to their subjects. War reporters embedded with troops begin to identify with them. A reporter on a cross country plane trip with Obama is more likely to be swayed by his personality than a reporter in Cleveland.

Furthermore the mainstream (read: corporate) press relies on quotes, sources, and a working relationship between the reporter and subject. The obvious conflict is that certain reporters or news outlets may be less likely to call out the industry they report on in fear of damaging relationships and eliminating their power to get inside information in the future. For example, Cramer stated that he knows a lot of hedge fund managers personally. Who can really be surprised that he isnt calling them out on tricks that he may have learned from them?!

Stewart did a service for calling out CNBC and the greater hackery of the "financial news networks," it will be interesting to see if this will change the composition of his guest list. This blogger would love to see Amy Goodman, The Young Terks, or any other number of independent outlets featured as alternatives to the failing mainstream press. Although they don't have the reputation or the access of knowing Bear Sterns CEO's personally, they also don't have the baggage that goes along with that type of relationship.

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