Greenwald's main point:
...there's absolutely nothing about Cramer that is unique when it comes to our press corps. The behavior that Jon Stewart so expertly dissected last night is exactly what our press corps in general does --
At least give credit to Cramer for facing his critics and addressing (and even acknowledging the validity of) the criticisms. By stark contrast, most of our major media stars simply ignore all criticisms of their corrupt behavior and literally suppress it.
Unlike Cramer — who at least admitted fault last night and said he was “chastized” — most establishment journalists won’t acknowledge that there was anything wrong with the behavior of the press corps during the Bush years. The most they’ll acknowledge is that it was confined to a couple of bad apples — The Judy Miller Defense. But the Cramer-like journalistic behavior during that period that was so widespread and did so much damage is behavior that our press corps, to this day, believes is proper and justified.
Greenwald also shows the transcript of the Russert-Moyers interview where Moyers filled the role of Stewart and pursued Russert on the poor and lazy journalism before the Iraq War.
While Cramer fessed up and admitted he was lied to and failed to substantiate anything, Russert stood by his work.
Will Wilkinson goes on to make a point about "journalistic capture"...like "regulatory capture"...whereby the media (like government) is so dependent on insiders for information to do their job that the product winds up being tainted with the asymmetrical info of its sources....much like politicians who rely on the very people they seek to regulate to gather intelligence to craft new regulations.
Talk about the fox in the hen house in both cases.
And here’s something I’d like John Stewart to grasp. In some important sense, Timothy Geithner faces the same assymetrical information quandry Cramer did. The government is so incredibly dependent on Wall Street for much of the information it needs that it is almost inconceivable that the government (and thus the taxpayers) is not being gamed. Somehow I’d never thought much before about the similarity between regulatory capture and a journalist’s becoming a tool of her sources, but it’s a pretty striking similarity.
Of course I like the point Greenwald and Megan McArdle made. I share the sentiment.
On the one hand, I am not a fan of financial cable news (Bloomberg usually excepted). I think Jim Cramer should be illegal. Anyone who invests money based on one of these networks, or Wall Street Week, should seriously consider making themselves a ward of the court. Anyone in the business who goes on one of those shows is talking their book. If anyone has a good way to make money above and beyond broad, boring strategies like stock indices or bond funds, will not tell you about it.
Amen, Megan (and Glenn...who made a similar point).
Hanging on Cramer's word to make stock picks is like using horoscopes to plan your day.
For people to believe everything that someone like Cramer says and take it to the bank and never question it or seek out alternative sources shows how naive these people are about such a complex world. If financial and economic life was that simple and predictable, it'd be a much different world.