Jon, You're Wrong. It <i>is</i> a Game, and You're a Player!

Where Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer go wrong is when they both actually believe their own publicity. We've been taken by the both of them, and of course it's our own fault.
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Booyah Jon, Welcome to Cramerica!

I've come to the realization that if you were to describe The Daily Show and Mad Money to a blind person they likely wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Both try to be entertaining, they both use 'goofy' sounds, they both try to be 'current' and they are both successful--sometimes. The Stewart vs. Cramer edition of The Daily Show was one of the other times.

Where they go wrong is when they both actually believe their own publicity. Verbal helium is a dangerous thing. Stewart is a comic turned the 'white knight' of journalism, holding the feet of hemming and hawing politicos to The Daily Show fire. Pointing out their foibles, keeping an eye on the world for the rest us. A voice of eternal reason, the Diogenes of his generation.

Cramer on the other hand is a stock picking "guru." In his veins beats the pulse of the Street. He's been there, done that, become a rich man by using his wits to stay ahead of the curve, and he, just like Stewart, is there to make sure that we, the unwashed, don't get taken,

Too late. We've been taken by the both of them, and of course it's our own fault.

I've said it more than once -- if you invest your money based solely on what Jim Cramer tells you on television you deserve to lose it. Funny thing is, I think Jim has always agreed with that. He did not make his millions by watching or appearing on TV. He made it by working way too hard and long in the pits of the financial world -- learning, studying, losing and winning. It cost him a lot (his hair and at times his health). What he is now is an entertainer, someone who can make an otherwise marginally interesting subject at least watchable. As luck would have it he's also become popular, or as popular as someone on CNBC can be. And there in lies the problem. "Popular" is not something ordinarily associated with a business channel, and once CNBC, which had wandered in the desert of marginal cable stations for way too long, got a long drink of popularity thanks to Cramer, well, before you know it Jim is being rolled out as a '"expert" on Today, Nightly and anything else NBC owns. And, he gets a shot at the "big time" too -- Martha Stewart. Now that's crossover appeal. Not to mention that when he takes on the Obama stimulus package the White House notices!! My goodness. Cramer is a guru!!

Stewart followed a similar path. A pretty good comedian with a droll style on a marginal cable show on a network that few folks had ever heard of. And then, through luck and hard work, and a real interest in current events he morphed it and himself into a "pundit", or the "anti-pundit." He was going to be the one true "seer" -- poke fun at the soft underbelly of politics, keeping us smiling and "in the know" -- the "shysters" wouldn't stand a chance with Jon Stewart on guard!

And how did these two fairy tales end up? Like something out of the Brothers Grimm. Cramer took a verbal pounding, said his "mea culpa," and spent most of the show looking like someone who had just been caught shop lifting a candy bar. Sorry, it won't happen again.

Stewart rode in on his charger, about the size of an Icelandic horse, poked and prodded and yelled at Cramer and then made sure to tell Jim that the economic crisis that we're in is not a "....@$#%^%$$!!!!!!"

He's right, the economic issues we all face are not a game, but his show is. And they both played it. Cramer and CNBC have never had this much publicity. And while they both come out of it with a slight odor, little is likely to change. There's nothing like the stink of notoriety. And the same goes for Stewart -- how many more folks watched his show because he had Cramer on? How much more polished is his white knight "armour" now that he's "slain" the evil Booyah? You think that was part of the plan?

The unfortunate piece of this is that Jim Cramer isn't all of CNBC. Whatever aroma is attached to him will seep now onto the other hard working folks at the network who get up early and stay late to report on the actual financial happenings of the day. The fact that they don't have the resources available to them to uncover the shenanigans that Stewart keeps harping about is not their fault. It's a problem faced by all of journalism and something to be discussed at length at some other time.

And Jon Stewart is not a journalist. He's a civically engaged entertainer, who apparently as frustrated as the rest of us with the economy went looking for someone to hammer. My suggestion Jon is next time find a bigger nail.

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