“You begin to believe your own responsibility to ‘get this guy’ – even though that’s complete bullshit….I think the Cramer thing was one of those that negatively impacted me like that because that came out of alchemy but it became such a big deal.”
– Jon Stewart on the The Howard Stern Show, 11/18/2014
Jon Stewart feels bad about the massive railroading that happened to Jim Cramer on The Daily Show in the aftermath of the crisis.
During an hour-long interview on the Howard Stern show this past week, Stewart and Stern got into a discussion about the trouble with viewer expectations that come along with doing a news show on important issues. Jon Stewart explains that it’s not really his role to have every moment be cathartic for everyone or for every interview to result in a gotcha moment. He brings up the Cramer example – wherein he essentially blamed a TV host for the entirety of the nation’s worst financial crisis in 70 years. In my book, Clash of the Financial Pundits, I take Jim’s side in calling the moment completely unfair, even though I’ve been a fan of The Daily Show and Jon Stewart’s since day one.
My take is that the people wanted blood and Jim basically served himself up for a crucifixion. Stewart had a target he could rage against who was willing to do it – but what The Daily Show didn’t count on was Jim Cramer not fighting back. The segment comes off as atrociously one-sided owing to Cramer’s lack of defense. This despite the fact that the Mad Money host is just one person and had absolutely nothing to do with the actual causes of the crisis in real life. Had Cramer pushed back and brought up his vigorously alerting the Federal Reserve to the markets’ problems in advance, it would have been entirely justified. But he didn’t bother. Like any trader, he saw what the story was on-set and simply cut his losses.
Full audio of the Howard Stern interview with Jon Stewart in the embed below, the Cramer stuff is discussed at the 35 minute mark.