Jim Cramer–Calm, Sober Wild Man

During his well-publicized appearance with Jon Stewart (Daily Show, 3/12/09), CNBC’s Jim Cramer tried to present himself as a rational financial journalist, dismissing his on-air wild man persona as entertainment. But if you listened to his calm, sober pronouncements, they really weren’t all that rational.

For instance, he said by way of apology, referring to the current financial crisis, “I got a lot of things wrong because I think it was kind of [a] one-in-a-million shot.” Well, no–if you build a financial system on the idea that assets are going to keep rapidly increasing in value forever, the system’s eventual collapse is not a one-in-a-million shot. That’s more like a one-in-one shot.

If you don’t get that, even with the benefit of hindsight, then you really are not qualified to be a financial journalist.

Here’s a quote from the Daily Show‘s original CNBC expose (3/4/09), which ought to be carved on Cramer’s tombstone:

You should be buying things and accept that they’re overvalued and–but accept that they’re going to keep going higher. I know that sounds irresponsible, but that’s how you make money.

–Jim Cramer (Mad Money, 10/31/07)

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.