There’s Nothing Funny About CNBC

Economics writer David Lieberman (USA Today, 3/11/09) previews a Today show interview with CNBC‘s Mad Money host Jim Cramer by pointing out that Cramer will “have to answer for misguided stock predictions–including some last year urging investors to buy and hold Bear Stearns just before the investment bank collapsed.” But the ironic bit comes after Cramer’s dismissive quote–“Oh, oh, a comedian is attacking me!”–when business journalism academic Andrew Leckey “says that while CNBC wants to be seen as serious, ‘The best ratings go to a wacky guy.’ Cramer often bellows and uses sound effects to highlight his stock picks.” As for Stewart’s comparative journalistic value, Lieberman writes that

some media critics say that Stewart has earned the right to be taken seriously. “Stewart is a comedian who does some press criticism and does it pretty well,” says Columbia Journalism Review Executive Editor Mike Hoyt.

Indeed, it’s been proven that Stewart’s “fake news” has a higher substance-to-hype ratio than “straight” network news and that his average viewer is more educated than are Fox “news” personality Bill O’Reilly’s.