I won’t bemoan how the failure of media to do its job necessitates his role. I will simply give thanks that, in the absence of reliable media criticism, at least we have Jon Stewart — making us laugh while telling us truths that are far from funny. By now, you’ve heard about and seen his now-legendary Santelli-inspired CNBC takedown.
And perhaps you’ve read Jim Cramer’s Main Street column, in which he complained about Stewart taking his remarks out of context. To his credit, Stewart owned up to his error. And then some.
Cramer, though, wasn’t done. Not nearly. He turned up on NBC’s “The Today Show,” defending himself.
I think it’s safe to say it’s over now.
This was more than good TV. This was a foundation for the implementation of what I call “Cramer’s Law,” the legislative basis for TV financial advisor liability. When someone hold himself out as an experienced investor with superior knowledge of Wall Street and the stock market, and that commentator and advisor negligently recommends a course of action without due diligence, all for the sake of TV ratings and hype, and viewers justifiably and reasonably rely on said advice to their peril, liability should lie.
It’s very simple: If a physician negligently tells TV viewers to load up on aspirin when taking Coumadin, an absolute no-no, and someone, relying on that advice, does so, you don’t think that doctor is liable for damages? You betcha.
I only hope (I don’t pray) that legislators, the SEC and investment agencies, look at this interview and interrogation closer. There was nothing funny about this. It was a well-crafted indictment of the state of television cable commentary. Bring in the clowns. Yell, scream, hoot and howl. It’s only about ratings.
Go ahead and send in the clowns. But leave us Jon Stewart. At this point he’s the closest thing we’re likely to get to a Truth and Reconcilliation Commission on the economy.