Jon Stewart Interviews Jim Cramer

(Posted 3/15/09) - One of the better interviews by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show occurred just last Thursday. Jon spoke frankly with Jim Cramer (Mad Money), one of CNBC's professional securities and equities experts who attempted to defend against Jon's charge that CNBC was grossly negligent in its reporting in 2007 - 2008 as the run up to recession and credit meltdown was accelerating.

Rather than excerpting from the interview, I link to the extended interview here .

I think readers will react to the interview in one of two ways:

  • Either seeing this as another liberal - progressive attack on businessmen and the media professionals that report on business and finance.
  • Or as evidence that media professionals often pander to their news sources, much to the detriment of their audience.

My own two-cents is that if one is to rely on any media expert for information, then one should vett that individual initially and over time to build up a level of confidence in their ability to search for the truth on one's behalf.

Jim Cramer plead not guilty by reason of being fooled by his sources -- Jon Stewart held him to a higher standard, asking if he did due diligence before reporting what a source provided. In my opinion this is the heart of the whole issue. We the public have by and large passed the responsibility of verifying information onto the news media -- and they often do not check the veracity of their sources. The worst of them even cherry pick biased (some would say dishonest) sources that support their own agenda.

My conclusion is that in an age of unlimited resources available for fact checking via the internet none of us should be easy to fool. That we do get fooled en masse on a regular basis speaks to our individual failings. Jon's interview holds this mirror to both the news media and to each of us, as news consumer.