Smackdown! Of CSNBC
The hot issue on the tip of just about anyone’s tongue these days is the current financial crisis in America. Everyone has an opinion about it and is eager to share their thoughts. Unfortunately, a good majority of these people fall into at least one of the following categories: 1) Everyday citizens who have no idea what the real problem is and therefore just talk out of their ass, 2) Drunks who have no idea what the real problem is and therefore just talk out of their ass, or 3) Political/economic “experts” who have no idea what the real problem is and therefore just talk out of their ass. One of the few people who does not fall into one of these 3 categories is Mr. Jon Stewart. In his facetious rant against “loser homeowners” Stewart hits on many key points regarding CNBC’s (lack of) quality reporting prior to the fall of the stock market. The most striking aspect of this rant, however, is that an economic prowess of Stewart’s level is not even necessary to realize how insufficient CNBC’s reporting is. All one needed to do was to sparingly tune into an episode of “Mad Money,” any of CNBC’s interviews with CEOs of financial companies, or any of the discussions their “experts” had regarding the interviews with said CEOs, and then simply hear of these CEOs companies going under and the market falling. My point here, folks, is that while, in a perfect world, the leading reporter of financial news would honestly and truthfully report to us the condition of our market, the truth is this world is far from perfect; CNBC analysts knew what was going on. The people that provide us with our news benefit more from keeping us in the dark than from shedding light on the dubious, unethical, and sometimes unlawful practices of the institutions that hold our money.
In his blog, Will Bunch writes that the research that Jon Stewart does for his show is “The kind of research that's so hard for most newspapers to do anymore, with downsized staffs and ever-looming deadlines…” While I know there is truth to this statement, I see it as a cop-out excuse at best. I refuse to accept tightening of funding as a reason to not research the truth behind an issue, especially when the countries financial security, which includes Bunch’s own retirement fund, is put in jeopardy as a result. Bunch later goes on to say, “I don't have the answers to problems facing American journalism-“ Hey, I do: It’s called DO YOUR EFFING JOB. On March 12th, Stewart interviewed Jim Cramer from CNBC’s “Mad Money” on The Daily Show. In this interview, Jon grilled Cramer about the knowledge CNBC had about the shenanigans going on in the financial world, and how it kept from the viewers this knowledge. When confronted with clips contradicting his defense of himself, Jim admits, “Should we have been constantly pointing out the mistakes that were made? Absolutely. I truly wish we had done more.” (1) This brings to mind a certain saying my dad once told me about wishing in one hand and crapping in the other. When Jon brings up the access CNBC has to CEOs, Cramer tells him “I had a lot of CEOs lie to me on the show.” (1) The only thing more dangerous than having greedy CEOs driving companies into the ground while telling us they are doing “fine” is for us to accept their words at face value! As I stated before, it does not even take diligent research to figure these things out; this is something you and I can all do.
Now don’t get me wrong, I agree with almost every point Will Bunch makes about how media outlets should take a page or two from Jon Stewart when presenting the news. However, I can’t stand his stereotypical American attitude of “Oh yeah, I really want this to get done, as long as I’m not the one to do it” in regards to doing research to inform readers and viewers of what is happening in the world. It is the job of newspapers, magazines, and TV news sources to provide the consumers with this knowledge. However, it is apparent that this does not happen nearly enough. At the risk of sounding like the usual anti-government conspiracy theorist I say the following: we know what they want us to know. But this does not have to be the case. Keep an eye on the economy, and do listen to what the “experts” have to say, but think critically about their words.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to bow in the direction of Jon Stewart.