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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.

1. http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=220538&title=jim-cramer-pt.-2

Comments

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to bow down in your direction.

I think your argument is great. You state your points and back them up all while praising funny man Jon Stewart. CNBC has so much opportunity to speak with and pick the brains of CEO’s, politicians and economist, yet their information is always lacking. Your completely right- a struggling economy is no reason to skimp on information our society NEEDS to know. If CNBC is going to use this as an excuse then the CEO’s should get off their high horse and settle for less money; if they do not accurately inform the world with what is going on, we will not know what to do to better the situation. The economic crisis will then only worsen, ultimately leading to their businesses downfall in which case they would no longer have a job! What ever happened to helping one another out (explaining the situation) and always being honest? Half-truths are not going to cut it for too much longer.

You also bring up the episode of The Daily Show where Jon Stewart interviews CNBC’s Jim Cramer. I remember watching this episode the other night with my mouth wide open; I could not believe how on point Jon Stewart was and, like you said, Cramer knew it. Today, we are all told to watch CNN, CNBC and other news broadcasts as well as read the newspaper reports by professional economists- to stay away from stations like Comedy Central because all they do is fry our brains and waste our time. Well, this obviously is not the case. Shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report may be extremely comical, but they can also be honest and truthful; media outlets SHOULD take a page or two from Jon Stewart when presenting the news. Not only would the information be more accurate and straightforward, but it might actually be interesting to watch.

It’s interesting how ignorant people can be as far what to tell the media. As you said, even if the media knew that the interviewees were telling them nonsense, they gave no effort to find the real truth unlike what Jon Stewart did. One would think that any kind of media, especially one that has the nationwide resources like CNBC, would have the ability and the guts to find the issues with the economy and report. It should not matter if it means completely demolishing a multibillion dollar company, the media needs to tell the people of the impending danger. Think about the time before the great depression during the roaring twenties. The media spent very little time warning the people to stop over using the stock market and as a result the great depression started. We all can relate to this since we are currently doing research for our papers. In order to do good research as a student, we need to “do our effing job”.
It really hurts to not know what happens around the world. When I was at home before college, I would always read the paper as well as watch the evening and night news. However, since coming to college, I feel very distant from the world. It is like I have been cut off from the outside world. This shows the importance of never mind having knowledge of the world, but getting good knowledge of the world.
If we cannot believe what news sources like CNBC tell us, then what is the true point in having the media?


I’d say the “what you see is what you get” culture is ubiquitous. Advertisements showcasing the perfect hair care shampoo, refereshing soda, or easy ways to pay off your debt are by no means unfiltered. In the television world, post-production is defined as “the period following filming or taping in which a motion picture or television show is readied for public presentation” I would like expand this definition to include a wider variety of media, specifically commercial spots, music videos, and other types of digital and print advertisements, and sadly, the news, specifically in Stewart’s case, CNBC. If you look at the word itself: POST- production, you will see that advertisers spend thousands of dollars "touching up" the original film, video, or picture. All of which is done after the fact in order to “enhance the truth”. Stewart’s work begs the question, what is authentic or honest? Or is none of it true and simply an advertising money making scheme? Evidence points to the second. Public view of many advertised items is distorted; I have yet to find a pack of skittles that have allowed me to “taste the rainbow”. It’s just too bad our news is delivered on the same plan of “truthiness” as advertisements and other controlled outlets. Not even CNBC can lead us to the pot of gold.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: postproduction.