14 March, 2009

"You Will Like Him When He's Angry" - Jon Stewart Annihilates Jim Cramer

Steve Benen's absolutely right. You will like Jon Stewart when he's angry:
In 2004, Jon Stewart appeared on CNN's "Crossfire," and explained that the show was "hurting America." He wasn't kidding. The brutal appearance exposed the show as something of a farce; CNN's executives ended up agreeing with Stewart; and three months later, CNN announced that "Crossfire" was finished.

With that history in mind, CNBC should feel awfully nervous right now.

After a week of back and forth, Stewart had Jim Cramer on "The Daily Show" last night and not only destroyed the "Mad Money" host, but more importantly, exposed CNBC as an embarrassment. By the time the brutal interview was over, one thing was clear: the network has no clothes.

I'm surprised they're left with any skin.

Jon Stewart's treated as something as a lightweight because he does a fake news program on a comedy channel. It's a mistake. He's one of the sharpest satirists out there. He's more of a journalist than the vast majority who lay claim to that title on "serious" programs. And, in the finest tradition of the old Irish bards, his satire brings the mighty crashing down. Kings used to tremble in fear when a bard got annoyed with them. Kings who didn't respect their power lost their thrones. It's a historical lesson some folks should revisit, because Jon Stewart is proving that sort of bard.

If you haven't already done so, take fifteen minutes to watch the demolition in its entirety.

A tour-de-force on Jon's part, and a pathetic performance on Jim Cramer's. Did you notice the cringing, whipped-dog quality there? He's spent the past week puffing himself up, starting a battle of wits, and it's clear when he sits down in that chair that he's just realized he's completely unarmed. Watching him attempt to lick Jon's shoes and wag apologetically was just amazing. There's a man who realized too late just what deep shit he'd gotten himself in to. And Jon is le bon homme sans merci. I haven't seen him that righteously angry in a long time.

Comparing him to the Hulk was one of the most apt things Steve Benen's ever done in a long career of apt comparisons. Combine the anger of a just man with Jon's intelligence and knowledge, and you have yourself an unbeatable force. No wonder Jim was widdling all over the floor.

And remember what I said about bards laying kings low? It's already started:
Thomas Clarke, who has been CEO of financial news website The Street has announced his departure “effective immediately.”

Clarke’s abrupt departure comes less than a day after The Daily Show aired tape of The Street’s co-founder, Jim Cramer, explaining in a Street.com webcast how he, as a hedge fund manager, manipulated value to serve some publicly traded companies and investors at the expense of others.

That clip is going to destroy more than just Clarke before this is over, I guarantee it. And in the meantime, MSNBC, which had been hyping the skirmish between Stewart and Cramer while they thought it was all in good fun and some excellent publicity for their sister network's show, imposed a gag order when it became clear a comedian had inflicted casualties:

A TVNewser tipster tells us MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today. In fact, the only time it came up on MSNBC was during the White House briefing, when a member of the press corps asked Press Secretary Robert Gibbs if Pres. Obama watched. Gibbs wasn't sure if the president had, but Gibbs did. "I enjoyed it thoroughly," the Press Secretary said.

I'm sure he did.

Jon Stewart's ripped the mask off the people who spent the last several years lying us into one of the biggest global financial catastrophes since the Great Depression. That will snowball now, because a lot of people who otherwise don't pay attention have now seen Jim Cramer on The Daily Show, caught in a clip where he advises people to manipulate the stock market, up to and including indulging in criminal activity. Add to that the fact that the banks are attempting to subvert the cramdown bill that just passed the House. And that's not all:

Oh, they also want all accounting laws changed so they can more easily fudge the numbers, too.

Before financial institutions have collapsed over the past several months, they have come to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, pleading for a change in mark-to-market accounting rules so that they can continue to appear to be solvent on their balance sheets.

Robert Herz, head of the FASB, told a panel of lawmakers Thursday that the loudest critics of fair market accounting practices have been the very same banks that have gone belly up when regulators would not let them adjust their accounting.

"There seems to be a clamoring for changing mark-to-market rules that seems to come largely from institutions that may be insolvent," Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) said to Herz at a meeting of the Financial Services Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance, and Government Sponsored Enterprises.

Grayson said that, from Herz' testimony, it seemed that "there may be institutions that are insolvent and they haven't been forced to write down their books to the point [of insolvency] yet, and those are maybe the same institutions that are asking us to modify the mark-to-market rules so that they won't have to admit that they're bankrupt. Is that correct?"

Herz said that it was.
As Grayson says, "We have people who break every rule in the book and then they think that the answer to their problems is to break more rules."

I hope to fuck Jon has a clip of that. Because once people see the true face of this, once they understand how they've been lied to and manipulated and robbed by the financial fucktards and their slavering media devotees, this will be the tipping point. This cozy little relationship between Wall Street, Capitol Hill, and the networks will get hit by a blowtorch of public outrage. Thrones are gonna come crashing down.

And in large part, we'll have Jon Stewart to thank.

We like Jon when he's angry. I'm pretty damned certain the crooks involved in this won't.

1 comment:

Efrique said...

Actually, there were arguments going on about mark-to-market accounting making financial disasters worse before this present crisis hit (I know because I'm on some mailing lists that were having just such discussions).

The good thing about mark-to-market accounting is that it gives a financial picture of how the company is doing if you had to wind it up right now. This makes it harder to disguise companies that are in serious trouble. But it has the unfortunate side effect that in a market that's rapidly dropping, you force companies that would be going concerns to act as if they're in a continuous fire sale, with the result that in fact thats exactly how they end up -- and the resulting drop in other asset values puts even more stable companies in the same boat.

Mark-to-market accounting can take what could be a moderate recession and very rapidly turn it into a gigantic financial disaster.

That's not to say that all companies asking to abandon it are doing it for sound reasons, but in fact there are very good reasons why mark-to-market may be contributing to the current problems, and causing failures that would not have otherwise occurred.

Mark-to-market may ultimately have to be somewhat modified for it to give the advantages it does without terrible problems.