Jon Stewart takes Jim Cramer apart: getting mad at the 'Mad Money' man

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What The Daily Show With Jon Stewart billed as “the week-long feud of the century” almost ended in a very funny fizzle: Instead of being his usual feisty self, financial advisor Jim Cramer could not apologize fast enough to Stewart for what he repeatedly called his “shenanigans” as host of CNBC’s Mad Money.

Note I said “almost,” because something pretty amazing happened. Things got dead-serious as Stewart played 2006 clips of Cramer talking about how to manipulate stocks and create Wall Street rumors during the time he was a hedge-fund manager. You could almost see the blood drain from Cramer’s face every time the camera returned to him in the studio with Stewart. Talking about the present-day crisis, Stewart tore into Cramer, saying for doing things like urging his viewers to buy Bear Stearns stock shortly before that investment bank collapsed. “It’s not a f—— game,” said Stewart, asserting that what Cramer and other financial reporters did could be considered “criminal at worst.”

Yes, the half-hour (embedded below, in three parts) was frequently hilarious. Showing a clip of Cramer using a rolling-pin on some pie crust with Martha Stewart on her TV show earlier in the day, the Daily Show host said, “Don’t you destroy enough dough on your own show?”

Stewart allowed as how he and Cramer are, as TV entertainers, “both snake-oil salesmen to a certain extent.” He said that in all the joking and sniping that had been done over the past few weeks about financial news reporting on TV, Cramer had “become the face of this, and that’s incredibly unfortunate.” Cramer said meekly, “I’ll try” to do better by the public in the future.

But the dismantling of Cramer’s reputation had been done. The audience kept interrupting with applause and cheers, and for once it didn’t come across as a matter of hey-our-guy-just-pounded-a-jerk. It sounded like a small explosion of relief that finally, someone on TV was making sense about what has happened to money in America, and it wasn’t Jim Cramer.

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  • Jeff W.

    Stewart deserves the Edward R. Murrow award.

  • tvwatcher

    Its unfortunate Cramer is the one being roasted in public when he was the one that did those vidz @ thestreet.com to expose wall street shenanigans. Cramer is the ONLY talking head that sticks his neck out to recommend what he thinks of a stock. To use him as a scapegoat isn’t fair.

  • David M

    It was breathtaking. A Peabody Award is not enough for the “Daily Show” team… I just can’t get over how the most powerful pure reporting I’ve seen in ages comes from the furthest thing from an actual news channel.

  • Craig

    I second that Jeff. Unbelievable. I never thought I would see real journalism again on TV. Imagine that the only TV journalist left would be a comedian who’s show follows puppets that make crank calls.

  • Pedro

    What a great show, I felt bad for Cramer. He did not even prepare for the interview.

  • Marvin8

    I STILL can’t believe my eyes that Cramer never even bothered to defend himself. He took it like a man, and appears to have deserved it. That’s enough of him. Next, all the OTHER talking head BS con-artists. Stewart, there isn’t enough praise to be bestowed upon you for doing that interview. The REAL news networks should be ashamed of themselves for not doing this first. How embarassed they should be to watch this.

  • Nate

    So, is Stewart a comedian or a social commentator? Did he need to go after Cramer the way he did? He came off as kind of a do*che if you ask me. Like Cramer said, he wasn’t doing anything illegal. Does it make it right? Probably not, but I hope Stewart goes back to being funny, because it got to the point where I thought I was watching a Dateline special or something.

  • Franny

    What really came through in this “interview” is that neither of these two are journalists, and yet they’re the ones we follow. The only difference between them is that Stewart’s willing to admit he’s our dancing monkey.

  • Audrey

    So uncomfortable to watch, and yet I knew it was crucial and my eyes stayed glued to the screen. I applaud Stewart for really being insanely intelligent and not budging at all, for going forward, full steam ahead, because it’s the right thing to do! Sure, it’s unfortunate that Cramer took the brunt of it, because at first it was “Eff CNBC.” But that doesn’t make Cramer the scapegoat by any means. I view this interview as the culmination of Stewart’s frustration with mainstream media and their power over the American people. The media has the ability to control what information we receive and how we view it, and that controls what we think and how we act and how we vote. It seeps into and effects politics and Wall Street, and Jon Stewart has been telling us all this for years. For him to get a chance to do this and to voice the same frustrations so many others are feeling right now is just incredible. And he did it in such an unbelievably intelligent and thorough way — bravo!

  • Mikhail

    Nice one Nate so you think he was being mean to a crook? In fact he was actually too kind, I guess it bothers you to hear someone actually tell the truth on tv for change? maybe you work for Wall Street? that might explain the pathetic attempt to defend Cramer with ” he wasn’t doing anything illegal” How about immoral? a bit too complex? I certainly hope you don’t run your day to day relationships that way. Stewart spoke for millions of us and for that he is awesome!

  • Mikhail

    Nice one Nate so you think he was being mean to a crook? In fact he was actually too kind, I guess it bothers you to hear someone actually tell the truth on tv for change? maybe you work for Wall Street? that might explain the pathetic attempt to defend Cramer with ” he wasn’t doing anything illegal” How about immoral? a bit too complex? I certainly hope you don’t run your day to day relationships that way. Stewart spoke for millions of us and for that he is awesome!

  • Joshua

    Video link that flies in the face of Cramer claiming to represent the average investor…

  • myherojstewart

    Thank you Jon Stewart . Actual TV journalism was witnessed this evening
    and it did expose Jim Cramer to be the shill for Wall Street he is. To defend a company that has a 35 to 1 balance sheet says all you need to know about Jim Cramer.

  • Julie

    I thought Stewart was a little too arrogant and self-righteous, and I was mystified that Cramer was so quick to agree with him. But this is what we deserve when we no longer support the written word or good, solid news reporting. We prefer the entertainers and that’s what we get–journalism is dying with the newspapers.

  • Dwight K Schrute

    Someone needs to knock Stewart off his high horse too. He should look in a mirror.

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