YOU WILL LIKE HIM 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.
If you watched the aired program last night, you missed most of the discussion, which had to be edited down. Fortunately, the whole thing, start to finish, is online. Here’s Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. (Note: some of the language is not safe for work — profanities were not “bleeped.”)
Cramer seemed anxious to avoid getting skewered. Before the interview, he was lowering the temperature, making self-deprecating jokes, and talking about how he patterned his own show after Stewart’s. On the “Daily Show,” Cramer continued to try being nice, telling Stewart what a “fan” he is. He even agreed with Stewart on the whole Santelli rant.
But that didn’t stop Stewart from saying what needed to be said. It was like watching a trained prosecutor destroy a fumbling defendant on the stand.
Jon Stewart hammered Jim Cramer and his network, CNBC, in their anticipated face-off on “The Daily Show,” repeatedly chastising the “Mad Money” host for putting entertainment above journalism.
“I understand that you want to make finance entertaining, but it’s not a … game,” Stewart told Cramer, adding in an expletive during the show’s Thursday taping. The episode was scheduled to air at 11 p.m. EDT on Comedy Central.
Cramer apparently went on the show to make nice and end the “feud.” Stewart apparently had him on the show to expose how ridiculous and irresponsible CNBC is as a network. The result wasn’t pretty, but as Alex Koppelman noted, it was “a riveting half-hour, something almost completely unlike anything else ever seen on television.”
Watching the evisceration, I couldn’t help but wonder why it takes a comedian on Comedy Central to do the kind of interview the non-fake news shows ought to be doing. When the media establishment marvels at Jon Stewart’s popularity, they tend to think it’s his humor. It’s not. It’s because he calls “bullsh*t” when most major media players won’t. He did so last night, and it made for important viewing.