‘Epic’ cable battle between Stewart, Cramer indicative of problems

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Jon Stewart is a collective newsroom hero. He does not claim to be a journalist, yet his show has won two Peabody awards. How can someone who uses a large amount of profanity and funny faces to give us “news” be so good at it?

The answer is that he asks the right questions and he uses his satire to its absolutely correct purpose: to point out faults in mainstream media, politics and various other organizations who make logical errors so gaping that we can’t help but laugh.

The only other thing we can do is cry.

Recently, the battle between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s “Mad Money” show came full circle when Cramer appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

This event was a long time coming. It began with Stewart making fun of CNBC for being a group of terrible business journalists. One analyst on the network called individual homeowners stupid, while the rest of the network was telling viewers to buy and support companies like Lehman Brothers and AIG.

Stewart, suitably, made fun of this. Afterward, Cramer and the rest of the Cable universe was abuzz with talking about Stewart’s analysis – saying he took it out of context, a sort of cherry picking of mistakes. Stewart responded in kind with a hilarious eight-minute segment on trying to clarify his legitimate point, that, as experienced business journalists, CNBC should have seen this coming and done something about it. It is not just about bad advice, it is about bad journalism. Of course, viewers had to read between the lines on this because Stewart ended the show by “appearing” on “Dora the Explorer.”

Stewart seemed to be having fun with it and then when Cramer agreed to be on his show, he maintained his lighthearted banter, but he seemed legitimately upset at Cramer. He was upset because Cramer and his colleagues on CNBC failed in their role as journalists to warn people who have little knowledge but are deeply tied to the stock market.

Where were the journalists when all this was going down? Likely talking about the Obama’s potential dog.

Stewart does not claim to be a hard-hitting, investigative journalist, but in his own profane, offensive way, he makes us think more than any of the other news networks can.

If those terrible talking heads on 24-hour news networks are going to call themselves journalists or something similar, like “news analysts,” then they should actually start doing their job well, as opposed to failing miserably and then blaming someone else – like Cramer did during his interview with Stewart.

In the unsteady world of journalism, journalists have no room for error. Journalism is becoming so bloated and so useless that no wonder no one wants to pay for it anymore, they can get mediocre news on the Internet for free.

Stewart is not always right and he does not always have a legitimate point, but he’s way ahead of most.