Where to begin? So much to discuss about the discussion just after 7:30 this morning around the crowded Morning Joe table. Yes, Joe guest and CNBC host Jim Cramer “fire[d] back at critics,” as MSNBC is promoting the segment, but…there was so much more. (Should you need a refresher on the “critics’” criticisms, see here.)
Watch the entire segment below but here is a taste of Cramer “fir[ing] back” — and Joe Scarborough firing back even harder (with ammo such as, try to follow: it’s the transcripts’ fault, not Cramer’s fault; Jon Stewart is not a comedian, he’s an ideologue; it’s so easy to be a comedian like Jon Stewart; maybe Stewart — comedian/ideologue— can also do Cramer’s job and the president’s job?):
CRAMER: [Jon Stewart] is a comedian and decided to focus on some calls I made during a bull market….He could run tape from Warren Buffett saying GE is a good buy at $22 and the stock is $7 but nobody is going to make fun of Buffett because he’s a rich, big, powerful guy…
SCARBOROUGH: …If Jon Stewart had transcripts of his show, we could look back, [see him] mocking the surge, mocking General Petraeus, mocking a thousand things over the last eight years. I would like it see that, YouTube. But you won’t because your show has transcripts and his doesn’t.
CRAMER: I think you ought to lighten up. He is a comedian….
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no, he’s not. He’s an ideologue and when George W. Bush was president [Stewart] spoke truth to power. Now that Barack Obama is president, suddenly nothing is funny about attacking the president. We predicted this months ago…It’s an ideologically driven show.
MIKA BRZEZINKSI: Can I just try the other side of this? Look, Cramer, we all have been trying our best to cover the story, but didn’t CNBC play a role in sort of…
CRAMER: We made mistakes…I’m an easy target, I’m loud, I try to be boisterous and obstreperous at times….
SCARBOROUGH: It’s so fascinating that Santelli made his speech about the bailouts and suddenly CNBC became enemy number one of the angry left. So suddenly everything went viral, it was only a matter of time before they started digging through transcripts and came up with these attacks. Yeah, [Cramer] made wrong calls, Warren Buffett made wrong calls, we made wrong calls, I’m sure these comedians who were doing the attacking make wrong calls…
At which point Joe guest Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s Chief Medical Editor, jumped in to perform some media criticism:
SNYDERMAN: We have to talk about this at some point. What is our role as journalists and what is our role as commentators and what is our role as giving advice and I think we do walk that line a lot. I think sometimes we step over…
Scarborough, however, was more eager to explain what Jon Stewart does and what he “would like to see” from Stewart:
SCARBOROUGH: So maybe Jon Stewart can tell us now what the markets are going to do over the next five to ten years and what’s going to happen next in Iraq or is he just going to sit there and cherry pick over the past eight years every mistake we made. This not a popular thing to say but basically he’s got 100 people working for him, they scour the internet and TV night and day, they find people that put themselves out on the line, that fight in the arena whether they’re politicians or commentators, if someone makes a little mistake here or there, I’m not talking about [Cramer’s] issue, but a politician stumbles over himself, [Stewart] runs a clip and makes a funny face and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response. It’s really easy to be a comedian…
I would like to see Jon Stewart come out and tell us what he believes in. Tell us where America needs to go in the future. And then let us take a microphone around and a camera around with him, 24 hours a day for a couple of months and then we can edit out all the mistakes he makes. It’s very easy to shoot at the person in the arena.
And finally, Mike Barnicle chimed in on “human nature:”
I got to tell you, no group in America, no profession in America is more self-absorbed than the media is. No other group is more self-absorbed. What we do is we rely on human nature and human nature unfortunately is more prone to the negative than the positive. You’re not going to get e-mails saying great job, Jim, so much as you’re going to get ten times the e-mails saying you’re a jerk. That’s what happens….With regard to Jimmy, I mean you’re on TV so many hours per week, five live hours per week and you’re absolutely right, Joe… you can pick and choose what any of us says and go to the negative on it and it feeds the beast out there. People aren’t sitting down to write emails saying ,”Mika, you look beautiful, Joe you made sense…”
Mika may not have been able to get many words in during the segment but her expression at that moment said… so much.