This beatdown was not meant for the gregarious, goofy "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer as Jon Stewart tried to repeat when not smacking the man in the face with his own words. He quoted Carly Simon and to paraphrase, said this ass-whoopin' isn't about you.
And yet it was.
I don't know why, but no one ever seems to learn that you don't start fights with the court jesters of society. Especially when they have large, televised forums. And I don't know why people still discount how a fake news show can turn frightfully real in the hands of a well-informed Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert or even David Letterman. They are comedians. They don't have to play by the "rules." You will be eviscerated. Yet I watch people do this over and over again thinking they can beat the comic and walk out all "no whammies" at the end of the interview.
Do these people not watch the show? Do they not know that Jon Stewart once KILLED A PROGRAM?
(More after the jump.)
That said, I think Cramer stepped in shit when he even opened his mouth to question Stewart's mocking of CNBC and their rampant CEO leg humping that they pass off as objective journalism. He should have said nothing and laughed it off if Jon was, in fact, his hero and a guy he admires and aspires to be like. What the hell was all the smack talk about a comedian attacking you and going on all of the NBC-MSNBC-CNBC family to have your boo boos kissed?
This was really about Rick Santelli not taking his medicine and backing out of an interview (which will always, always make you the target of mockery ... ask John McCain). But Cramer could have ignored it because it really wasn't about him, per se, but the network as a whole. Yet he opened his mouth, causing the trumped up war of words leading to a smackdown that he obviously didn't want to have.
"How did we get here?" was the question. But the answer was obvious -- CNBC has no balls.
Cramer should not have been up there catching that beatdown. As wrong and ass-hat-like as Cramer can be, he's not the villain here. The villains were Bear Sterns and Bernie Madoff and the executives at CNBC who required nothing of many of their reporters other than that they make kissy faces with our capitalist overlords. This was CNBC President Mark Hoffman's beat down and he sent one of his personalities, his serfs, to go take the beating for him and get his network's credibility back.
But Cramer didn't fight Stewart and spent most of the interview capitulating, only disagreeing that CNBC was not "in bed" with the people on which they were reporting. (Despite some not-so-thinly vieled rumors about a certain female reporter and a certain CEO.) How did THAT help their credibility, with Cramer basically admitting to being a snake oil salesman labeling his wares as vitamin tonic?
While on CNN this morning folks were trying to find anything nice to say about the Thursday Night Massacre of CNBC's integrity, but the reality is the whole thing was a massive mistake and miscalculation on the network's part. They should have taken their lumps and laughed it off. He is a satirist. You can "pretend" that he's not really talking about you. That's what smart people do. They don't show up and wrestle with the bear to give the bear ever better ratings.
Which brings me to another sad, sad individual -- RNC chairman (but for how long) Michael Steele.
The other deadly satirist, Stephen Colbert, has called Steele out for a "rap battle" repeatedly. This, of course, is partly Steele's fault for saying he was going to bring the RNC to people in hip hop urban suburban settings (whatever that means). He opened himself up for this joke.
Steele has twice accepted the challenge in some fashion, yet has not appeared on the show. Colbert has now begun goading Steele to come on and face his mad skillz. With Steele's inability to even handle interviews with normal, rule-playing, dull, regular journalists, I cannot implore him enough to STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM STEPHEN COLBERT.
You cannot beat Stephen. Stephen, like Stewart, is not a journalist. He's not a politician. He has no rules. You will be showing up with gun to a fight with a rapidly shape-shifting vat of Silly Puddy that will merely absorb your bullets, then you, then cover you in goop and make you look like an idiot. And then the tape will be replayed -- everywhere -- to the point of exhaustion and your adversaries will have ever more ammunition for that whole "vote of no confidence" that may or may not be coming.
Learn from Cramer and CNBC's mistakes and stay far, far away. No matter how much it would entertain us all to see you attempt and massively fail at being hip with a guy who once carried on a comical fued with South Korean pop star Rain to the point that he actually filmed and danced his way through a parody video -- singing in Korean -- about taking a girl out for some Kimchi.
Just don't do it, Steele. He's a killer. All the good comics are.