Last week there was the Brawl Street confrontation between Daily Show’s John Stewart and CNBC’s Jim Cramer.
It was interesting to see a review of the Brawl on the NYTimes Web Front Page. But even more distressive was the fact that the big Sunday Morning news shows like NBC’s Meet the Press, ABC’s This Week, and CBS’s News Sunday Morning all picked up the story each raising variations on the following questions:
1)was the business and general press seriously deficient in tracking Wall Street’s demise. Did they warn of upcoming Mortgage-meltdown calamity soon enough with comprehensive coverage and due vigor given the huge risks?
2)were too many Busines Press sources too complicit and even promotional in their laissez-faire attitude to the Housing Bubble and/or Consumer’s irrational exuberance?
3)Is the press currently leaving too many financial topics in limbo – they are marked off as taboo or off-limits because they are to inflammatory or damaging to US Financial and National interests?
4)has the business press like the many sections of the general press become too infotainment oriented?
Let me assure you that Jim Cramer who was barely a 1/4 inch above absolute groveling, did not do much better than half apologize and confirm that he indeeed was in the infotainment business. The TV media’s coverage/assessment of itself was also very “kid glove”. Some hard questions were asked; but none really addressed. Given the financial beating that just about all media are taking in the new Web Information World, both print and broadcast media were maundering. So again it was left to John Stewart on the Daily Show to ask the tough questions, make the parallel to coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq invasion —- and of course provide no real answers to the questions raised. The idea that the Daily Show plays a key role in setting the issues worthy of national attention is take a 5th anti-sobering.