March 16

Why Jon Stewart Deserves an Emmy

This article was originally published in March 2009.

And every other award we can heap upon him.

Jon Stewart made TV history when he humiliated Jim Cramer on the Daily Show.  I don’t say this because I like to see Wienie-liars humiliated, (well, ok, I really do) but because I want to see the TV News business exposed for what it often is.  (Not ALWAYS)


Jon Stewart manages to humiliate the news media and still be a NICE GUY. Not to mention funny and adorable!  Sigh…I am in love.

His takedown of Cramer in 2009 wasn’t his first rodeo.  I loved his blunt assessment of TV news on CNNs Crossfire show in 2004.  In hindsight, this appearance seems more meaningful, given Tucker Carlson’s rise in both prominence and nefariousness.

TV News is supposed to educate the masses and shine a light on government and corporate activities.  It doesn’t.

TV News in America is pathetic these days.  If you want to truly know at any depth what is actually going on in this world, DO NOT waste your time watching 24-hour American corporate TV news.

Original Video of The Daily Show as Jon Stewart Interviews Jim Cramer and humiliates him for being the less-than-credible source of information TV Charlatan that he is.

Jim Cramer is supposed to be an expert on financial matters.  He is supposed to be a friend to the average Joe and educate the public, so they too can take part in the complex financial markets.

The promos on CNBC tout him as such, a trustworthy expert.  So why have I never bothered to believe it?  Well, because I worked in the TV news business for a long time and know first hand what a sham it can be.

If TV news were the LEAST bit honest, Jim Cramer’s promo would read:

“Laugh with this circus clown as it imitates a hyperactive trained seal, touting the latest crock of crap Wall Street hustlers want you to believe, so they can make more money!  No truth is revealed on this show!  We’re just entertainers and corporate shills, after all.”

Jim Cramer is but one lump in the cesspool known as American TV news media. Right now, he is getting the brunt of criticism that the entire industry deserves.  That’s a little unfair.  Let’s spread some well-deserved criticism around!

I do not know Jim Cramer.  I never worked at CNBC.  But I recognize him and his ilk as I have worked with the same basic type.  The industry has been overrun by entertainment drivel and public relations B.S. masquerading as important, intellectually-driven factual information.   It didn’t use to be this way.   TV news had much higher credibility ratings in previous decades, and more outlets actually did journalism.

And to be clear, there are still pockets of excellence in the media.  I’ve known dozens of hardworking-dedicated journalists who feel frustrated by the fact that upper management and corporate owners do not want them to behave as trained journals, they prefer entertainment, drama, and superficial hogwash.

Some of the worst perpetrators within the industry pride themselves on their work and truly think they are doing a public service.  Me?  I hated it and railed against it every chance I got.  I kept bringing up the good old days when the station did real journalism.

As a journalist, I was hard core. I believe in factual, non-emotional, unbiased coverage of all sides of an issue.  Think Amy Goodman and PBS shows like NOVA.  Lucky fir me, the TV station I worked for, WSMV in Nashville, was actually quite dedicated to real journalism in the early days, but as the ownership changed, so did the news philosophy.

DARE TO BE DULL was the news philosophy I tried to live by in a world where “If it bleeds, it leads,” rules.  In the early days, I was surrounded by people who largely felt the same way, even the management!  In fact, the management pushing real journalism is why the station did what it did, which was courageous, award-winning, superior journalism that made a difference.    As time went on and the industry morphed, I felt a tad out of place, but never wavered in my belief that real JOURNALISM is one of the bedrocks of our national identity.

The news media is called the fourth estate in this country because smart people realize that the three branches of government need to be held accountable to the people.  It is not going to happen on its own.  An honest, unrestricted news media is essential to a functioning democracy. If the government is populated by crooks and liars, the people need the news media to tell them.  If corporations are running rip shod over folks, people need the news media to expose it.

The news media is given the unpleasant and unpopular job of tattle tale. No one like a tattle tale until their penchant for the truth saves our collective asses.

So what happens when the news media gets in bed with the government and the corporations?

You get financial meltdowns that were totally predictable, with everyone responsible screaming, “Who knew this could ever happen?”

I knew.  Many of you in the media knew too, you just weren’t willing to let everybody else in on the secret.

I’ve been in more than a few verbals wars with the people responsible screaming, “Who knew?”

Guess what?  I knew.  Little ole me.  Yup, news nerd me started predicting this financial collapse two years before it happened in 2008. I knew the Iraq war was bogus from the beginning, too.  OMG, that one was so obvious, frankly I was shocked when more people did not see it too, but with corporate TV news blasting out the lapdog-stories, it was inevitable.

Is that because I am brilliant?  Nope. It’s because I know portions of the news media are full of crap and I know how to recognize true, good sources of information.  Jim Cramer is not one of them. He is a clown dressed up as a journalist.  His act could not pass a high school journalism class.  I used to teach high school journalism!  He could do fine in drama class, but not journalism.

If the news media in the country did its job, they would have been revealing big problems in the financial industry for years now. Predatory lending was not a secret.  I did a few stories on it back in 2000.

As the TV station where I worked morphed from journalism to a more sensational “news” model, the general manager didn’t like us doing stories about topics like predatory lending and other corporate consumer rip-offs, so he made us stop.  After all, the predatory lenders were paying advertisers.  Can’t piss off paying advertisers by revealing their shenanigans!

As part of the Demand Real Journalism campaign, I am going to write more articles about how the corporate news media really operates. I am going to tell you the dirty little secrets of TV news, like a corporate new director who actually LAUGHS at the notion of real journalism. “Journalism doesn’t work!” he insisted. “If you want to do journalism, go get a job at PBS,” he barked.  Seriously.  A well-paid TV news executive mocking the practice of journalism at an all-employee meeting.  Guess who stood up to challenge those outlandish assertions?

Even worse, I’ll tell you about the time I applied for a job in public relations at a health care facility and the guy asked me this question: “If our staff killed a patient, could you get up in front of the TV cameras and lie about it?” When I said no, the interview was over.  Employment can  be difficult in the PR-driven media world for a truthful person.

TV news has fallen down in the job, and the sad part is that people rely on it for decision-making information. PLEASE stop doing that!  Some TV news, like Jim Cramer and Tucker Carlson are not trustworthy sources of information, I do not care what the promos say.

news nerd lorraine grulaLorraine Grula
News Nerd and journalism advocate

Please leave a comment below.

Here are 15 articles on the blog for Demand Real Journalism, plus one about me, in case that is a concern.    

Demand Real Journalism: How Will It Fix This Mess?

Letter to POTUS for Demand Real Journalism

Demand Real Journalism: Democracy Depends on Journalism and the Founding Fathers Knew It

Why Reality and Facts Matter. A Well-Functioning Media is Critical for Freedom in America

More Thoughts on Fixing the News Media 

Demand Real Journalism: Let’s First Define Journalism

The 11 Biggest Reasons Why News Media Is Failing Democracy, Part 1

The 11 Biggest Reasons Why TV News is Failing Democracy, Part 2

The 11 Biggest Reasons Why News Media is Killing Democracy, part 3

The 11 Biggest Reasons Why News Media is Killing Democracy, part 4

Demand Real Journalism: How Dysfunctional News Media Affects EVERYTHING! 

Demand Real Journalism: It All Started with the Sweaty Brow of a Homely Man…

Demand Real Journalism: Why I Embrace “Dare to be Dull” as a TV News Slogan

Why Relying on an Advertising Business Model Dooms Journalism

Commercialism Overtakes Journalism

Hi, I’m Lorraine Grula, News Nerd


jon stewart, jon stewart jim cramer, online video, tv news sucks, why tv news sucks so badly

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. I have watched Jim Cramer and I actually checked out his batting average…that is how well he does at picking stocks.

    He stinks. I guess a lot of people put up with his antics because they like to be entertained by an idiot.

    Jon Stewart really nailed him. I saw the interview of Jim being on Jon’s program…sorry to say, before I saw it here.

    Yes, Jim Cramer doesn’t know any more than the average guy about stocks and how to make money. His record proves this.

    It was OK for Jon to pick on Jim. He was tough but he could have been tougher.

    HOWEVER, I am still waiting for Jon to take on Barney Frank who said that Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac were just fine and that it wasn’t necessary to make any changes to the extent of regulations.

    I am still waiting for Jon to take on Chris Dodd, chairman of the senate banking committee, for his part in watching the crash of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac. Where was Chris Dodd? He is supposed to be watching the banks?

    Carter and Clinton received large dividends from Fanny Mae and saw to it that large numbers of Friends of Carter/Clinton(FOCs) were made wealthy by Fanny Mae’s actions.

    Regulators brought these improprieties to the attention of Rep.Barney Frank (Dem-Mass) and Sen. Chris Dodd (Dem-Conn.) a few years ago, but Frank, Rep.Maxine Waters (Dem-CA) and others merely accused the regulators of attacking the system that put low income families in homes for the first time, even though it was apparent that these families could not afford to pay those mortgage payments.

    In summary, they are all at fault. The greedy banks, investment houses, stock brokerage firms all have dirty hands.

    We have government idiots who are paid too well to watch that this doesn’t happen to us, but they too are getting paid off so that just look the other way.

    THEY ARE ALL GUILTY! Jon, if you have any sense of what is fair, go after the buffoons in Washington DC.

    Rich Days last blog post..Website Video Marketing Third Video in the Series – EasyVideoProducer

  2. Deja vu all over again – here is mouthpiece for criminals trusted by the public! Anyone who believes they have the “inside story” and buys stock based on what they watch on TV deserves lose money. Jim Cramer is to the market what Gomer Pyle is to the military.

  3. Hey Richard.

    Wow, do I ever agree! There are so many people who deserve to be called on the carpet it is not even funny! If the news media did its job, this kind of thing would not happen. There would be stories on Barney Frank and all the other folks who colluded with Fannie and Freddie.

    Jon Stewart can not do it alone. He needs the help of the rest of the news media.

  4. You are right that Jon cannot do it all.

    We are all responsible for the government we get. Our media is so far in the tank with the present administration, it is unlikely that they will ever good investigative journalism.

    There is one person who is looking out for you. (I tell you this with a big smile on my face because I “know” you wouldn’t consider watching Bill O’Reilly’s program which is on each night at 8:00 PM.)

    Try it…O’Reilly is a bit of a loud mouth, but listen to the content and you will actually hear both sides of each issue. He never puts on a conservative person unless he has a liberal on too.

    If you listen to his program each night for seven days, you will become a convert. LOL

    Rich Days last blog post..Website Video Marketing Third Video in the Series – EasyVideoProducer

  5. I completely agree. As an editor, I recognize the PR “press release,” suck up to your advertisers style “journalism.” This show is just one example of the lazy, sensational journalism on TV, including the major networks and most magazines and newspapers. If you watch or read very much, they all sound the same — even use the same phrases and “buzz words.” No hard questions are asked. No effort is made. It’s ironic that more real journalism is done on The Daily Show than the so-called news shows. They’re the entertainment. Jon Stewart is the real journalist.

  6. Hey Richard.

    You bring up a good point. I know a lot of people who believe, as you do, that Bill O’Reilly is watching out for them. He claims to, why do I not believe him anymore than I believe Jim Cramer?

    Now you know I love you but I gotta be the truth teller even if it makes people mad at me! I think Bill O’Reilly is one of the biggest blowhards in the media. I think he promotes his own personal agenda and is not a “truth” seeker at all. I believe Bill O’Reilly and his demagoguery are dangerous. Just as ALL BAD TV NEWS IS DANGEROUS. If it were not for bad TV news, this financial mess could have been stopped before it started. Why is it that I knew this crash was going to happen but “experts” like Cramer did not? IT’S BECAUSE I AM A REAL REPORTER.

    As a reporter, journalist, whatever you want to call it, you are supposed to go out into the world and interview tons of people. Experts and real people both, from all walks of life. You are supposed to have respect for what they say. You are supposed to verify it for truth. You, as the journalist, are NOT the story. You are supposed to be on a fact finding mission where the goal is to show the TRUTH, whatever it may be. I worked for YEARS doing this kind of thing. I actually lost sleep worrying about whether I was being fair, accurate and all inclusive to all sides of the story. I started doing stories on predatory lending around 2000. It was OBVIOUS consumers were being ripped off and the banks were creating an unsustainable system. But management forbade us to do stories like that since the predatory lenders were paying advertisers.

    Bill O’Reilly does not follow journalistic protocol. He does not respect other people and their opinions. He does not verify the truth. He rarely leaves the studio. He has been caught in lie, upon lie, upon lie. Bill O’Reilly promotes his opinion as fact. He tells people he is in their corner but he is really just in his own corner and if some people can come along for the ride, great. Mr. O’Reilly is a good enough performer that he is able to give the impression that he is being fair, but that is all part of the game that is TV news. He is not the least bit fair.

    What people fail to understand is that GOOD JOURNALISM IS TOTALLY NON PARTISAN. Bill O’Reilly is terribly partisan. He is unwilling to consider viewpoints outside his own. On top of that, I think he is a bully. I could deal with his being a bully if he were rightfully seeking the truth. But he is not, so I think Bill O’Reilly is a big part of the problem.

    I think it is extremely unfortunate that people fall for the blather of TV. People might find bill O’Reilly appealing and agree with his stance on things, but that is NOT what journalism is all about.

    The few true journalists in this country have been maligned by people like O’Reilly. For him to call someone like Bill Moyers that “far left PBS guy” is outrageous. As a journalist, Bill Moyers is fair and honest. I have watched many long form documentaries done by Bill Moyers. He always interviews tons of different people and gets information from every side imaginable. THAT’S journalism.
    Most people in this country would not recognize journalism if it bit them in the ass.

    Sorry to be so BLUNT that I appear RUDE and ARROGANT. But the honest truth is usually unpleasant, which is why so few are willing to spout it.

  7. “I started doing stories on predatory lending around 2000. It was OBVIOUS consumers were being ripped off and the banks were creating an unsustainable system. But management forbade us to do stories like that since the predatory lenders were paying advertisers.”

    Now that is sad. I understand that you had to do it, but it is part of what is wrong with your system.

    Rich Days last blog post..Website Video Marketing Third Video in the Series – EasyVideoProducer

  8. Not to worry Richard. If I could not be friends with people I disagreed with, I would not have many friends.

    Not being able to do quality stories drove me out of TV news. I tried railing against the system but it only got me in trouble and labeled “not a team player.”

    I said I AM TOO a team player if the team is playing the right game.

    I was practically a lone voice in the wilderness. Very few people, even those who agreed with me, were not willing to stand up to management and stand up for quality journalism.

    Not being able to do quality stories because it might anger an advertiser is the #1 reason why Tv news is so bad. The owners want to play nicey-nice and not do hard hitting stories. Let’s not do stories on bad banks kids because the banks buy advertising. Let’s not do stories on crooked car dealers selling recycled wrecks that end up killing people because car dealers advertise. That is the attitude of management. They do not see any difference between the news department and the sales department. It is this EXACT same attitude that makes shows like Jim Cramer’s untrustworthy. The TV News media relinquishes its role as watchdog and becomes nothing but a whore.

    And that’s the truth!

    Lorraine Grulas last blog post..Why Jon Stewart Deserves an Emmy

  9. Do you think there is a chance that true journalism will ever be revived? What do we do next to improve our situation? Money equals power; that will be a hard one to overcome.

  10. HI Susan.

    The core problem is corporate ownership of all the news media. Whatever the owners want is what will be on the air.

    There used to be rules against such monopolistic ownership of media, but over the past 20 years or so, the FCC crawled in bed with the media moguls and these rules were loosened.

    We need to go back to local and varied ownership. The biggest problem with that however is:
    #1. The cat is already out of the bag.
    #2. TV stations are expensive to run and difficult to turn a profit so sometimes big companies are the only ones with pockets big enough to make it work.

    Many people talk about the Fairness Doctrine as part of the solution. The Fairness Doctrine was an old rule that made all TV and radio stations prove to the FCC that they had given fair and equal time to both sides of an issue. They did away with the Fairness doctrine when Ronald Reagan was in office. The right wingers scream about the FD being unfair and the lefties scream that it is the only way.
    Personally, I believe reinstating the Fairness doctrine would be much less effective than changing the corporate monopoly ownership. People can always find a way to get around the rules. Reinstating the FD would only give you a bunch of Alan Colmbs clones. Going back to local and varied ownership would put the media in the hands of people who actually WANT to be fair and accurate.

    Will it ever happen? I am pessimistic.

    Thanks for reading video production tips.


  11. I think this person is right on the money when it comes to telling us about the network news. I keep waiting for the rest of the story when I listen to the nightly news. I don’t like the touchy-feeley stories on prime time news either, it’s just space filler.

  12. Hi Dave.

    I appreciate your compliment. I hate to be the one to tell you, but if you are watching corporate news in America you will NEVER get the whole story. Sad, but true.

    Thanks for reading video production tips.


{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}