OLD Media Moves

Kurtz comments on CNBC, biz media

March 16, 2009

Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz, in his regular Monday chat about the media, was asked a number of questions about business journalism, CNBC and Jim Cramer in the wake of Cramer’s appearance last week on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.

Here are some excerpts:

“For one, Jon Stewart was channeling a good bit of public anger in demanding to know why the financial media didn’t do a better job (with some exceptions, I might add) of warning us about this mountain of risky loans and exotic market debt that could, and did, bring the economy to its knees. Second, CNBC should be held accountable for its role, though I hasten to add that while it’s a great pinata for Stewart, the business channel has plenty of company on this front.”

“CNBC’s audience is primarily made up of affluent investors, but of course ordinary folks watch, and the channel is influential. CNBC features a parade of corporate executives, fund managers and investment analysts with a vested interest in talking up stocks. But I don’t believe the network should bear a disproportionate share of the blame for the shortcomings of the financial media in recent years.”

“I don’t think most media folks are living in a bubble — if only because their companies have been hard hit by layoffs, downsizing and a shrinking news product. But it is hard, when the Dow is hitting 14,000 and housing prices are soaring and everyone is making money, to be the skunk at the garden party. Certainly financial journalists reported to some extent on subprime risks and Fannie and Freddie problems, but too many tend to lionize the CEOs, some of whom led their megacorporations to bankruptcy and practically brought down the economy with them.”

Read more here.

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