OLD Media Moves

Why are people surprised about Cramer's antics?

March 13, 2009

Gary Weiss, a contributing editor to Conde Nast Portfolio, wonders on his blog why people are so shocked about the revelations of how CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer operates since they were discussed in detail in two books.

Weiss writes, “I have only limited sympathy for people who buy stocks based on what Cramer or any other market guru has said. A financial genius named Burton Malkiel has been arguing against the very concept of stock picking for years, and wrote a book called A Random Walk Down Wall Street which became a best-seller.

“Three years ago I made my own modest contribution to the genre in Wall Street Versus America, whose central point was that you had to listen to Malkiel and disregard the Cramers of this world. I also dwelled at length on the crookedness of Wall Street firms, particularly Bear Stearns.

“I pleaded with people to avoid managed mutual funds, hedge funds and individual stocks, to buy stock indexes and disregard stock newsletters and market ‘wizards’ like Cramer. As I argued in the book, there is no way to beat the markets, no way of getting rich unless everyone in the market is getting rich (and no way of escaping getting poor if the market goes into a slump).

“Cramer has nothing to be ashamed off that he’s hustled his way to a fortune, pushing a dream of riches that countless studies have shown to be illusory, since markets are reasonably efficient. But you can’t get rich being a Cassandra, and the best way to make money is to lie that you can make money for other people. Cramer knows that as well as anyone, and now he is paying the price.”

Read more here.

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