As a market-maker on the trading floor of Chicago Board Options Exchange, I knew lots of people like Jim Cramer. He has the trader's mentality that the stock market is a game to be played. As long as a trader plays by the rules (which Cramer may or may not have done when he was running a hedge fund), there is nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when the people who are playing trading games pretend that they are champions of capitalism who are investing in America and creating wealth. The problem with CNBC is that it shills for the Wall Street players and helps perpetuate the deception.
Jon Stewart did a brilliant job of exposing that deception last night in his interview with Cramer on The Daily Show. Stewart usually takes it easy on his guests regardless of their political leanings. Even someone as detestable as Josh Bolton or Doug Feith need not worry about much more than a pointed question or two. However, Stewart never let Cramer off the hook, forcing him to watch video clips of a three-year old web interview in which Cramer explained many of the tricks he played as a hedge fund manager. Stewart was not having fun and neither was Cramer.
So what turned Stewart into a pit bull last night? I don't think he held any particular animosity towards Cramer who seems to be a personable rogue. I think he did it because nobody else does. There are tons of people out there who are going after the Boltons and Feiths of the world, so Stewart doesn't mind going for laughs when they come on his show. However, nobody is going after the financial pundits and Stewart knew that someone should.
It was an impressive performance. Watch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the unedited interview.