Journalism: ‘It’s Not A F**king Game!’

March 14, 2009

In the past few years, a lot of people and organizations who should have been the standard bearers for news gathering and reporting have dropped the ball big time — Journalism sucks nowadays.

Despite all kinds of media available, the exciting journalistic genre of “investigative reporting” has nearly disappeared off the mainstream radar.

Except sadly at Comedy Central.

(Illustration found here).

Jon Stewart and the The Daily Show has been all over the media this past week as a tell-tale segment of who/why/how the financial meltdown has been covered by the press, especially at CNBC, and especially that nutcase, weirdo Jim Cramer ‘Mad Money’ guy.

Read a good background note to the entire process here.

So Thursday night, Cramer visited Stewart’s show and was beat to a pulp.

The video was all over the media yesterday morning.

See clips here and here and here.

The Daily Show site has the segment posted.

Stewart said he and Cramer are both snake-oil salesman, only “The Daily Show” is labeled as such.

He claimed CNBC shirked its journalistic duty by believing corporate lies, rather than being an investigative “powerful tool of illumination.”

And he alleged CNBC was ultimately in bed with the businesses it covered — that regular people’s stocks and 401Ks were “capitalizing your adventure.”

And Cramer is indeed a financial turd.

Two years ago:

On the truth: “What’s important when you are in that hedge fund mode is to not be doing anything that is remotely truthful, because the truth is so against your view — it is important to create a new truth to develop a fiction,” Cramer advises. “You can’t take any chances.”

The real, core problem is the media, which has morphed the last three decades into a kind of trade-animal with a nose ring, tethered to corporate giants and is really no longer interested in the public good.

This attitude has maybe been reflected by a major arm of media itself becoming news — newspapers are dying if not already dead.

The demise of the old-fashioned newsprint journalist, however, is really a self-inflicted fatal wound.
Ad revenues reflect what’s been happening with the rapid rise of the Internet and have been slipping away for years:

“Newspapers historically have not been on the leading edge of anything.

They tend to react to things that happen to them rather than to look ahead and figure out where they are vulnerable and try to figure out something that will prevent it,” said John Morton, president of Morton Research Inc., a media research company.

To staunch the loss of readers and advertisers, newspapers have put much of their content on the Web. But the transition hasn’t been seamless or quick. Some papers, notably The New York Times, tried to charge fees to access their sites only to pull the plug when the experiment failed. Others dithered while online news aggregators such as Google and CraigsList, the free classified ad site, became part of the landscape.

“Papers are doing a lot of good things on their Web sites now. The only problem is they started 10 years too late,” Morton said.

And journalists are after the big story, the quick, dramatic sound byte and are leaving real reporting behind.
The three biggest news stories of the last two decades — the summer prior to Sept. 11, 2001; the run-up to the Iraqi invasion; and the Wall Street meltdown — were a sham to the mainstream media, a shame to any kind of journalism even in its most basic tenets.

Helen Thomas, who has covered the White House since Kennedy, told a recent panel discussion hosted by Media Matters for America that the press corp surrendered it’s most vital weapon, “skepticism,” as the Bush White House thundered against Iraq: “Questions? There were no questions. Complicit…the press played ball, after 9/11, the press rolled over and played dead…”

When I graduated from the University of Florida’s J-school in 1974, the US press was at it’s zenith.

Watergate, Bernstein and Woodward — It was a heady time, and it also made for a kind of esprit de corps, a pride in a cigarette smoke-filled, IBM-typewriter punching newsroom where all of us felt we were in a profession that could make a difference.

The newsroom was home, the wacked, crazy people who populated it, from the copy desk to the beat reporters, my kind of folks.

I was out of the trade for nearly 20 years, but when I returned to a newsroom in the late ’90s, what a shock — no longer the pride of profession, but a deep, craven desire for a stronger bottom line, newspapers were now owned by giant media conglomerates who cut and nipped until local news and investigative reporting were all gone — just fluff pieces to keep advertisers happy.

Mainstream journalism, especially TV news, is not worth a shit.

If a person in the US is getting his/her news from TV — forget it.

One major example: the New York Times Pentagon pundit expose, a long, detailed piece how the DOD used retired military officers to push the Iraqi war effort — a major news event last year which NEVER made it to broadcast, or cable TV — except a small segment on PBS.

A very large portion of the US public has no idea how they were manipulated into giving the Iraqi war its full support.

Pure shame.

And the shame continues.

NBC — which claims to handle MSNBC and CNBC — has apparently clipped the clips on Friday of Cramer getting nailed on Stewart’s show.

MSNBC and CNBC are sister networks, and earlier in the day, Mediabistro had reported, “A TVNewser tipster tells us MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today.”

According to Mediabistro, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had initially alerted fans of his show that Cramer would be putting in an exclusive appearance on Friday’s Morning Joe — but he was a no-show. NBC’s Today Show’s had also promised coverage of the encounter, which similarly failed to materialize.

And even Cramer acted the closed-mouth, teasing asshole.

On his show Friday, he wink-winked at the audience:

Cramer started promisingly enough.

“Before we get started, I want to say something about what happened yesterday,” he began soberly. “A lot of people are talking about what happened. … Although I was clearly outside of my safety zone, I have the utmost respect for this person, for the work that they do, no matter how uncomfortable it was to be on. So I want you to take a look at this clip from yesterday of Cramer vs. Stewart!”

At that point, it was revealed that the come-on had been nothing but a tease, as the clip turned out to show Cramer helping Martha Stewart — on whose program he had appeared earlier on Thursday — prepare what appeared to be a banana cream pie.

“You’re doing a very good job,” Martha said encouragingly.

As the clip ended, Cramer sneered, “Now back to business as usual.”

He never did mention Jon Stewart at all.

Yes, you prick bastard.

Journalism is back to business as usual — a fucking game.

Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is informative, and hilarious.

Mainstream news is neither.

A problem criminally shameful.

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