CNBC Isn’t That Bad

Well someone has to stick their neck out and defend CNBC so here goes.

I’m sure you all either watched the smackdown Jon Stewart put on Jim Cramer, have read about it, heard some radio talk show discussion on your way to work or in some other manner had the episode forced upon your consciousness. If none of these apply then congratulations, you are one of the few who truly have a healthy perspective on life. Those that fall into the last category should quickly jump to some other blog.

The buzz this morning was that not only Cramer but CNBC were exposed as the shams they are. That describes some of the tamer reviews. More than a few pundits used the opportunity to declare CNBC dangerous and not deserving of the trust that their franchise supposedly invests them with.

Fortunately, most reserved a few choice words for Jon Stewart. I’ve felt all along that he was not only shooting fish in a barrel with this whole thing but drugging them before he put them in the barrel so they would swim slower and be easier to shoot. But the point here isn’t to go after him.

I’ll be the first to agree that CNBC has more than its share of clowns and Cramer may head the parade. I find it very hard to listen to Larry Kudlow pretend to interview people by asking for replies to his editorial positions and the multiple boxes with the talking heads trying to talk over each other is simply not worth watching.

But over the years I’ve had an awful lot of people I know ask me to interpret something they heard on CNBC. People that wouldn’t know an ETF from a MBS have had their curiosity piqued by something they heard while having a morning cup of coffee or channel surfing after work. These aren’t people who generally read blogs like this. They’re school teachers, restaurant managers, retirees, just normal folks that have a little curiosity and want to learn a little more about the world outside of their frame of reference.

That’s not such a bad thing, is it? CNBC stirred up something in someone’s imagination and caused them to seek a little more knowledge. Kind of a good thing when you think about it. Certainly harmless.

Is Cramer or any one else on the show that might talk up or down a stock really that dangerous. I doubt seriously that very many people rush out and buy based on the recommendations they hear. For those that do there may be as many who here the conflicting points of view and figure that some professional advice might be worth the cost. If you can show me some hard data that these guys are leading people to foolish investments then I’ll change my mind. Until then, it’s just idle speculation.

It’s become a fad in the media to kick around CNBC. Everyone has a snarky remark and avers that they watch the show, yet their encyclopedic knowledge of the cast of characters that appear throughout the day belies their avowed disinterest. Yeah, the content is basic and often of questionable value but our best economists have recently been accused of much the same. Is CNBC that much worse?

The show entertains and to a small extent informs and educates people. Come to think of it that’s two more things than The Daily Show does.

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