Saturday, March 14, 2009

An Open Letter to Rick Santelli and Jim Cramer

Gentlemen, I'm going to have to take you out to the woodshed over something you did. No, it's not speaking out against Barack Obama and his economic plans. It's letting Jon Stewart humiliate you on "The Daily Show."

To put it simply, "The Daily Show" has the journalistic integrity of a supermarket tabloid. Actually, that's cruel. The supermarket tabloid might actually attempt balanced reporting. Plus, they have more pictures of space aliens than "The Daily Show." The best Stewart has been able to put together on that front is the occasional reference to Dennis Kucinich, but that's beside the point.

The point is that Stewart only looks like a news anchor. The guy was thrown off his game by John Kerry, for the love of Pete! But you two let him run all over you.

Mr. Santelli, you said something that was on the minds of millions of Americans. We are tired of playing by the rules and having our money taken for those who don't play by the rules. And what did you do when "The Daily Show" came a-callin'? You agreed to an interview and then backed out, which Stewart then turned against you. Appearing on his show and defending yourself would have made that a non-issue. He wouldn't have been able to mug for the camera if you had shown up and stood up to his grossly inaccurate characterization of your statements.

Mr. Cramer, you came out against Obama's economic plans, and I think you were right to do so. You have unique perspectives on the economy that most Americans don't, and many still look to you for financial advice. Your demeanor on "Mad Money" is one where you throw caution to the wind and run straight ahead. On "The Daily Show", you were a simpering coward. You let Stewart paint you as a wild-eyed madman without any credibility on anything financial through the use of clips from "Mad Money" where you make erroneous predictions.

In short, gentlemen, you were damned if you did and damned if you didn't. And when it came to defending yourselves against the slings and arrows of outrageous pretend news anchors, you sure as heck didn't. You treated him as though he were untouchable, like you couldn't call him on the carpet for anything he said. Whether it was due to internal pressures from within CNBC to "play ball", the media coverage of your statements done in a way to make you look like oddballs, the attacks from the Obama White House designed to discredit and dismiss you, or internal conflict over your political leanings versus your respective moments of intellectual honesty, you let yourselves down by letting Stewart walk all over you.

And you've let down the Americans who rallied behind you when you stood up to Obama.

It's time to stop cowering before Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" and start manning up again. It's people like you who need to speak up in spite of the odds. Now is the time for courage, not cowardice.

Choose wisely, gentlemen. The country you save may be your own.

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