Stewart has had strong words for CNBC on his Comedy Central show, arguing that journalists who cover Wall Street should have done more to warn of the financial meltdown through critical reporting, instead of acting like market cheerleaders.
Zucker said while interviewed on a stage by BusinessWeek that while "everyone wants to find a scapegoat," to suggest that the business media or CNBC was responsible for the economic meltdown is "absurd."
Funny, I have encountered this form of reprimand and rebuttal before. I think it went something like this:
Dad: You are not allowed to enter your sister's room without her permission.
Me: But I wasn't the one who knocked over all of her dolls!
It is irrefutable that I did not knock over her dolls (on that particular occasion). It is also a terrible defense when the alleged crime is trespassing.
I highly doubt Jeff Zucker watched the clash between his subordinate and some comedian. If he did, he obviously didn't understand the signifigance of the event. Pervading his response is this assumption that this was standard media outlet finger pointing, lacking any nuance or discernment beyond "blame X for the problem of the week/month/year/decade". The disconnect is blisteringly obvious from the two quoted paragraphs.
It's a shame, as Stewart's plea was so genuine and concerned. CNBC and similar networks could have mitigated in some notable way the impact of the current crisis, but instead lined up and drank the koolaid. They can still change and be helpful to the public, but rather than listen it's all blown off. However terrible Jim Cramer's advice has been, he at least has the guts to answer for it, admit he was at fault, and accept that change is in order. He deserves that much credit.