For those unfamiliar, Jim Cramer is hyper-energetic investor guru on CNBC. Cramer made a fortune – $150 million – trading in the markets. After suffering from a heart attack due to the stress from investing, Cramer decided that he had enough playing for his own fortune and decided that he would now only trade for charity. That greatly reduced the stress, but Cramer is still a hyper fellow who likes to shout out investment advice while playing with gadgets.
Cramer got his own show on CNBC and quickly developed a loyal following. Cramer did not shy away from offering blunt advice to either “buy, buy, buy” or “sell, sell, sell” along a chart that includes such advice as “don’t buy” to “don’t sell” [He’s very clever in language]. Cramer appealed to the average investor for whom the more measured advice was often boring and very often ambivalent leaving normal investors somewhat confused as to what they should do. Cramer cut through that and offered direct advice for the viewers to consider.
During the boom, Cramer was a hero. A guru who spoke the language of the common man and was using his expertise to enrich average Americans. But when the market crashed, many began to question the culture of CNBC which consistently preached that all was swell in the market, the economy was upbeat and people should “buy, buy, buy.”
Cramer was a part of this culture, and its most vocal proponent. It would be wrong to fault Cramer for every bad call he made. It is true that Cramer predicted that BearStreans was a solid stock a few days before the investment bank closed its door. But before made that call, the CEO of BearStreans went on CNBC to declare BearStreans to be in a strong liquidity position. Cramer is only as good as his sources. So his biggest fault in some of these calls was not misreading the situation in an overly optimistic light, but trusting his sources when he had no reason to believe they were lying. That is why when Comedy Central mock-news host Jon Stewart when after Cramer on such calls it was simply unjustified. Cramer was not purposely misleading or even lacking caution.
Nonetheless, Cramer was been way too of a cheerleader for fast money. The man was gone overboard praising risky investments, and while Cramer can afford to lose money [his own personal fortune is not at stake; and even if it was he would still be rich], many of his viewers cannot. Instead of offering prudent and cautious investment advice toward a slow accumulation of wealth, Cramer incited his audience with a fast-paced show preaching fast-accumulation. His show was literally called Mad Money!. His occasionally idiot advice can best be seen in this video shown on, naturally, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10cLenny Dykstra’s Financial Careerwww.thedailyshow.com
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