Cable War Over Jim Cramer's Irresponsible Rantings
Rival Network Holds 'Mad Money' Host Accountable
Though their fledgling cable channel may not yet be available in every American household, a new marketing campaign by the Fox Business Network is generating a great deal of national press.
Calling attention to some of CNBC Mad Money host Jim Cramer's less- than- stellar recent recommendations, the ads are running on a frequent basis during CNBC's local cable spot breaks, in some cases several times an hour.
That contrasts with CNBC's own promos, which portray Cramer as some sort of god-like market fortune teller, splashing "In Cramer We Trust" across the screen after a confident image of the host himself.
It's not often that a television ad can generate this kind of attention, but we've already seen a blogospheric buzz over FOX's spot, as well as newspaper coverage, including the News Corp- owned New York Post:
The TV spots, which have been running in heavy rotation during CNBC's most-watched daytime hours, criticize the "Mad Money" host for his investment tips.
"The last thing you need is bad advice," the voiceover says. "The last thing you need is CNBC's Jim Cramer." The ad goes on to highlight a specific call Cramer made with regard to Wachovia, a failing bank that was forced to sell to Citigroup before Wells Fargo jumped in with a higher bid.
"On CNBC, Cramer said buy Wachovia and it tanked," the ad says.
Fox Business skirted CNBC's ad sales department by buying spots in local markets, including New York and Los Angeles, from cable operators such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast. (Fox Business is part of News Corp., which also owns The Post. )
"It is a predictably desperate attempt by a completely irrelevant network with ratings so pathetically small they refuse to make them public," said a CNBC spokesman. "As recent market events attest, Jim Cramer has proven once again to be one of the most insightful and knowledgeable commentators in business news today."
Fox Business, which just hit its one-year anniversary, has been taking shots at its much bigger rival since the start, but the Cramer ad is a more personal attack.
Yesterday, a Fox spokeswoman defended the ad, saying, "CNBC has become an industry joke thanks to Cramer's irresponsible, sloppy commentary and wildly inaccurate predictions - how many more times is he going to apologize for tanking CNBC's credibility?"
Always reckless even in the best of times, Cramer has in recent weeks been pouring gasoline on a raging fire every time he opens his mouth.
In the seemingly anarchist environment at CNBC, where anything goes as long as it's negative on our economic future, Cramer's rhetoric has clearly gone unchecked internally.
Ultimately, however, CNBC has to answer to its viewers and the recent ratings surge may actually prove damaging as longtime fans are burned by the station's wildly-negative positions on America's future.
Toning down some of Cramer's more irresponsible panic-inducing rants would be a great place to start if they wish to clean up their act.
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