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Jeff Zucker fires back at Jon Stewart

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 19th 2009 9:03AM
The Daily Show With Jon StewartNBC head honcho Jeff Zucker is apparently getting himself involved in the war of the words between CNBC and Jon Stewart. He called Stewart's criticism of the network "absurd" and "unfair."

I hate to admit it, but I actually agree with Zucker to a point. CNBC's reputation did take a beating from this recession, and I wonder if they did hardball the executives like Stewart said they should, the companies could have cut off access and made reporting that much more difficult. I'm not saying CNBC was right in what they did. I'm simply saying that I somewhat understand why.

It's easy for someone like Stewart to call them out on this sort of thing. Being on a network called Comedy Central, most newscasters relegate him to the position of "cable clown." The Daily Show doesn't actually investigate news, unlike CNBC. It does something more akin to a half-hour opinion column based on the work of other news programs.

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Jon

If a CEO gets in front of a CNBC camera and reporter and says things are fine, our company is doing well and there is nothing to see here, what exactly could a reporter do? You read the quarterly report after it's been released to the public and that's about as deep as you can dig on these companies regarding investments, performance and things like that because by law they have to keep things under wraps until it goes public to avoid legal action. How else could these shenanigans have gone on for so long? Did anyone reading this blog ever hear of a MBS, CMBS or CDS before Sept 08? Hell does any one reading this really understand what they are now? Point the finger at regulators for not keeping a closer eye on these exotic financials for the last 10 + years because they might have realized what could happen and work to prevent it. Even if CNBC called these liars liars, not a one of them was going to go on camera a year ago and say we might be over leveraged or we've got concerns on the stability of our equity based investments given the softening housing market and increases in foreclosures could lead to our insolvency but overall we're treating things like business as usual..... their stock would drop like a rock. It's all PR for these people. CNBC could only do so much, and remember there is no real media left in this country, it's all a show, info-tainment. I think John Stewart expects way too much of a business news network, CNBC isn't there to regulate business, it's there to report on what's going on in business. If they could be out in front of stock moves they'd be trading instead of reporting.

March 19 2009 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jon's comment
StillBash

Yeah what could a reporter do with financial information on a network that supposedly has financial analysts working for them.

Wild guess: analyze the data and put the finger into the wound.

Or kiss the CEOs ass for coming on the show and smile. Take your pick.

March 23 2009 at 9:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Scott Shively

"The Daily Show doesn't actually investigate news" . Apparently, neither does CNBC.

March 19 2009 at 2:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
L'Emmerdeur

CNBC gets scooped by bloggers and other amateurs every day, and these folks have ZERO access compared to CNBC.

They aren't afraid of losing access to information, they are afraid of losing access to ad revenue.

March 19 2009 at 12:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Howard

What good is access if you don't use it for anything worthwhile?

March 19 2009 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam

All news organizations learn to property straddle the line, and ore often than not the people, agencies and companies they cover learn to respect those organizations for being tough but fair. I know that conventional wisdom states that you need to grovel for access, but the choice between being obsequious and gaining access or being tough and losing it has time and again been demonstrated as a false choice. There is another way.

March 19 2009 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

Also, its the job of the jester to make this kind of attack. From totalitarian monarchies to small Indian tribes, Jon Stewart's exist in many societies.

March 19 2009 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Argus

Brad, your criticism is somewhat invalidated by the fact that CNBC doesn't actually do any investigative reporting. As for hard-hitting stuff causing people to lose access.... Part of being a journalist is having the skill to get people to talk to you. If you can't be hard hitting and get access then you should get the hell out of the industry.

March 19 2009 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Melissa

CNBC does investigative reporting? Ha. No, it doesn't.
Very few networks and others really do. They just allow these shorters and others manipulate the market.

Here I'll give you an example:

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/siliconalley/big-tech/layoffs_coming_to_myspace_2009_3.html

Oh, uh-huh, now who's Rich Greenfield, you say?

He's an analyst for Pali Research.

And what is Pali Research?

Well, it's a subsidiary of Pali Capital-Pali International. According to their website, Pali does:

* Equity Trading
* Equity Research
* Global Derivatives
* Fixed Income
* Structured Products
* Investment Banking

Now, I'm not saying Pali has some personal reasons for speaking negatively about MySpace, because I can't. I'm not a business reporter. I don't have the time or the tools to investigate and understand these people. CNBC does. So do the other business networks. Why don't they use them? Instead of just letting the predictions go unchecked.


I don't Jon Stewart's report was directed squarely at CNBC, Santelli, or Cramer. I think it was directed at ever business network, newspaper, blog, magazine, town crier....that knows Wall Street well and can give a better analysis than "This is how you can make some fast money!", "Buy!!!", "Sell!!!, "Sound Effect!!!"

Jon's right. It's not a game, and they shouldn't try making it such. Many, many jobs and livelihoods depend on the market, and no news network should make light of that.

In his own words in that 2006 interview (which you can totally get here, http://antisocialmedia.net/?page_id=61, because they totally scrubbed it from youtube,) Cramer said "you can't foment...you can't create an impression that a stock is down, but you do it anyway because the FCC doesn't understand it" and that he use to do it himself when he was shorting. Instead of the bells and whistles, he could have been pointing out this. He even said that CNBC was an important part of getting this "message" across, but he didn't help us understand that on his show. Instead, he and so many others lied and hurt us instead.

Anyway, to say CNBC does investigative reporting is quite laughable, which is why a satirist, like Stewart, had deconstruct it. Sorry, this is so long. I probably just should have written an article too. :)

March 19 2009 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe stalin

How about taking on the fricking government that caused all this? Stewart has no balls for that. He's too busy sucking up to Barry, Dodd and Frank to say word one. Despite all the resulting business transgressions, this was started by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd forcing banks to offer loans to people who did not qualify. Then the derivatives came about to stop the losses and boom! Down goes the economy when someone realizes that teh loans at the heart of it all were BS. Brilliant government interference.

So how about it Stewart? Too busy kissing Barney's a$$ to ask a real question.

March 19 2009 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Joe stalin's comment
Gig

That isn't Stewart's job. That is the job of the real news media.

March 19 2009 at 10:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Burz

I used to work for NBCU corporate and left last year because of Zucker's horrible management (and Corporate GE for that matter - seen that stock lately?) and this is another one of those times. A good leader wouldn't flinch at Stewart and would instead already have a plan in place to make CNBC a better network, instead, as usual, Zucker relies on after-the-fact bitching since yet another network of his is on the Sh*t list.

Maybe he should come out with another new-yet-phonetically-similar rebranding ... cough syfy cough.... to shake off all this troubles - SeeEnBeeSea anyone?

March 19 2009 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Burz's comment
ERock

Fail Branding is Fail.

March 19 2009 at 10:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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