Dow Jones’ Paul Vigna has had it up to here with James Cramer.
Yesterday, in a post titled Jim Cramer is an Insufferable Jackass, Vigna laces into the C-man for “bad calls” and other issues. With great chivalry, he defends the honor of (the fair maiden) Kelly Evans who, despite her apparent youthfulness, needs no defending.
It is an interesting battle — as much for what it says as what it doesn’t.
Let’s start with Vigna:
“I studiously avoid watching Jim Cramer. It’s not that he’s a stupid man, he’s a very smart man. It’s not that he isn’t a successful man, he a very successful. It’s not that he makes bad calls. Well, it’s not solely that he makes bad calls.
It’s that he’s an insufferable jackass.
So last night he’s on his show, trying to convince his viewers not to panic and to stay with stocks, and he rips Kelly Evans over her Ahead of the Tape column yesterday about auto-parts stores. Now, whether or not Kelly’s right or wrong can’t be decided in one day. Whether or not anybody who writes a column or hosts a show for a living can ever be 100% right isn’t the point either.”
I must say this: Cramer was decades ahead of everyone else when it came to understanding the value of financial news on the web. That you are reading this on a blog — that you even read financial blogs — is indirectly a tribute to Cramer’s prescience. There are literally 1000s of sites that can trace their lineage to TheStreet.com. The TSCM alumnus are an extremely distinguished group of journalists (like Jesse Eisinger and Aaron Task) and scribblers (like Jeff Matthews and myself).
That said, I understand Vigna’s complaint. Most market professionals find the show tough to watch, but then again, we are not Mad Money‘s target demographic. Its audience are mom and pop investors and financially curious college students — not pros running money.
But I wonder if Paul isn’t tilting at windmills.
Based on all appearances, Cramer is bullet proof.
Think about this.
He has survived relentless and often well founded criticism. Despite the structure of the show — its a mile wide and an inch deep — he has a strong and loyal following. Everyone takes potshots at him. Barron’s trashed him (they got banned from CNBC for their trouble) and Jon Stewart immolated him; TDS is the closest thing to Kryptonite to Cramer. Yet he survived a lethal dose of Stewart that would have destroyed Superman. Others continue to take pot shots at him. Still, after everything that has been thrown at Cramer, he has survived and even thrived.
The Cramer abides.
The show chugs along, viewers continue to come along for the ride. Despite everything that has come and gone with Mad Money, it survives. Cramer went from Harvard Law to Goldman Sachs to running a hedge fund to CNBC. That CV is as close to a front row seat to Wall Street as most viewers will ever get. To many viewers, that access is its inherent appeal.
Meanwhile, Cramer continues to garner media coverage, viewers, and influence. Until no one cares what Jim said last night, he will continue to be a force. Unless and until viewers abandon the show, or he gets bored with the grind of cranking it out 5 nights a week, there will be no stopping Jim Cramer.
Kinda like Cher and post apocalyptic cockroaches.