Last post on all this and then I promise I’m moving on…
My initial emotional reaction to this anonymously sourced tip from TV Newser that MSNBC was “twisting” its coverage by not covering the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview was “KNAVES! How dare they…um….not cover something that’s…all that newsworthy.” I couldn’t even make it to the end of the sentence before my outrage fell apart.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that this is true and isn’t an attempt to discredit the NBC network of news channels. (For what it’s worth, no less than MSNBC’s golden boy Keith Olbermann says, in a comment on Daily Kos, it isn’t true.)
As I wrote last week, Jim Cramer isn’t the real problem, he’s just the one person who agreed to take a whupping for the team. So what’s the value for MSNBC or any other news network for covering the talk show appearance of one of its affiliate’s stars after it happened (you could argue that covering it prior was all in the name of synergistic self-promotion)? Did his appearance on The Daily Show change anything? Has it led to actual news? Has CNBC changed the nature of its financial reporting as a result? Has Jim Cramer dropped his goofy sound effects or manner of presentation? We don’t know any of this yet, so there’s nothing to report. If later this week, Jim Cramer starts nailing banking CEOs to the wall and speaking in calm, measured tones then that’s news you could tie into his Daily Show spanking and it’s time to pull out the footage. If they fail to show the interview at that point, you could argue MSNBC was misreporting the story or “twisting” its coverage.
With all the real problems affecting the country, spending more time on reporting and analysis about how we got here, and less time showing the Town Square flogging of Jim Cramer could logically be called “exercising editorial judgment.”