While the dust may have settled from the two and a half segment interview between Jon Stewart and Mad Money’s Jim Cramer from CNBC on Thursday, I doubt that anyone could be satisfied with what has occurred in the aftermath. The press reaction to what was said has proven that financial news as entertainment or infotainment harms society and impacts the level of conversation and discourse severely.
Nearly a week later, has anyone seen signs that CNBC is going to return to the fundamentals of reporting? Is CNBC going to hire a few vibrant muckrakers to boost ratings and break the monotony that financial tickers and incessant talk of financial data creates on the network?
For the most part, it seems like financial "journalists" who appear on television are embedded in this crisis like journalists were embedded in the U.S. military during the Iraq War. There seems to be an understood agreement (or maybe a contractual obligation) to not beat up on Wall Street, to not fan the flames of populism.
A coalition of outspoken media critics and progressives has formed and continues to form under the name, “Fix CNBC.” In response to Jon Stewart's Edward R. Murrow-esque interview, the coalition calls upon Americans to push “CNBC to do strong, watchdog journalism.”
A petition invites Americans to urge CNBC to ask tough questions to Wall Street, debunk lies, and report the truth instead of conducting “PR for Wall Street” and instead of being “obsessed with getting “access” to failed CEOs,” which has to the willfull passing on of misinformation to the public for years.
But, can CNBC or any network be reformed? Why should Americans seek to reform CNBC?
First, we need to ask ourselves if we the people need a financial news network to, on a 24 hour basis with 17 hours of live television, report what is happening in the current financial crisis. News outlets traditionally have existed because people want to consume the journalism being put out by those who work at the outlet.
If CNBC has no value for Americans, maybe we should be advocating that people simply turn off the television and just rely on several Google searches on the Internet to find out what is really happening?
Google searches may be a way to address CNBC's and other financial news network's failings, but if we turn it off, my intuition tells me it will just get worse.
What CNBC does to pervert the public airwaves benefits the Wall Streeters who pollute our nation with their greedy capitalistic free market bureaucratic rhetoric, philosophy, and ideology.
Watching the network makes it possible to document what is being said, attack the "socialism is America's future" or the "those who took out mortgages and couldn't pay them are responsible" rhetoric that creates fear and insecurity and shifts the blame from Wall Street, and it makes it possible to suggest concrete reform so that America can have a real source of financial journalism.
What follows is a lengthy compilation of reporting on CNBC. As a result of financial pundits' choice to embed themselves in our financial apocalypse and cover it as if it were a hurricane or a basketball game at the Madison Square Gardens arena, citizen muckrakers must do their civic duty and step up and do the job CNBC and other financial news network journalists are failing to do.
They must create the discussion necessary for society to survive.
This article is lengthy because news networks like CNBC fail the American people on a daily basis. Enjoy.