Usually when CNBC’s Jim Cramer is making headlines, it’s for his outrageous antics or over-the-top statements. Not this time.
Time magazine’s Justin Fox interviewed Cramer asking him questions submitted by readers which was posted on Time.com May 14. Two of those questions dealt with his March 12 appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show.” In his answers, Cramer accused Jon Stewart of personal attacks, being “vicious,” and said that ultimately he had been had.”
Fox asked Cramer if this was just a case of him taking “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart’s criticism of the entire CNBC network too personally.
“Let me take that in two ways,” Cramer replied calmly. “One was if you go over the tape, it was clear that he was attacking me personally. I was trying to keep it at a high level, but he was vicious and he was ad hominem in the way he attacked me. And then when I tried to defend myself, he said he was attacking the network.”
According to the “Mad Money” host, Stewart was “vicious” and set out to have Cramer fired by CNBC with his tough questioning, which some claim was fueled by Stewart’s disapproval of Cramer’s critique of President Barack Obama.
“So, his method of argument was brilliant in the way it was meant strictly to try to get me fired,” Cramer said. “I think that was his goal was to try to get me fired. Our network has done a phenomenal job, actually much better than print. I’m from print. I’ve been print all my life. I know what good journalism and what bad journalism is and I’m not gonna let him be the arbiter of good or bad journalism.”
Cramer defended the journalistic culture of CNBC in his interview with Fox, saying it was different than a lot of places he had worked and that Stewart’s attack was “gravely misplaced.”
“He may claim that I don’t, but I’ve seen and been in many places where I have been told what to say and what not to say,” Cramer continued. “And CNBC is not one of them. And I can speak for many people when I say that. I think CNBC has done a remarkable job and I think that the attack on CNBC and the attack on me were gravely misplaced.”
Fox challenged Cramer on the premise that Stewart’s intent was trying to get him fired, but Cramer insisted that even if you gave Stewart the benefit of the doubt, he still neglected to realize the damage he did to Cramer’s reputation.
“You know, let’s say – if it was for ratings, OK,” Cramer said. “Well, it was business, but it’s still my life. I didn’t expect to be prosecuted, um, and it was rather remarkable. It was rather remarkable in the sense that it was so clear that his goal was to just destroy me and I’m still walking around. I still have my show and doing a good job I think. But it was just remarkable, um, remarkably misplaced.”
Cramer said that after the interview Stewart told him not to take his “Daily Show” interrogation personally. However, Cramer also said that Stewart would answer for the ambush interview.
“He would say, ‘Well, Jim don’t take it personally, it was about CNBC,’” Cramer added. “You can do that kind of circular argument and I get that, but we moved on. I continue to try to do the best journalism I can. He continues to try to do whatever he’s doing. But uh, if I’m waiting for an apology, I’m really stupid. But he was very vicious. One day he’ll answer for it, but nothing I will be able to do will answer it for it. I mean, we all have to answer for things when we’re vicious and when we try to take people down and we should because it’s not fair.”
Cramer admitted his “Daily Show” appearance wasn’t one of his best, but that he didn’t see it coming at all.
“No one wants to suffer a beat down. No one wants to be humiliated or embarrassed and I’m gonna include myself in that group,” Cramer said. “[I] was shocked at [Stewart’s] behavior. You know, I came on as a gentleman and I wanted to take the high road and was pretty much led to believe it would be fun. That was obviously incredibly wrong.”
Cramer accused Stewart of using only certain clips to base up his judgment on Cramer, which set the context for the interview and told Fox it would have been different had Stewart actually watched his show on a regular basis.
“You know when you have things in life where you get defined by something that is really unfortunate because you don’t think it’s you, you tend to want to look back and blame the other person,” Cramer continued. “I wish that Jon Stewart had watched my show a couple times. I think he obviously got clips. I wish he knew about my background and I wish he knew about a lot of the things that I had done because I think he would have thanked me instead of attacked me for exactly what I had been doing. No one else has stuck their neck out the way I have to be able to say things are corrupt, things are bad.”
The fallout – Cramer said he believed he was being unfairly branded as one of the characters behind the entire financial crisis, when he said the opposite was true.
“I’m probably the person who has gotten the most trouble in