Saturday, March 14, 2009

Marty Peretz: Sometimes It Takes A Shill

There is little to say about the public flogging of Jim Cramer at the capable hands of Jon Stewart that has not been said already. But Marty Peretz's defense of Cramer represents such a perfect apex of hackery that it merits some notice. I guess if you have spent a few years as the lapdog for Likud, shilling for a buddy and former business partner presents no problem at all....particularly if, like Perez, you long ago lost any claim to journalistic credibility you may ever have possessed.

The short version of Peretz's defense is that, though Jim Fallows and Edward R. Murrow are over-rated, self-righteous cockatoos, Jim Cramer is an under-appreciated egalitarian journeyman tilling away in the vineyards of the Lord. Cramer is merely getting the rough treatment because he is one of us little guys, tooling up to the CNBC parking lot in his two year old KIA with it's dented fender while Jon Stewart is presumably sipping champagne with Axl Rose and getting BJs from his Filipino houseboy.

Lastly, and most ludicrously, Peretz claims that the stratospheric ratings for the Cramer episode of The Daily Show are simply because Jim Cramer has an Elvis-like ability to pack in a crowd. This is so deluded that....well, if he actually believes this, maybe we've finally found a buyer for those GM shares.

I hope that this doesn't end Cramer's career. It probably won't because this is America and, with notable exceptions like O.J. Simpson and Bernie Madoff, we don't do public tragedy that much. It can't help though because Cramer did the one thing Americans really won't put up with. He came out looking small.

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