Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

For Getting the Skinny on Apple Stock Hijinks Alone, BoomTown Hearts Jon Stewart


I know that “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart does not need even more praise for his spot-on comic and very real jabs at the CNBC financial cable network and its milquetoast coverage of the financial crisis, pre and post.

The silliness that prevails too much over doing serious and rigorous reporting that Stewart takes perfect aim at is a major problem.

Taking CEO spinning at face value and letting them yammer on on air without being challenged much at all has always been excruciating to watch at best and woefully irresponsible at worst.

But, to my mind, the most important thing that he elicited out of CNBC’s most famous stock jester, Jim Cramer, was the part of the interview discussing using the malleable press to float fictional rumors about companies in order to make money on the negative news.

While Cramer at first tried to deny he did it, Stewart had the videotape of the “Mad Money” host talking about the practice, specifically in regard to Apple (AAPL).

His appalling idea to make a quick buck? Making it up that the mobile carriers did not like the iPhone right before Macworld, in this case in 2006.

“And this is very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim that it’s credible because you spoke to someone at Apple, because Apple doesn’t…comment,” said Cramer cavalierly, as if he was not talking about a way to essentially steal other people’s money and hurt Apple unfairly, to interviewer Aaron Task, then at Cramer’s own TheStreet.com.

“So it’s really an ideal short. And again if I were short Apple, I’d pick up the phone and I’d do that today.“

Bernie Madoff would be so proud, if he wasn’t otherwise imprisoned for life!

Kind of puts all those Steve-Jobs-Is-Dead-Right-Now rumors of a few months ago into a new light?

It’s been obvious that the legendary Apple CEO has been quite ill from his appearance alone.

But, as BoomTown has always maintained, the rumors written without any serious reporting about him were also a troublesome issue because it was that clear short-sellers played a large part in stoking the fear about his imminent demise, given how important Jobs has been to Apple.

(Although, this has not seemed to stop Apple from releasing a lot of really cool stuff of late, like the new Shuffle, which Walt Mossberg reviewed here.)

While Apple has not been adequately forthcoming, either, about the Jobs situation, that does not mean the press–as Stewart correctly points out–should not try to actually do its job and dig for what is really going on rather than just slap up unsubstantiated blather.

“It’s not a f@#*ing game,” said Stewart perfectly. Indeed not.

You can see Cramer cynically discussing the Apple stock manipulation tricks at the 6:45-minute mark of Part 2, but here is the entire Stewart well-deserved roasting of Cramer in three parts.

(And at the bottom is the Task interview with Cramer too.)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

TheStreet.com Interview:

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald