On Reliable Sources, Tucker Carlson asserted regarding Jon Stewart's recent criticism of CNBC's Jim Cramer: "This was a partisan attack. He went after -- he went after Cramer the moment Cramer criticized [President] Obama's budget. That was the mortal sin. That's what kicked off this entire feud." Carlson made a similar claim to the Politico. In fact, Stewart criticized Cramer at least as far back as March 17, 2008, for claiming that investment firm Bear Stearns was "not in trouble" less than a week before the company collapsed.
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During a March 15 discussion on CNN's Reliable Sources about Comedy Central host Jon Stewart's recent criticism of CNBC host Jim Cramer for his coverage of the current financial crisis, MSNBC political analyst Tucker Carlson asserted: "This was a partisan attack. He went after -- he went after Cramer the moment Cramer criticized [President] Obama's budget. That was the mortal sin. That's what kicked off this entire feud." According to a March 13 Politico article, Carlson similarly told Politico: "[Cramer's] real sin was attacking Obama's economic policies. If he hadn't done that, Stewart never would have gone after him. Stewart's doing Obama's bidding. It's that simple." In fact, as Media Matters for America has documented, Stewart criticized Cramer at least as far back as March 17, 2008, for claiming that investment firm Bear Stearns was "not in trouble" less than a week before the company collapsed -- the same remarks that Stewart has highlighted on recent editions of his show.
During the Reliable Sources segment, host Howard Kurtz noted to Carlson that in 2004 Stewart "went on your old show, Crossfire, the now-defunct CNN program Crossfire." Kurtz then aired a clip from that appearance in which Stewart claimed Carlson and his Crossfire co-hosts were engaging in "partisan hackery" and told Carlson he "need[s] to go to" journalism school. Kurtz then said that Carlson has "been on the receiving end of a Jon Stewart lecture" and asked Carlson: "[D]oes that color your view at all of his perspicacity?"
From the March 15 edition of Reliable Sources:
KURTZ: Did Jon Stewart prove his case against Jim Cramer?
CARLSON: Can you imagine Jim Cramer sitting there and taking a sanctimonious lecture from Jon Stewart? Yes, I mean, Cramer was craven and sweaty and pathetic. I'm sure his wife is ashamed of his behavior, the butt-sniffing he gave Jon Stewart. But Jon Stewart -- let's be honest. This was a partisan attack. He went after -- he went after Cramer the moment Cramer criticized Obama's budget. That was the mortal sin. That's what kicked off this entire feud. You don't dare --
KURTZ: You don't buy the notion that Jon Stewart is angry? I mean, Jon Stewart's been --
CARLSON: Of course he's angry. He's angry about a lot of things.
CARLSON: But, look, was Jim Cramer the only analyst to call it wrong --
CARLSON: -- to come up with stupid stock picks? Of course not. He criticized Obama's budget, and that's what started this. Because in the end -- in the end, Jon Stewart is a partisan hack.
STEPHANIE MILLER (radio host): And Tucker, I think you're wrong on that. This did not start because he criticized -- because Cramer criticized Obama. This started, you know, he was just doing a rant against CNBC. Jim Cramer was included. It was because of Santelli going off on the American homeowner that Stewart took them to task. So I don't think it had anything to do with President Obama or that policy.
CARLSON: Well, Santelli wasn't going off on the American homeowner, of course. He was going off on Obama and Obama's policies. And that's -- that's the point here. Look, Jon Stewart is a political player. He's a partisan. He is speaking on behalf of the Democratic Party, and in so doing, becoming, I think -- I mean, he's smart and he's talented, but he's becoming so self-serious and so sanctimonious that it's just a matter of time before he becomes unfunny. I mean, this is the fate of all kinds of comedians. This is the fate of Lenny Bruce. And it will happen. You watch.
DAVID ZURAWIK (Baltimore Sun television critic): With -- honestly, Tucker, with all due respect, I think it's a horrible mistake to look at this through that kind of ideological prism. You know, back in October on this show, we were going after Cramer for this. This -- and what we were going after him for is essentially what Stewart talked about. It is that the job of journalism is to give citizens information that they can use to make good decisions, sound decisions about their life. CNBC, Cramer, Santelli, that whole crew is doing the opposite in a time of crisis. They're giving us bad information. Thank God Stewart went after him.
KURTZ: Hold on, hold on. They're not just giving us bad information. You can take videotape and say they were wrong on this and Cramer was wrong on Bear Stearns. But they also do a lot of reporting. You seem to object --
KURTZ: -- you seem to object when anybody wants to have a good time or jazz things up to make people watch. It's television.
ZURAWIK: It's television, Howie, but really, this is -- would you not say we are in a time of crisis and people are looking to us as the press? This is the other reason that people don't like us in the press. They say, "Oh, I want to come and get some information," and instead they get clown-show Cramer up there. And I think that's --
CARLSON: Wait a sec --
ZURAWIK: -- I think -- honestly, I think it is so dangerous for right now in this democracy for us to not be able to know where we can that information in the press. And obviously, you would turn to a financial news network in an economic crisis.
CARLSON: Wait a second. I'm not defending CNBC or its bad calls, but you are not even commenting on the demagoguery of Jon Stewart, who's posing as if CNBC is singlehandedly responsible for this recession, which it is not. You will never see Jon Stewart criticize the economic policies of this administration. He is acting on their behalf. He is looking through an ideological lens as he sees this.
KURTZ: I think we need to put on the table what Jon Stewart did. Actually, he came on this show in 2002 and he did a rant about CNN and "You're the news, don't be entertainment, you've got to help us." Then he went on your old show, Crossfire, the now-defunct CNN program Crossfire. Let's play a little bit of that from 2004.
[begin video clip]
STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery.
The interesting thing that I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
CARLSON: You need to get a job in a journalism school, I think.
STEWART: You need to go to one.
[end video clip]
KURTZ: So you've been on the receiving end of a Jon Stewart lecture, clearly.
KURTZ: And does that color your view at all of his perspicacity?
CARLSON: It's all the same. I mean, to call me a partisan hack is ludicrous. I am the least partisan person I know.
CARLSON: I have zero interest in party politics -- zero interest. I spent half my life attacking Republicans. I have -- I'm an ideologue, truly. I have ideas that are distinct from partisan politics.