Cramer too opinionated for Fox
The Bear Stearns meltdown is providing new fodder for the war between Fox Business Channel and CNBC, with Fox taking out ads in the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal to attack the credibility of CNBC star Jim Cramer.On March 11, Cramer proclaimed the brokerage was “fine” and “not in trouble”: seemingly the perfect “gotcha” quote in the wake of the stock’s collapse and subsequent takeover by JPMorgan.
Cramer has since argued — rather convincingly, if you watch the video — that he was referring to the safety of keeping money in Bear Stearns accounts and investments, not to the relative merits of buying Bear Stearns shares. But that didn’t stop Fox Business Channel from running an ad in the Journal and other newspapers on Monday that listed Cramer’s quotes under “famous last words” from the likes of UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. (President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner didn’t make an appearance.)
This isn’t the first time the News Corp empire has taken on the king of business TV booyah. Late in 2000, it settled a lawsuit against Cramer, after TheStreet.com, which Cramer helped to create, canceled a program on the network. Cramer was accused to touting shares in his own company, in which he owned a 13 percent stake. The fracas led to TheStreet.com pulling out of a TV deal with Fox News, and Fox News suing to try to force Cramer to continue appearing on the network.
The half-page ad in the Journal probably caught a lot more eyeballs than Fox Business did this morning. As of January, with only a few months of broadcasting under its belt, early estimates showed Fox Business Network drawing an estimated 6,000 average weekday viewers. Twenty-year old CNBC had 283,000 on an average weekday in the same period.
After JPMorgan raised its offer for Bear on Monday, Cramer opined that “the worst is over.” Will the usually optimistic Fox Business Channel now counter with “the worst is yet to come?”
Photo: Actress Queen Latifah jokes around with CNBC analyst Jim Cramer during an interview at the NASDAQ Marketsite in New York.