Playing the Game

I just watched the Cramer interview on The Daily Show. Awesome.

Of the many, many blogs about the show, the most astute is Glen Greenwald’s in Salon who draws the broader picture – the only journalism happening on TV is on Comedy Central.

Greenwalds draws an interesting parallel between Cramer

CRAMER:  I always wish that people would come in and swear themselves in before they come on the show.  I had a lot of CEOs lie to me on the show.  It’s very painful. I don’t have subpoena power. . . .

and the run up to the Iraq War

BILL MOYERS: Critics point to September Eight, 2002 and to your show in particular, as the classic case of how the press and the government became inseparable. Someone in the Administration plants a dramatic story in the NEW YORK TIMES.  And then the Vice President comes on your show and points to the NEW YORK TIMES.  It’s a circular, self-confirming leak.

TIM RUSSERT: I don’t know how Judith Miller and Michael Gordon reported that story, who their sources were. It was a front-page story of the NEW YORK TIMES. When Secretary Rice and Vice President Cheney and others came up that Sunday morning on all the Sunday shows, they did exactly that.

My concern was, is that there were concerns expressed by other government officials. And to this day, I wish my phone had rung, or I had access to them.

Greenwald:

Compare Russert’s self-defense to how and why he uncritically amplified Government lies (“I wish my phone had rung“) to Cramer’s pretense of victimization over the fact that CEOs lied to him and so there was nothing he could do but assume they were telling the truth (“I don’t have subpoena power”).  Stewart’s primary criticism of Cramer applies with exactly equal force to the excuse offered by Tim “Wish My Phone Had Rung” Russert

The most illuminating moment in the Cramer interview was when Jon Stewart asked Cramer who is he responsible to? What’s his role? For whose benefit is Cramer reporting?

The whole news cycle is a game of prisoners dilemma, where the journalists and the politicians and the captains of industry have a lot to gain by cooperating with each other and a lot to lose by not playing the game.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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