It is being reported that NBC producers were told by higher ups not to incorporate discussion or highlight’s of CNBC’s Mad Money host Jim Cramer’s appearance on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. This along with Cramer’s no show of Morning Joe is evidence that the Peacock Family is doing damage control.
According to TVNewser, the order came down from higher ups not to highlight Cramer/Stewart. This is a radical departure from earlier in the week when Cramer was everywhere. Including on what is arguably the family of networks spotlight show Today. Cramer made all of his regular CNBC daytime appearances, but there was no mention of Stewart.
Let me be clear, this was obviously not Cramer’s decision. This is GE doing damage control, while trying to protect a valuable member of the NBC family. NBC is in the dumps ratings wise, and MSNBC except for their primetime line up still runs third behind CNN and FNC, but CNBC is the dominant business news network. In addition, CNBC has been marketed not only as a source of business news, but a place for advice and expertise.
It is tough to overestimate the damage that The Daily Show interview did to the network’s brand, because Jim Cramer has been marketed as the face of CNBC expertise. Cramer has been THE face of the network. There was only one small part of the interview that was damaging to CNBC. It was the video that was shown that was not intended for television in which Cramer described tactics and said things that he admitted that he would never say on TV.
A couple of little video clips destroyed the idea that CNBC was shooting straight with its viewers. I freely admit that I watch CNBC everyday because it is great entertainment. It is the most bi-polar network on television. If the market is up it is euphoric, but should it fall on bad news, the network is glum and depressed. Often these mood swings happen in the same day. One of things I have learned from years of watching CNBC is that every bit of valuable news the viewer gets is often wrapped in tons of speculation and opinion.
I think this episode provides a case study in how the media tries to shape the audience’s perception of the news. NBC decided that Cramer’s appearance on The Daily Show was bad for them, so they made a decision that wasn’t based on news value. Their decision was rooting in saving one of their top performers (CNBC) and stars (Jim Cramer) embarrassment and a loss of credibility. NBC isn’t the first network, and it won’t be the last, to make this kind of decision, but it is the most recent example of the mainstream media’s news filter in action.