Friday, February 15, 2008

Jim Cramer: Mad Money, Bad Blood (Behind the Scenes)

The Columbia Journalism Review has an interesting look under the rock:

Last summer, Barron’s published a tough story last summer on Jim Cramer, concluding that the manic and popular star of CNBC’s Mad Money program did not, for all his bluster to the contrary, beat the broader market with his stock picks.

While the story didn’t make much of a splash at the time, it sparked a quiet but surprisingly fierce feud between the two business-news organizations, one that seems out of proportion to the story that caused it. Within days of publication, for instance, CNBC officials told Barron’s reporters who had appeared as on-air guests for years that their presence was no longer desired.

Ed Finn, Barron’s editor and president, says no one told him so, but he believes CNBC banished his reporters from on-air appearances in response to the disputed August 20 piece, “Shorting Cramer” by senior editor Bill Alpert.

“They stopped putting us on pretty much from the day after that story ran,” Finn says. “We made our assumptions.”

Mike Santoli, the Barron’s reporter and a regular on CNBC’s Squawk Box and other programs, who was the most frequent on-air guest, had no comment....MORE

I've become a fan of The Audit's 'Opening Bell'* blog (being the CJR, they call it a column). Here's today's:

The Audit

Opening Bell

Spitzer turns the tables; WSJ scoops; renting in Dallas; FT on shaky LBOs, etc.

The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times report this morning that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is stoking the fire his insurance superintendent has set under the monoline bond insurers, saying they have five days tops to shore up (subscription site) their capital or be busted up.

Spitzer testified on Capitol Hill to a House subcommittee on capital markets that he could slice off the monolines’ large municipal-bond-insurance businesses if they don’t act quickly. He is trying to prevent downgrades of the bond insurers from sharply raising the borrowing costs of municipalities across the country. Yesterday, credit raters slashed the third-largest monoline’s rating six notches below the top-rated AAA, potentially affecting $300 billion of bonds....MORE

*Here's how they intro'd. it on Wednesday:

Editor’s note: Welcome to the first Opening Bell, a daily look at the morning’s business press written by Ryan Chittum, a crusty-yet-youthful financial journalism veteran. Opening Bell is the newest feature of The Audit, the business-press section of the Columbia Journalism Review.

And now: “Ding!”