Friday, April 3, 2009

Media- Unaccountable For-Profit Financial Advice

John Stewart has been one of the only people calling out some of the most obvious violators of public trust, the financial media.

CNBC Financial Advice

Jim Cramer Part 1

Jim Cramer Part 2

Jim Cramer Part 3

My favorite clip is Jim Cramer Part 3 where John Stewart really lays out a challenge to Mr. Cramer. The two of them have fired shots across the bow for some time. Amazingly in this situation, it seems that Mr. Stewart has the typically fast talking quick thinking Mr. Cramer on his heels to the point where he concedes his role in the current mess of today. To fully understand Part 3, it is worthwhile to watch the other 4 clips. You will likely find yourself agreeing with most of John Stewart's well thought out and researched arguments.

Yet I believe that as John Stewart continues on this path of enlightenment and research he may find an odd conundrum of financial regulation. One side believes it is always over-reaching and ineffective and the other side believes must be expanded and revamped. I suggest that both are true in this situation. Media is exempt from all financial regulation. They are allowed to say and recommend anything they want, then completely change the next day (or even the next hour). The presumed necessity of freedom of the press yet with belief in little self-benefit.

Beautiful for them, almost anything goes without fear of repercussions. No wonder Mr. Cramer seemed completely unprepared for what Mr. Stewart dumped on him. He couldn't take the other side when shown how he was on the other side before (Part 2).

But CNBC gets paid to sell advertising by showing higher viewership. Unlike media of old (newspapers) who were paid mostly by readers, supplemented by advertising, the extreme reverse is true. They seem to have become for-profit bearers of financial advice without any accountability to those they advise. If you look at the rules and personal risk to an investment advisor, the gulf of personal risk and profit motive is incomprehensible.

Until this dichotomy is reconciled, financial media will exist and incite financial turmoil by creating a market of misinformation for some and inside information for others.