Sunday, August 19, 2007

Barron's Piece on Cramer: Be Wary of Those Defending Him

So, Barron's did a piece on Mr. Cramer this weekend and the jist of it was that it was not a flattering portrayal. Some blogs have rushed to Cramer's defense but before you buy into their reasoning, check their motives.

First, as is my standing policy I will not name folks but readers who do their homework can come to their own conclusions.

Now, Cramer. As I have said here countless times I am not a fan of his bi-polar trading style and when you constantly shout to people how great you are, you then become a rather loud target. That being said, when he talks about the market and it's machinations, there are not very many folks better. I wish he would stick to that but it probably would not be very much of a show and rating are what CNBC wants. Also, he recent rant and then love fest with Bernanke over rates may go down and the most embarrassing episode in TV history, although I doubt he sees it.

The Barron's piece. I think that Cramer's show is purposely vague enough so that the picks cannot be tracked and if they are, there is enough ambiguity there allow to for a defense. Barron's had a well written piece that did the best job I have seen to date tracking his picks. I will neither say they are right or wrong because of the reason I gave before, the show is just too ambiguous to really say. The piece was very well done though.

The defenders...

Some blogs have rushed to attack Barron's and defend Cramer, why?

One defense is the conspiracy theory. Barron's is owned by Dow Jones (DJ) which was just purchased by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS). The infantile theory says that with Murdoch starting a business news channel soon, (the rumor has been around for a few years now) Barron's writers and editors, wanting to "get in good" with him attacked CNBC's star. What, are they serious? Why make the attack now? Why not wait until the channel was actually announced and being launched? Any effect an attack would have now will dissipate and be forgotten by the time the channel actual debuts. Also, does anyone really think that Murdoch built the multi billion dollar empire he has by being duped by such transparent sucking up if that is what it was?

Do people out there honestly think Murdoch spent $5 billion for Dow Jones and does not know the players there? He just woke up one morning and decided to make a go of it because he had some extra cash in his wallet ? This whole line of thinking is really pretty sad and should eliminate whatever comes after it in a Cramer defense because if the writer of it actually believes it, any other reasoning they may have on the subject is probably equally as flawed. This reasoning is about as likely as Sam Giancana and the Chicago Mafia actually killing Kennedy. What is much more likely is that Cramer's antics the past few weeks have people looking to knock him down a peg or two.

The "show is educational" defense. Yes it is. But, when you dance around and tell people to "buy" and "sell", you now are giving investing advice and when those people are calling because they do not know the answer and are asking you for it, you cannot fall back on the "do your homework" excuse. If they could, they would not be calling you. What would you tell your broker (if you have one) if he said that to you? If you want it to be purely educational, stop telling people what to do.

So, why the defenders? Ass kissing, pure and simple. The most influential site out there today for driving traffic to your stock blog is James Altucher's "Daily Blog Watch". "Blog Watch" is part of..... drum roll please....James Cramer's, The A defense of Cramer is an attempt to "get you in good" with the folks there, get your blog listed there more and drive more traffic to you. Politics, Simple.

When it comes to the Cramer thing in the blogsphere, take everything written with a huge grain of salt. Much of it is very intertwined and what may appear as an honest defense of Cramer is more likely an attempt to defend a friend or endear oneself to an influential site.

Now, neither of those are bad things, but let's try to be honest about our motives, can we? If we are doing either one of those, lets "disclose" it. If we have a relationship with Cramer or The or Mr. Altucher, tell people so they are able to put your "defense" in the proper framework.

If we disclose our stock affiliations when we write about them, ought we not disclose the other ones we write about?


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