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Cheap Populism - David's Journal

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Previous Entry Cheap Populism Mar. 6th, 2009 @ 07:47 am Next Entry
I watched John Stewart "attack" on CNBC last night. Unlike when he makes fun of Obama (it has happened a couple of times), he was neither funny nor informative. At least part of the problem is that liberals (and Stewart is extremely liberal) are very funny when they make fun of liberal politicians because they are very aware of their foibles. It becomes less funny when they try to make fun of business leaders because liberal comedians are suddenly out of their element and their satirical rage just becomes self-righteous rage.

Apparently Stewart was miffed by Santelli canceling his interview. Stewart decided to strike back with all the venom of a stood up prom date. He played about three seconds of Santelli's mortgage rant where he describes people who can't pay their mortgages as "losers". From here Stewart launches an extended recitation of CNBC's bad predictions concerning the stock market.

Leaving aside the fact that you could say virtually the same thing about 90% of analysts that have to gave their opinion of the market (just look at the hedge fund indices), Stewart is attacking a straw man. His implied argument is that Santelli is wrong to criticize people for over-leveraging themselves and buying things they couldn't actually afford because CNBC wasn't able to predict the stock market crash. These two things are not the same. Santelli is criticizing people with shaky credit histories who took loans they couldn't afford and then demanded the government (i.e tax payers who did not take risky loans) bail them out. Stewart is trying to equate this with failing to predict the stock market crash. Nothing is better than criticizing someone's prognostication abilities by showing off your own ignorance. Not so funny.
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