Barron's vs. Cramer (Yet Another Round)

Includes: DJ, NWS
by: Greg Newton

The old saw about battles in academia being so vicious because so little is at stake is equally applicable to media squabbles. That, of course, in no way mitigates their entertainment value, so let’s get to the Columbia Journalism Review and Dean Starkman’s analysis of an imbroglio, triggered by Barron’s ‘Shorting Cramer’ cover story from Aug. 20 2007:

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...

...The clash shows what happens when one business-news outlet goes after another: bad blood. In a recent interview with me, a visibly distraught Cramer displayed an emotional intensity entirely different from his ranting but comical on-air persona. “It was just so outrageous, so Kafkaesque,” he says of being a Barron’s target.

At least as outrageous and Kafkaesque: Cramer being any kind of distraught at being a Barron’s target. CJR omits mention of the longstanding, if recently low-key, enmity between Mr Booyah and Barron’s, the latter mostly in the form of its former editor and now columnist Alan Abelson; they’ve been tossing grenades at each other for at least the 7000 Dow points (counting the 2000 currently overhead).

Not to mention the fact that after how many years of polluting perfectly good bandwidth with Mad Money, CNBC “acknowledges” that airing a show centered on stock picking “without tracking its own performance or even keeping a record, using whatever criteria it chooses, of the stocks it picks” is a problem that it’s...“working on.”

Mad Money, Bad Blood
Why CNBC threw Barron’s off its air
by Dean Starkman
Columbia Journalism Review Feb. 15 2008

Disclosure: Your author has been a (very) occasional contributor to Barron’s; he told CNBC where to stick its invitations several months ago.