The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

The Financial Crisis & Business Skepticism

Posted by mattusmaximus on March 14, 2009

The news about the economy is, by most accounts, pretty dismal these days. As time goes on, we are finding out about more an more shady deals on Wall Street and even outright fraud – think Bernard Madoff. How did we get caught up in this hysteria of wishful thinking that drove an insane economic bubble which ultimately burst so badly?

I’m no economist, and I don’t like to write about economics, but I wanted to take a moment or two to give a shout-out to someone who is applying skepticism & critical thinking to these questions – Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show😀

In the last week, Jon Stewart has very publicly and vocally taken those financial reporters, networks, and commentators – such as CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer – to task for failing to apply their own skepticism & critical thinking to the situation. And in the end, when dealing in business and/or investing, it boils down to that old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

I want to share two video clips of Jon Stewart laying the skeptical smackdown on CNBC for failing to apply critical thinking to these issues. The first is a broadcast from The Daily Show earlier in the week where Stewart criticizes CNBC for giving sloppy or shady financial advice…

stewart vs cnbc

The second video is an interview between Stewart and Cramer as they discuss what went wrong and the business media’s responsibility to be more willing to ask tough questions and follow through…

stewart vs cramer

I have to agree with Stewart. While it is incumbent upon all of us to apply our critical thinking skills to issues of business & finance, at some point we depend upon the business media outlets, like CNBC, to provide us with trustworthy information. Let us hope we’ve all learned this painful lesson well.

2 Responses to “The Financial Crisis & Business Skepticism”

  1. […] Asia Daily News Online Top Stories wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt The news about the economy is, by most accounts, pretty dismal these days. As time goes on, we are finding out about more an more shady deals on Wall Street and even outright fraud – think Bernard Madoff. How did we get caught up in this hysteria of wishful thinking that drove an insane economic bubble which ultimately burst so badly? I’m no economist, and I don’t like to write about economics, but I wanted to take a moment or two to give a shout-out to someone who is applying skepticism & critical thinking to these questions – Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show In the last week, Jon Stewart has very publicly and vocally taken those financial reporters, networks, and commentators – such as CNBC’s Mad Money with Jim Cramer – to task for failing to apply their own skepticism & critical thinking to the situation. […] […]

  2. Badrescher said

    I usually pick up the Daily Show in bits like this, so I had not seen this. Thank you for drawing attention to it. Watching Stewart expose Cramer like that was EXTREMELY gratifying. Stewart is SO good at what he does; he makes it look easy even as he admits that it was not.

    There is plenty of blame to go around (for the current economic situation), but what really makes me red is the finger-pointing of those who should be sharing in it. The most despicable culprits are rarely discussed: the greedy scumbags who sold bad loan products to homeowners as if they were timeshares.

    I do not believe that consumers of these products should be viewed as totally innocent victims, but there is nothing resembling a “bail out” in helping homeowners restructure bad ARMs so that their payments do not double each quarter while the value of the property drops. We ALL benefit from avoiding mass foreclosures and keeping people in their homes. Correct me if I am wrong (I may have missed something), but nobody has seriously proposed or implemented legislation that involves the taxpayers absorbing lost principle.

    Nice job!

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