NBC’s Favorite Business Analyst – Really So Savvy?

It’s been a bumpy ride in the markets and as with any news with such a serious downside, the NBC “Nightly News” has been all over it. But who they chose to be front and center for their coverage has been a bit curious. CNBC’s Jim Cramer has appeared on the “Nightly News” five times in 2007 and eight times on the “Today” show – the majority of those appearances in recent weeks. (Kudlow, anyone?) There are a few chinks in Cramer’s armor, though. Beyond his infamous meltdown on August 6 and his admission in December 2006 on TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM), a financial Web site he launched in 1996, of manipulating the press to influence the markets when he was working at a hedge fund, he’s not an all-knowing stock guru. An article by Bill Alpert in the August 20 Barron’s reported Cramer’s stock picks have lagged at a gain of 12 percent over the last two years versus 22 percent for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 16 percent for the Standard & Poor’s 500 and 14 percent for the NASDAQ for the same time period. CNBC’s response? “They [CNBC officials] said that the show is mainly educational, and not just about stock-picking,” wrote Alpert. “In the end, they said we should focus only on the tiny universe of stock selections – about 12 a week – that Cramer researches the most. And we should do it only for the issues picked this year.” So if Cramer’s show is primarily educational, why is he regarded the “go-to guy” when it comes any dramatic shift in the financial world?