Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paul B. Farrell vs. Jim Cramer


Today is the Great American Smokeout, but let me suggest that we also declare it National Get Over Jim Cramer Day. Paul Farrell is the latest member of the financial media to take a shot at Jim Cramer. Last week, Paul Farrell wrote a MarketWatch column attacking Jim Cramer's trading strategy. In it, he acknowledges that he has only listened to "Mad Money" once but found it insufferable; I doubt if he's read Cramer's books. Farrell then goes on to make the usual anti-Cramer attacks: he trades to frequently, he's an irresponsible idiot, my passive approach is cheaper and takes much less time. Nothing new really.
So Cramer responded to Farrell's attacks, also on MarketWatch. Here is Cramer's defense of his picks. As usual, Cramer painted himself as a man of the people, the Huey Long of the stock market if you will, giving the people the means to live out their dreams. Farrell made the mistake of insulting Cramer's viewers, which allowed Cramer to break out his anti-elitist screed; his viewers are not idiots, they are fairly level-headed and sophisticated, they do their homework.
Cramer is part entertainer. He has never shied away from this role or denied it. He's not trying to be the august and patrician Louis Rukeyser. He is not the genial and folksy Warren Buffett and he knows it. He goes with what he has, manic enthusiasm and a near-autistic recollection of stocks. To this he adds sound effects. The show is not completely worthless fluff. Cramer's critics need to look past the buffoonery for just a minute. Cramer is one of the rare celebrities whose detractors' efforts to expose him only make him more popular. So just get over it.

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