Denial appears to be the official position on Jim Cramer following his pantsing by Jon Stewart. CNBCers don't believe there's a problem, while MSNBC is doing their best to pretendCramer doesn't exist.
The contretemps has been cable wallpaper all week; the NBC bosses' decision to tamp down and enter damage control mode with a sure-to-leak order dictating editorial coverage indicates that they are taking the PR downside of this debacle seriously after foolishly offering up Cramer to Stewart earlier this week. The gag order surely came from NBC Universal President and CEO Jeff Zucker, pictured with Cramer.
Calls to several CNBCers this morning indicated that Cramer has "the full backing" of CNBC and NBC Universal execs, and that his role at CNBC is safe. But some are hopeful that the backlash against Cramer will serve as a wake-up call to CNBC president Mark Hoffman, who pushed the eight-screaming-heads-in-a-box gimmickry that seized the network when he took over in 2005. And while it's unlikely that CNBC would dump Cramer over a chat-show appearance, the more he becomes both the public face of the network and the target of populist outrage, the grimmer CNBC's fortunes become as it heads into a very down year.
Hegedus spent a decade at CNBC; he just left in January. Another, current CNBC reporter expressed precisely the same sentiment to me in an interview today: That people looking for free stock tips on TV get what they pay for.
SO STOP LISTENING TO THE THINGS THEY SAY, PLEASE.