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article imageNBC Boss lashes out at Jon Stewart's criticism

By Mark M Drewe     Mar 18, 2009 in Entertainment
After a much publicized buildup to the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview on the March 12 episode of The Daily Show, NBC chief executive Jeff Zucker weighed in with his own comments about the comedian's harsh criticism.
Over the past few weeks, regular viewers of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart were made well aware of the growing riff between Stewart and CNBC's Jim Cramer (host of Mad Money) over the business media's coverage of the financial meltdown and the lead-up of it, focusing particularly on Cramer's comments surrounding Bear Sterns before its bankruptcy. And while much of the conflict in the week before the interview was manufactured by other media outlets (which Stewart himself mocked regularly), the interview was anything but a joke.
However, nearly a week after the interview was finished and the interview was fading from media spotlight, NBC's chief executive Jeff Zucker decided to bring his opinions forward about Stewart's coverage and interview.
As suspected, Zucker was quick to defend CNBC:
"Everybody wants to find a scapegoat. That's human nature," Zucker said during a keynote address at a media industry conference. "But to suggest that the business media or CNBC was responsible for what is going on now is absurd."
Zucker went on to say that Stewart's comments were "completely out of line," and "unfair and absurd." Meanwhile, he stated that CNBC's reporters had done a terrific job reporting on the financial channel, and pointed to the station's increased viewership since the recession began.
When there is a lot of red on the screen, historically people don't want to watch that," he said. "That is absolutely not the case this time. I don't think this is like those other times.
He also implicitly accused Stewart of blaming the news media for the recession, claiming that "everyone is looking for a scapegoat."
These comments come some time after the dust has settled, and no doubt will add more fuel to a fire that seemed to by dying - particularly when the comments seem to have an unstated disrespect for the kind of leverage Stewart has with the public, many of whom have been victims of this crash more than the executives who receive the bailouts. In many ways, Stewart almost acts as their voice of dissent; and it can be counted on that come the next few episodes of The Daily Show, mockery of Zucker's comments will bring "Brawl Street" back into the limelight.
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