Cramer vs. Stewart: One Rule for USA Today to remember

USA Today has some advice for CNBC’s Jim Cramer – but does Jim Cramer really need it?

By most accounts, Cramer looked foolish in his back-and-forth with The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart. To stick up for President Obama’s economic policies and take shots at CNBC Stewart found footage of Cramer giving bad stock advice. Cramer shot back by calling Stewart a comedian and an idiot; Stewart aired more clips of Cramer giving advice that proved to be wrong… you’ve probably seen the clips on the news shows, so we won’t re-hash details.

The whole fracas reminds me of the phrase, “Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.” USA Today chides Cramer for ignoring that old adage:

“Stewart may be a comic, but he’s an incredibly smart and increasingly influential one – a media darling whose comments get amplified by print, TV, and the internetCramer gave Stewart time and ammunition to launch a broader, more damaging attack on CNBC itself.”

USA Today also offers three “rules” for Cramer to avoid similar conflicts; but in doing so they seem to have forgotten another rule: “All publicity is good publicity.”

Cramer certainly didn’t “win” his debate with Stewart and Stewart was able to serve some red meat to his audience by mocking opposition to President Obama and creatively framing issues. But in entering into a feud with Stewart, clips of Cramer’s show were shown to a wider audience than he probably normally has – not just Stewart’s viewers, but also the viewers of the TV shows that covered each salvo and eagerly awaited the next. In fact, they probably both got what they wanted out of it.

Jim Cramer isn’t going to lose his job at CNBC, and CNBC’s credibility will not be hurt by Comedy Central. So being drawn into this controversy might not have been such a bad thing – even if he didn’t win, Cramer had nothing to lose.

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