October 18, 2011
Confession: I don’t *heart* Jim Cramer

Some people say they “love” Jim Cramer.  

When I hear this, I smile politely. I just don’t get it.

This isn’t a case of a writer railing against the imprecise use of language. I profess to “love” many things you might consider implausible. Can I really love bad pop songs from the 1980s and 1990s? Insensible shoes? Peanut butter?!  

Doubt all you want. My love is true—especially where peanut butter is concerned. So I respect another’s right to love Cramer. Free country and all that. Plus, he offers some great information. His books, like Getting Back to Even and Mad Money, are good.

And now the “but” you’re waiting for: Cramer’s flaws are glaring and often insurmountable. When someone with a public, worldwide forum regularly flaunts his inconsistencies, irresponsibility and hypocrisy, that’s a fairly big deal.

For example, Cramer’s latest crusade is against crude oil speculators. He wants them indicted for driving up the price of gas. He wants more and better regulation. He made his outraged case on his TV show, Mad Money.

He’s clearly angry. But it doesn’t ring true, because a month ago he advocated the same trading practices that he now derides when advising viewers on how to trade gold.

Sometimes, Cramer just can’t help but rat himself out; he seems to be one of those guys who needs you to know he got away with something naughty. Cramer was at the center of a 2007 controversy because he explained how, as a hedge fund manager, he used admittedly illegal practices to manipulate stock prices.  He bragged about it—to USA Today.

Influential financial TV personalities will probably always make wildly irresponsible statements, and some individuals will suffer. Your best, safest bet is to develop a solid understanding and learn how you can best to interpret all the available information.

I’m still learning and will be for the foreseeable future. That’s OK. My primers include SFO (Stocks, Futures, Options) Magazine and related products, as well as books like Michael Lewis’ The Big Short and Essentials of Trading by Larry Pesavento and Leslie Jouflas.

 

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