Friday, March 06, 2009

Rick Santelli's Superb Publicity Stunt

Yessir, you can't buy publicity like this

I think that Dan Mitchell has the best take so far on Jon Stewart's hilarious evisceration of Rick Santelli and CNBC.

Mitchell says as follows:
If you watch Stewart's attack carefully, you might notice something: It was completely unfair. Not inaccurate, but unfair. Stewart did a bunch of things that no journalist could, or should, ever get away with. He showed ultra-short clips of anchors and reporters saying things that, by themselves, sounded really stupid but, in context, may not have been quite as dumb as they seemed (though some surely were). And he included clips of interviewees saying dumb things, something for which CNBC bears no blame (unless they went totally unchallenged, which I assume in some cases they did).

This is all fine—for a satirist. The overall vibe of CNBC—with its "money honeys," Jim Cramer's inane frothing, and the lunkheaded fratboys on Fast Money treating economic news like a football game—is stupid. So showing clips that make the network look stupid works just fine—for a satirist.
What's remarkable about this whole episode, aside from tapping into a kind of wellspring of hostility toward CNBC, is how it is a quintessential publicity stunt gone awry. Rick Santelli was engaged in a spur-of-the-moment rant, and CNBC later picked up on it as "Santelli's tea party." He was then attacked by pretty much every non-conservative columnist east of the Mississippi, and then came Stewart's satire to top off an immense P.R. debacle for CNBC.

Here's more from a Philadelphia Inquirer blog and CJR.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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