- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

The White House’s chief spokesman on Friday said he enjoyed watching “The Daily Show” host, Jon Stewart, give a lashing to CNBC’s Jim Cramer over how he and the business network have covered the collapsing economy.

Mr. Cramer’s appearance Thursday on Mr. Stewart’s Comedy Central program garnered buzz that carried all the way to the White House briefing room.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said he had spoken with President Obama on Thursday about watching the Stewart-Cramer showdown.

“I forgot to e-mail and remind him that it was on, so I don’t know if he’s seen it,” Mr. Gibbs said when asked by a reporter Friday. “I enjoyed it thoroughly.”

The spokesman added: “Despite, even as Mr. Stewart said, that it may have been uncomfortable to conduct and uncomfortable to watch, I thought it was - I thought somebody asked a lot of tough questions.”

Mr. Gibbs has been dismissive of cable chatter, particularly about the economy, and also has been critical of CNBC’s Rick Santelli after he spoke harshly of Mr. Obama’s plan to stem home foreclosures. Mr. Stewart had invited Mr. Santelli to be on his show earlier, but Mr. Santelli was a no-show.

On Thursday, Mr. Stewart took Mr. Cramer to task for trying to turn finance reporting into a “game.” Mr. Stewart claimed CNBC shirked its journalistic duty by believing corporate lies rather than being an investigative “powerful tool of illumination.”

For his part, Mr. Cramer insisted on the show that he was devoted to revealing corporate “shenanigans.” At one point, Mr. Cramer responded to Mr. Stewart’s plea for more levelheaded, honest commentary by saying: “How about I try that?”

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