CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER
Cramer Backpedals, Tells Imus Mistakes Were Made
21 Corporate Crime Reporter 13, March 22, 2007
Jim Cramer took the airwaves this morning and backed away from controversial remarks made in a December 2006 internet television interview with TheStreet.com.
A contrite and nervous sounding Cramer told MSNBC’s Don Imus that “mistakes were made” when he appeared on the internet business television show claiming that hedge fund managers were manipulating the market, through both legal and illegal means, making disparaging remarks about his fellow financial journalists at CNBC and the Wall Street Journal, encouraging market players to engage in illegal activity – and implying that he too engaged in illegal activity when he was in the hedge fund business.
“I have to either shut up or get better at telling what I did or didn’t do,” Cramer told Imus. “I didn’t do a good job at distinguishing between the two.”
Did he engage in illegal activity?
“I was saying – I have to show you the scams that other people do,” Cramer told Imus. “I have to show you how Wall Street really works. I didn’t say it right. I have to get better at saying it. I did not do the stuff. But I didn’t say it right.”
“I ran a clean shop,” Cramer said. “I tried not to be a bad guy. . .It’s about trying to show people the way things really work on Wall Street. I’m no master of the universe. But I did my best to run a clean shop.”
Cramer, host of the popular CNBC show “Mad Money,” apologized for implying that market insiders use CNBC Wall Street reporter Bob Pisani as a conduit for unfounded rumors about stocks.
“I was a jerk about that too,” Cramer told Imus. “I should have said – guys call me all the time and say – listen Cramer, there is bad news coming at Motorola. I impugned him (Pisani). That was another mistake. He’s a good guy. I called him yesterday. He’s an old pro. He deserved better from me. He’s one of the best. And sometimes I screw up. I screwed up in saying that stuff about him.”
But Cramer did not back away from remarks encouraging hedge fund managers to dump junk information on “bozo” reporters at the Wall Street Journal.
“The Journal is oftentimes captive to the guys who want the market down,” Cramer said. “I always find that there is a bias to the Journal. They want to be skeptical. They think it is being prudent. But when you read their columns, a lot of times what they are saying is – get out now, panic now. We’re going to hell in a handbasket.”
Cramer said he didn’t anticipate any disciplinary action from his bosses at CNBC.
Most of the criticism is coming from NewsCorp’s Fox News and the New York Post, Cramer said.
NewsCorp announced last month that it will launch a television business channel to compete with CNBC.
“Most of the discipline is coming from organizations that have an edge against CNBC – maybe of that Fox venue, that New York Post venue,” Cramer said. “I know they are coming against us. I wish them luck. I like the competition. But I think there is a bit of a motivation in some of the articles from an organization that wants very much to be in the business news game.”
Imus said that Cramer had donated “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to the non-profit Imus Ranch in New Mexico.
to the MSNBC web site, the purpose of the ranch is to “provide the experience
of the great American cowboy to children suffering from cancer or serious blood
disorders, and children who've lost brothers and sisters to Sudden Infant Death
1209 National Press Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20045