June 14th, 2006
Dear Jim Cramer,
I’m feeling sorry for you, Jim, because it looks as if you’re trying to fit a size 14 foot into a size 7 shoe. You have to adjust. Don’t you know that something that works in a bull market just might not work in a bear market. Your antics like trying to cut the heads off miniature bulls with a Bowie knife or slugging a piñata with a baseball bat or swinging at a box of Uncle Ben’s Rice to try to “get even” with Ben Bernacke are “cute and entertaining” but not what your audience needs right now.
I know there’s another, less manic, side to you since I’ve seen you in other roles (like when you were on Meet the Press). You, or your staff, are innovative and have improvised before. You created the current crazy format, you popularized the Lightning Round, you took your shtick to
Yes, “there’s always a bull market somewhere” and they’re relatively easy to find when, in fact, the market is in bull mode. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t play well in a world-wide bear market when about the only safe thing for the average investor to do is be in cash, in puts or short stocks and ETFs.
I know you’re constrained because of restrictions against promoting short selling but I trust your instincts and creativity. Adjust and change the format! If you don’t you’re putting whatever credibility you have left at risk (even more than it already has suffered by being a perennial stock “touter”). Trying to shift the blame on Bernacke is lame. As you well know, this correction probably would have taken place without a change in the Fed Guard and then everyone would have been blaming Greenspan either for not tightening fast enough in the face of a flood of too many dollars or of tightening too much in the face a softening economy.
If Cramerica is to survive through this bear market then you need to stop trying to be the comedian and, at least until we weather this bear market, be a stateman more like Rukheyser. The situation needs a steady hand and level head. And you’re not providing the sort of guidance investors need right now.
Draw on your years of experience and compare this market with past markets, its differences and similarities. You should now be helping investors know when we start approaching the bottom and what to do then. Shift your focus from pushing individual dogs (like RDA … I still can’t believe it!) to tools, techniques, processes. What’s wrong with speaking with some technicians, they picked this top long before you did and now have some ideas on where the bottom might be. You might even invite some differing opinions. Or are you afraid that if you expand your viewers’ minds they’ll stop following you like sheep to the slaughterhouse.