Voice of Cramerica

Barron's Misses Cramer's Big-Picture Calls


In my mind, the craziest thing about the latest attempt by Barron's to measure the performance of stocks that Jim recommends on the show, is how it completely misses the forest for the trees.

If you were to read this article, you would think that the "Rant Heard Round the World," when Jim correctly predicted the coming financial apocalypse on "Street Signs" in the summer of 2007, or, let's call it "The Son of the Rant," when Jim went on the Today show on Oct. 6 and told people to sell right before the worst week in the history of the market, matter less than his response to any given question a caller asks about, say, Exxon Mobil or Bed, Bath & Beyond in the .

That just seems crazy to me. To us, the macro advice is far more important and significant than any individual stock picks. That's why we spend so much time talking about the big picture, rather than simply recommending stocks all the time, which is what you'd think the entire purpose of the show was if you'd only read the Barron's article. Maybe Bill Alpert, who wrote the Barron's article, honestly disagrees with us. Maybe.

We think we're obviously right. But just in case people want to look at things the way Alpert does, let's take a second to make a few things crystal clear. When Jim Cramer says take money off the table, especially on the Today show, that's huge. That's about as big a call as it gets, and it's one he both repeated on Mad Money, and also presaged on the show when he told investors to sell 20% of their portfolios two-and-a-half weeks before that appearance. So any time we talk about stocks in the following days or weeks or months, it has to be viewed in context. But nothing takes precedence over the massive, in front of millions of people, sell call.

It's funny, because Fox Business, which like Barron's belongs to News Corp, ran advertisements about Jim's sell call on the Today show, so it seems like they thought it was important. 

Look, the show goes on. Jim comes out every day and talks about stocks, even in a dreadful environment. That's why we spent so much time talking about the accidental high-yielders like, at times, Kimberly-Clark, U.S. Steel or PPG Industries, and told you to buy them as they went lower.  

Plus, our viewers still own stocks, and we'd be letting them down if we didn't keep discussing them. But our big-picture calls, which we repeat over and over again, are so much more significant than anything else we do. And look, to anyone who thinks we let them down by not being loud or repetitive or clear or crazy enough since 2007 that the market had gotten much more dangerous and that people need to protect themselves, we apologize.

If you think we were sending a mixed message, we're sorry. But I think our signal has been pretty loud and clear.

Cliff Mason is the Senior Writer of CNBC's Mad Money w/Jim Cramer, and has been that program's primary writer, in cooperation with and under the supervision of Jim Cramer, since he began at CNBC as an intern during the summer of 2005. Mason was the author of a column at TheStreet.com during 2007, which he describes as "hilarious, if short-lived." He graduated from Harvard College in 2007. It was at Harvard that Mason learned to multi-task, mastering the art of seeming to pay attention to professors while writing scripts for Mad Money. Mason has co-written two books with Jim Cramer: Jim Cramer's Mad Money: Watch TV, Get Richand Stay Mad For Life: Get Rich, Stay Rich (Make Your Kids Even Richer). He is 100% responsible for any parts of either book that you did not like. 

Mason has also had a fruitful relationship with Jim Cramer as his nephew for the last 23 years and will hopefully continue to hold that position for many more as long as he doesn't do anything to get himself kicked out of the family.

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