I don't know about blame, but this probably didn't help

The Better Half and I get into what I suppose one could call "watching jags." For whatever reason, we will start watching some show or another, and will then watch pretty much only that show until we get bored and switch to something else. Right now, we're watching the entire run of "Angel" because someone loaned us the boxed set. (As far as brainless entertainments go, one could do worse.) For a while (and for reasons totally beyond all reason), we watched a lot of "Flip This House." (Apparently not to be confused with "Flip That House.")

"Flip This House" features various teams in various cities buying cheap, frequently distressed properties, gutting them and renovating them, and then selling them at substantial profits. (Generally in the tens of thousands, give or take.) I caught the tail end of one episode wherein the people doing the flipping got screwed by a "silent investor," but most of the time the episodes close with a focus on how much money was made. This, despite many episodes featuring flip teams composed of grasping meat-heads. If these cretins can do it, one thinks, making money this way can't be that hard. (Seriously, Armando is a one-man argument for Marxism.)

I lay all this before you by way of introducing Megan McArdle's take on who is to blame, from a televisual perspective, for Our Current Mess.
I've seen a number of people making some variant of the claim that Jon Stewart is the only one brave enough to stand up to the financial journalists who helped get us into this mess.

This is purest poppycock. Jim Cramer had no influence over the twin manias that afflicted America in the last ten years: the madness of homebuyers for ever more expensive houses, and the madness of bankers for buying bonds based on those homes. Jim Cramer did not persuade the Asian savers to pour moronic amounts of capital into oversaturated American markets. He did not talk up MBS or CDOs to any level that could be vaguely said to have meaningfully increased the amount of leverage in the system. If you want a television host, or network, to blame all of our troubles on, you'd do better to cast your ire on Home and Garden Television, and Flip This House. They're the ones who told Americans, over and over and over and over, that it was possible to get rich by installing granite countertops.
I don't really have a nickel in the "Stewart/Cramer" dime. I haven't watched the video, and I don't really care. But I remain very surprised that nobody (so far as I can tell) has really talked much about all of those shows that focus on the financial rewards of home improvement. There are a lot of them (primarily clustered on a few networks), though some are better than others. But it's amazing to me that they're still airing "Flip This House" while the real estate market is tanking, and despite (if one can believe Wikipedia) some ethical hiccups.

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