I come under the most scrutiny from Kurtz, who suggests throughout the book that what I do might be morally ambiguous at best, and, at worst, completely biased without any hope of making you money. That's just dead wrong, and I resent it. I disclose all of my positions and frequently excoriate those who don't. In Kurtz's eyes, it is better for a reporter to help a source pump-and-dump some crummy stock through an unattributed quote than it is for me to say why I like a stock and am buying it! One has the "impartial" journalist as intermediary, the other just has you and me.
Oddly, there was a time when the media were indeed in the pocket of the bad guys. For a while in the eighties, the Wall Street Journal's "Heard on the Street" column was sold in advance to a couple of brokers who were able to print money because they knew what tomorrow's paper would say. And CNBC used to allow Dan Dorfman to run a show each day where money managers would bag stocks, gun them through Dorfman, and then blow them out to the unsuspecting public.
But those days of real, undisclosed conflicts have long since passed. And in some cases, I was one of the commentators who helped expose them. Too bad Kurtz missed an opportunity to do the same for our time. That would have made for a terrific book.
Monday's new "10 Questions" feature will be a Q&A with Dave Santos, co-manager of the Putnam Technology fund. Don't miss this tech specialist's insights. Available for free at www.thestreet.com.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites comments at firstname.lastname@example.org