Difference between Rush and Jon
To get the background on why Cramer was on the TDS, go to the NYT. It's not a complete background, but it will give you an idea.
The interview was the entire show, and it was amazing. Stewart more or less schooled Cramer on a couple of levels. One: admitting shorting stocks by manipulation of the markets is one thing, but to do it as "an entertainment" value is another. Second: CNBC should have known all along about the melt down. But instead, the network hides behind "being entertainment" when it can't explain why they didn't investigate some of these firms. CNBC is supposed to be a financial journalist program in which many investors or those who wanted to invest watched and took seriously. I agree with Taylor Marsh that Cramer knew to take it on the chin because of the Madoff scandal, and possibly to not give the story any longer legs.
Update: Here is the entirety of the show, courtesy of the fabulous Jed Lewison, Daily Kos TV and Hulu.com:
At DKTV, you will also see a Flashback moment in which Stewart was on "Crossfire" a few years and predicted the American people would not take the show seriously anymore with the constant bickering...or wouldn't find the show as entertaining either. A few months later, the show was canceled.
No doubt the Wingnuts will try to paint Stewart as "the face of the Democratic Party", just as Rush has been painted as the "leader of the Republican Party" by CPAC (and to a certain extent, the Progressives) . The latter is accurate because the GOP has been sent out to the wilderness in the last election. They are trying to regroup, which is normal, but the extremists of the right still haven't quite gotten the memo that moderates are needed back in the party to stabilize it. Thus, they let Rush spew venom such as "I hope Obama fails" and then goes on at CPAC that he is the only Republican who admits it, and those in Congress won't. Thus, with the microphone, Rush continues to spew venom, even though he is an entertainer. He believes he has power. I don't think he has power as much as influence, as evident by the ads that have been effective on his program. His listeners buy those products and services. That's why he commands a high salary.
But the difference between Stewart and Limbaugh is this: Stewart is an entertainer and his role is to make fun of the dumb things that either celebrities in the entertainment industry or politicians (especially those on the right aisle) do or say. Stewart also is some what of a journalist with his interviews as he does his homework whenever some one comes on the show to discuss a book s/he has written on a cultural issue. Stewart took the journalist chair and rather than preaching, he was teaching. I don't think Stewart wants CNBC to go away, nor the show Mad Money, but rather do due diligence, be more transparent for the investors, and quit trying to entertain them. (That will be hard though because access to CEOs is everything on that show and Cramer couldn't explain that very well. See Cenk Uygur's diary from Wed at DK) Moreover, Stewart knows his place though. It is not for power in the Democratic Party. He's not the least interested in being the face of the Democratic Party. And he won't consider himself a hero either, even if the Left would like to say he is.
Stewart knows who the leader of the Democratic Party is: Barack Obama. And yeah, he'll make fun of his administration too when merited.
Last night was a cultural moments, as Chris Bowers said at Open Left. To me, the TDS did more: it presented a teachable moment.
Another update: Apparently Robert Gibbs, press secretary for the White House, enjoyed the interview. You can see the clip at DKTV.