Take Frank Rich and Jon Stewart. Both seize on the urban legend that I recommended Bear Stearns the week before it collapsed, even though I was saying that I thought it could be worthless as soon as the following week. I did tell an emailer that his deposit in his account at Bear Stearns was safe, but through a clever sound bite, Stewart, and subsequently Rich -- neither of whom have bothered to listen to the context of the pulled quote -- pass off the notion of account safety as an out-and-out buy recommendation. The absurdity astounds me. If you called Mad Money and asked me about Citigroup, I would tell you that the common stock might be worthless, but I would never tell you to pull your money out of the bank because I was worried about its solvency. Your money is safe in Citi as I said it was in Bear. The fact that I was right rankles me even more. I never said the same thing about Lehman, where your accounts weren't safe. I expect a skewering from the comedian Stewart. I was shocked, however, that the rigorous Rich wouldn't investigate further and relied on the show's truncation of the truth. After all, how many times were the pull quotes from reviews by Rich used against him when he may have been panning a play in his former role as entertainment critic?
Rich also chastises me for endorsing Wachovia's stock after then-CEO Bob Steel came on Mad Money and spoke positively about the bank. Was I taken in? Yes, and I made a mistake. I apologized both on Mad Money and on the Today Show for believing in Steel. But others say I have been too hard on myself given that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Steel's appearance on my show for truthfulness. I chalk it up to something different: Sometimes you just get had.