"Motorola (MOT) beats numbers by a penny."

Wrong!

This kind of headline is what makes me so furious about business journalism. This "beats numbers by a penny" is that kind of false tell that makes you no money and costs you a fortune.

Motorola's quarter simply wasn't so great. You know that only by listening to the conference call and going underneath the earnings numbers to figure out the strength and weaknesses of business. The stories in most media outlets are simplistic and unresponsive.

All day today I will get email saying, "Why did Motorola go down if they beat numbers by a penny? What is with this crazy market?"

To which I say: Look, Motorola had component problems, competitive problems and supply problems. It could get better down the road as

General Instrument's

(GIC)

business gets stronger. (It will, according to orders.) But the "penny better" means nothing, just nothing.

Estimates for the year were cut, not raised.

How do you think about these things? OK, let's say that this is football. This is

Florida State

clawing to a come-from-behind two-point win over

East Carolina

when it was favored by 47. FSU would drop in the ratings, not increase.

Nobody in Tallahassee would be cheering.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. 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 you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.