Jon Stewart: The Messiah of Political Satire



I originally wrote this article for PolicyMic, but slightly altered it from its original version. You can find the original published PolicyMic version here. In addition, after I published this on PolicyMic, the OU Daily also ran this article as an opinion column as well as a College News Aggregator UWire [Link Here].

President Obama on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on October 27th 2010

As a forethought, Yes, I am fully aware that I'm playing into the stereotype of the liberal-minded college student by saying this. Just like President Obama, I think Jon Stewart is brilliant.

In Barack Obama's recent Rolling Stone interview, the President said:
"I think Jon Stewart's brilliant. It's amazing to me the degree to which he's able to cut through a bunch of the nonsense – for young people in particular, where I think he ends up having more credibility than a lot of more conventional news programs do."
I certainly could not agree more. Jon Stewart's comedic genius has impacted me as a person on such a level that is only eclipsed by the late Christopher Hitchens

The earliest recollection I have of in regards to Jon Stewart is centered around 9/11. Much like everyone else, I remember the images of the planes smashing into the towers, the horrendous fires, and their eventual collapse. However, I also recall the moving and emotional introduction Jon Stewart gave on his first Daily Show after the attacks:


It was this episode with which I am able to pin down the point of genesis for my affinity of Stewart. Since then, I've been drawn in by his whirlwind of comedic political satire, confronting the likes of Tucker Carlson on Crossfire, inviting Jim Cramer as a guest, and countless other public figures. Furthermore, quite a few comedic powerhouses got their start at The Daily Show as well, including: Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Ed Helms.

The comedic credentials of The Daily Show go without saying. But, in conjunction with this visceral and upfront humor, true moments of journalistic genius have emerged. Looking back on the countless logged episodes on TheDailyShow.com, this claim is easily verified.

Jon Stewart has quite often made remarks to the effect that if it weren't for FOX News, he would easily lose more than half of the potential material for his show. Now I think it is quite obvious that I do not claim to be 'Fair and Balanced' but I can admit, objectively speaking, accomplishing that is impossible. However, for the company that does claim that, Jon Stewart has lead the charge against FOX News, 'the most powerful name in news.' By using the same exact tactics FOX News uses in their 'reporting/commentary,' Stewart demonstrates two salient points:

1) FOX News' hypocrisy in attempting to tie "Ground Zero Mosque" leader Imam Feisal Rauf to terrorism. In this clip, Stewart reveals how FOX News would be considered a terrorist command center, when the same flawed logic is applied. In a quite poetic juxtaposition, Stewart uses a clip of a Charlton Heston NRA speech to solidify his point.


2) News Corp's [FOX News' parent company] second largest shareholder outside of the Murdoch family is Al-Waleed bin Talal,  the very same shadowy figure that FOX News launched a [hypocritical] scare tactics campaign against, also regarding the "Ground Zero Mosque."


To accentuate this point, here is one of my all-time favorite Daily Show pieces: 'Persians of Interest.' This entire series dubbed 'Jason Jones: Behind the Veil' demonstrates how they can accomplish extraordinary feats of journalism without having to use CNN or FOX News as their punching bag. The Daily Show set the gold standard in its coverage of the Iranian Green Revolution, which is an achievement to be heralded. Again, this is one of many examples where the Daily Show surpassed other news outlets in regards to critical world events.

Whether you lean to the right, the left, or forward, it is impossible to deny Jon Stewart's tremendous influence with Millennials. The Daily Show program is billed as a satirical comedy news show, but is certainly steeped in real world implications. From classic hits like 'Indecision' election coverage to 'Mess O'Potamia' Iraq war coverage, the Daily Show has remained consistently a cut above the rest. Whether a viewer is a hardcore fan like myself or a casual observer like President Obama, the gravitas of the Daily Show is easily perceivable. 

[Watching a Daily Show clip in one of my classes at OU.]
On a more official note, here are the list of awards the Daily Show has won:, according to Wikipedia: "Under host Jon Stewart, The Daily Show has risen to critical acclaim. It has received two Peabody Awards, for its coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Between 2001 and 2011, it has been awarded sixteen Emmy Awards in the categories of Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program, and a further seven nominations. The show has also been honored by GLAAD, the Television Critics Association and the Satellite Awards. America (The Book), the 2004 bestseller written by Stewart and the writing staff of The Daily Show, was recognized by Publishers Weekly as its "Book of the Year", and its abridged audiobook edition received the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. In September 2010 Time magazine selected the series as one of "The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME"." 

So here's to hoping Jon Stewart extends his contract past the current 2013 agreement!

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