I am fully aware that I'm playing into the stereotype of the liberal-minded college student by saying this, but just like President Obama, I think Jon Stewart is brilliant.
In a Barack Obama's 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 could not agree more. Jon Stewart's comedic genius has impacted me as a person on a level that is only eclipsed by the late Christopher Hitchens.
The earliest recollection I have of The Daily Show is centered around 9/11. Much like everyone else, I remember that dayfor 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 that I developed such an affinity for 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.
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. Jon Stewart has led 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 would be considered a terrorist command center, using its flawed logic. Quite poetically, he 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."
Stewart has been accused of demonstrating a double standard in his methods, attacking FOX News and CNN for shoddy journalism practices, while claiming himself to be a comedian first. While this critique is partly true, the fact that Jon Stewart is first and foremost a comedian should not overshadow this man's insightful, enlightening, and brilliant work.
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.
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 program remains consistently a cut above the rest.
So here's to hoping Jon Stewart extends his contract past the current 2013 agreement!
[Watching a Daily Show clip in on of my classes at OU.]