The day many of us have been dreading for months has finally arrived as Friday, August 7th will be the first day in 16 years that “host of The Daily Show” will no longer reside next to Jon Stewart’s name. While I’m happy for Stewart, as I would be anyone who’s starting a new chapter in their life, I won’t lie and say I wish he wasn’t going. In many ways, he revolutionized how an entire generation of Americans got the news. Even though he only had a 30 minute show on Comedy Central, he became one of the most influential members of the media.
And if you doubt me, just look around. Who would have ever thought the departure of the host of a show on Comedy Central would bring about such national (and global) attention? While I’m sure he understands his place among news personalities, I’m not sure if he fully grasps just how important he’s been to so many.
But what Stewart became is what almost nobody in the conservative media will ever be – respected and admired. When Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly or Glenn Beck walk away – almost nobody is going to care. None of those people have ever really made any sort of an impact. Sure, they fear-mongered plenty and got people worked up – but any idiot can do that. Hell, me and my colleagues frequently joke that life would be so much easier if we were conservatives. Selling irrational fear and propaganda is one of the easiest things to do.
And while Stewart has plenty of critics on the right, a lot of that criticism has just been reactionary to a career he dedicated to calling out their bullshit. After all, the first rule in pushing propaganda is to attack those who seek to expose you. And exposing the utter ridiculousness that goes on over at Fox News is a good part of what Stewart did for 16 years.
Though it is a testament to Stewart’s greatness that he found unbelievable fame, respect, admiration and national prominence on a 30 minute show that airs at 11 pm EST on Comedy Central.
Stewart leaves behind a legacy that many within the conservative media could only dream of having. The Becks, Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world – they’re a dime a dozen. They’re fear-mongering blowhards lacking any real substance to anything they say.
So, to Jon Stewart, I simply say thank you. You revolutionized news for an entire generation of Americans. You endured watching more Fox News than any sane human should ever have to. You became one of the most recognized and impactful voices in all of media and you did so with a wit, charm and intellect that had never really been seen before. But it wasn’t just what you said, but how you said it. It was effective, impactful and often was what many within the “mainstream media” needed to say, but never would or could.
Stewart exits The Daily Show as one of the most revered members of the media. And make no mistake about it, while he’s a comedian first – Stewart is most definitely a legitimate, and highly effective, member of our news media.
So, as an homage to him being a huge fan of the WWE, I would like to wish Jon Stewart the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.
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