I am a firm believer that petitions don’t change much when it comes to politics and government (or having world leaders tried for war crimes), but sometimes they do have an effect on companies and their decisions, because corporations depend on supplying what their customers demand. Petitions can be a gauge of public sentiment, although they mean nothing if people don’t turn those feelings into action at the voting booth.
Now a petition has been launched to have comedian Jon Stewart moderate a 2016 presidential debate, an idea that I think is spectacular. Considering the shitshow that was the first Republican debate, putting Jon Stewart in charge of any of them seems like a damn good move, even if it’s just for the comedic potential alone.
Via The Hill:
“We ask that the Commission on Presidential Debates consider and provide the opportunity to Mr. Stewart to host one of the three major presidential debates directly preceding the 2016 election,” the petition says.
The request cites Stewart’s Peabody Awards for coverage of the 2000 and 2004 presidential races, as well as the comedian’s record of hosting important political figures on his television show.
“Mr. Stewart has interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the United States Cabinet, 32 members of the United States Senate, 7 members of the United States House of Representatives, and scores of other political leaders from this country and around the world while establishing himself as the most trusted person in (satirical) news,” the petition says.
“We believe he should continue this tradition as a moderator at one of the 2016 Presidential Debates,” the petition adds. (Source)
Can you imagine Jon Stewart moderating a debate, especially if it was one of the dumpster fires that is a debate involving the current Republican field? Granted, he is first and foremost a comic who launched his career doing stand up comedy in clubs in New York City. Even though he is a comedian, he is also a respected interviewer who has managed to combine biting satire and posing serious questions to world leaders.
Many conservatives hate Jon Stewart and his blistering takedowns of Fox News and the Republican Party, so they would likely recoil in horror at the idea of him moderating a debate. However, anyone who dares to ask their candidates tough questions is immediately an enemy, as we found out when their own beloved Megyn Kelly confronted Donald Trump and Marco Rubio during the last debate in Cleveland. Can you imagine Stewart forcing the GOP field to explain how their proposals on immigration, abortion and the economy would actually work instead of just repeating their talking points that are designed to gin up the base?
I’d also look forward to him demanding answers from Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton or the other Democratic primary contenders – because forcing them to address the issues and give specifics as to how their proposals would actually work makes for a better campaign message in the general election.
I miss Jon Stewart on The Daily Show already, and I hope that he returns to television, perhaps as a news anchor or debate moderator very soon. In the current world of hyperbolic news media which resembles TMZ and their celebrity gossip reporting more than Walter Cronkite or Tim Russert, Stewart provided a humorous way of tackling the news that helped my generation and millennials make sense of partisan politics and media.
I’m not going to suggest that you sign the Change.org petition and give them your personal information, but you could email the Commission on Presidential Debates and let them know you’d love to see Stewart moderate one of the three major presidential debates.
Jon Stewart is certainly more fair and balanced than Fox News could ever hope to be, and I’m fully on board with him moderating any presidential debate, whether it be during primary season or one of the three major presidential debates before the election.
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