With much pomp and circumstance, Jon Stewart recently ended his run as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Across the media spectrum – from TV, to Internet to traditional print, pundits and media observers said their farewells while praising Stewart’ s comedic genius. And make no mistake, Stewart is a genius…but he shouldn’t be praised for the work that he’s done over the last 16 years.
Stewart often pretended to be a comedian simply trying to make a living – but the truth is, behind that clown nose was a man who was attempting to shape society to look the way he believes it should. In recent days we’ve learned that he was simply a mouthpiece of the Obama administration over the last 7 years. With that revelation should come deeper questions about the morality of his efforts to discredit conservatives while pretending to simply be doing “comedy.”
If you can remember back far enough, Stewart first became notorious in political circles for his explosive appearance on CNN’s Crossfire where he chose to excoriate both Paul Begala (the show’s liberal) and Tucker Carlson (the show’s conservative).
He parlayed this shtick where he pretended to be against political polarization into a popular and profitable faux-politics show on Comedy Central. Here’s the problem – Stewart wasn’t a force for “depolarization” but instead he has been a most effective catalyst pushing our culture, our nation and our government further left. Stewart was a tool of the liberal agenda and his viewers were the patsies who were being led by the nose into a cultural cesspool while believing they were simply being entertained.
Both TIME Magazine online and the New York Times posted excellent pieces over the weekend, explaining further just how detrimental Jon Stewart has been for America.
As Jon Stewart wraps up 16 years of hosting The Daily Show Thursday night, one thing is certain: We’re all dumber for his tenure.
Under Stewart, The Daily Show became must-see TV for a segment of the population who considers the mocking of political opponents and their positions to be appropriate discourse, and worse—an acceptable method of news-intake. A 2014 Brookings Institution study found that more people trusted The Daily Show than MSNBC for news…
Like a musician lecturing into a microphone onstage, Stewart only permitted one-way mockery. When anyone questioned his opinions and methods, he would say his show was just comedy. In 2013 when it seemed that Stewart was mocking the Obamacare rollout a little too often, he got pushback from his liberal followers. Stewart was quick to point out it was just equal-opportunity joking, and he wasn’t taking a position. He, of course, did not offer similar explanations when hammering President George W. Bush’s policies.
His prodigious talents — he was smart and funny, and even more of both when he was mad — perfectly positioned him to purge a particular smugness from our discourse. Instead, he embodied it. I loved watching him, and hated it too.
Many liberals, but not conservatives, believe there is an important asymmetry in American politics. These liberals believe that people on opposite sides of the ideological spectrum are fundamentally different. Specifically, they believe that liberals are much more open to change than conservatives, more tolerant of differences, more motivated by the public good and, maybe most of all, smarter and better informed.
The evidence for these beliefs is not good. Liberals turn out to be just as prone to their own forms of intolerance, ignorance and bias. But the beliefs are comforting to many. They give their bearers a sense of intellectual and even moral superiority. And they affect behavior. They inform thecondescension and self-righteousness with which liberals often treat conservatives…
He trained his liberal-leaning audience to mock hypocrisy, incoherence and stupidity, and could have nudged them to see the planks in their own eyes, too. Instead, he cultivated their intellectual smugness by personifying it…
His claims to be objective fell flat. For instance, Mr. Stewart denied being in President Obama’s corner by re-airing a clip in which he had made fun of the Obamacare website’s rollout, as if that was the same as questioning Obamacare itself. That was par for Mr. Stewart’s course, mocking liberals’ tactics and implementation but not their underlying assumptions or ideas.
He could have made the liberals in his audience more open to dialogue across the great left/right divide by asking them to examine themselves more carefully and to admit that both ideological camps contain fools. Instead, he was a cultural entrepreneur who provided those viewers with the validation they wanted.
Our nation is better off with Stewart off the air, and that’s no joke.