Bill Carter: How Jon Stewart Changed Media (and Made Megyn Kelly Cry)

31 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amy Schumer, Louis C.K. and Denis Leary Will Be Jon Stewart’s Final ‘Daily Show’ Guests.

Before wrapping up his second-to-last-ever week as host of “The Daily Show” Thursday night, Jon Stewart confirmed his guest interviews for his final slate of episodes.

NEW YORK (AP) — After more than 16 years and nearly 2,600 telecasts, Jon Stewart can feel proud of his scads of Emmys and his pair of Peabody Awards, his cultural gravitas (he hung with the Prez, both on and off the air!), even his reprobate status at Fox News. Fellow comedians Louis C.K., Denis Leary and Amy Schumer will sit opposite Stewart in the lead up to his finale next Thursday, the Washington Post reports. You can’t say that about many performers, especially comedians working on a basic-cable channel that rarely drew more than a million viewers for any of its shows before him. As Stewart revealed earlier this week during a “forced” Twitter Q&A, Leary and C.K. are his pals and are considered some of his favorite guests: “My favorite guests are my friends: Leary, Louis C.K., Colin Quinn.

He took over the fake anchor desk at Comedy Central in 1999 at a time when social scientists regularly lamented the political apathy of young adults, and he made politics cool for millennials. I get to not work, f—k around with them for five minutes.” “We’re gonna have a ball, and I can’t wait to show my appreciation at all the support and enthusiasm that you guys have given this show all these years, so thank you all so much,” Stewart said at the end of the episode. “Next week, tune in, it’s gonna be a ball.”

Multiple “Daily” alumni have gone on to host or star in their own programs, including Stephen Colbert, who hosted the Comedy Central program “The Colbert Report” and is now set to take over for David Letterman on CBS’s “Late Show,” and John Oliver, who currently hosts HBO’s program “Last Week Tonight.” Stewart took a break from “Daily” before – during the summer of 2013, Mr. By the time of Barack Obama’s run for the White House in 2008, young adults had became a major electoral force thanks in part to “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” That’s an impressive legacy as Stewart signs off Thursday amid legitimate concern over the state of political satire on TV with Stephen Colbert having decamped from Comedy Central for a more entertainment-oriented perch as David Letterman’s replacement on CBS come September. But that’s what I like about ‘The Daily Show’: It’s like checks and balances.” Always questioning authority — whether politicians, corporate titans, media barons or, of course, puffed-up journalists — Stewart did what satirists have done for centuries: He seized on the absurdity embedded in accepted truth. Oliver served as host for the program while Stewart was directing the film “Rosewater,” which was based on the true story of journalist Maziar Bahari and his time being imprisoned in Iran.

But it wasn’t just an awareness of current events and politics, or even a prod to engagement in the political process, that Stewart offered his young fans. The show will last 50 minutes to squeeze in extra goodbye time, and Comedy Central will run a best-of marathon leading up to Stewart’s last episode on Thursday. Looks like there will be some of Stewart’s more famous episodes and guests, from Steve Carell; Malala Yousafazai; Bill O’Reilly; Donald Rumsfeld; and Jim Cramer.

In 2010, he and fellow Comedy Central fake-news host Stephen Colbert even organized a rollicking “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear” that drew tens of thousands to Washington’s National Mall. Those who checked out Noah’s Twitter account after he was announced as the next host found some old tweets that some called anti-Semitic, sexist, and racist. Americans, said Stewart in one of the telecast’s more serious moments, do “impossible things every day that are only made possible through the little, reasonable compromises we all make.” But reasonable compromises are what elected officials are loath to make in the present day; what news media dismiss in favor of spotlighting the more watchable bad behavior and conflict. “Wouldn’t it be nice if people who jumped to conclusions and peddled a false, divisive, anger-stoking narrative had to apologize for misleading America?” mused Stewart last March in reference to a certain cable-news network. Noah himself recently discussed the controversy at a Television Critics Association summer event. “I don’t strive to be offensive,” he said. “But you can never control what people find is offensive or not. In 2004, I was one of his biggest cheerleaders when he went after CNN’s “Crossfire,” a half-hour cable TV program built on partisan battle between a conservative and a liberal, and blew it up by telling the hosts, former Bill Clinton aide Paul Begala and conservative columnist Tucker Carlson, that they were “political hacks” and urged them to “stop hurting America” with their rancorous, show-biz shout-downs.

On Aug. 6, Stewart, now 52, will step aside, making way for Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old stand-up comic from South Africa, to manage this nightly reality check as the nation dives headlong into the 2016 presidential election cycle. His appearance came in October just before the presidential election, and in January, when a new chief, Jonathan Klein, took over CNN, he canceled the show, citing Stewart’s critique. And, after all, how much crazy can one man comb through night after night, searching for laughs, and retain his own sanity? “I honestly have nothing, other than sadness,” he said before sadly predicting that, even now, after yet another American atrocity, “we still won’t do jack—-” to join together for a solution.

If that’s the case, his fans can thank Stewart for his abiding and soon-to-be-missed role in bringing us the crazy with insight, clarity and, of course, loads of laughs. The appearance came at a crucial time, right after the second debate with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who had rocked a somnambulant-looking Obama in their opening face-off. Typical of the kinds of questions Stewart asked the president: “Would you say you have a stronger affirmative case for a second Obama presidency, or a stronger negative case against a Romney presidency?” Here’s a comedian who is more trusted by some young voters than many TV journalists.

Right after a soft opening question, he gave Obama an open field to explain away his performance in the first debate and celebrate his victory in the second. When Stewart asked Obama what advice he would “bequeath to future President Trump,” the president laughingly said, “I am sure the Republicans are enjoying Mr. More recently, there was Stewart’s misdirection in belatedly dealing with the lies of another friend, Brian Williams, who was removed as anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News.” Stewart’s tactic here was to rip the press for allegedly being more tenacious in covering the Williams scandal than it was in covering the Bush administration’s manipulation of public opinion during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. That’s a regular dance he does when a story is too big to ignore, but he doesn’t want to attack the wrongdoer: He criticizes the media, particularly cable TV, for the way it covered the story.

Stewart’s other dodge when he’s called out on a misleading claim or attack, is to say, “Hey, I’m just a comedian.” Real journalists don’t have the luxury of ducking accountability that way. As many times as I have criticized Stewart in recent years, this farewell piece would be far more positive if not for the report from Politico last week that Stewart had met privately with Obama on two occasions in 2011 and 2014. They relied on him for an honest take on the news, and the president and senior staff know that.” Vega told the Times that it was “often remarked in senior staff meetings that he [Stewart] was the Walter Cronkite for the millennial generation.

Had he been more even-handed in his takedowns and transparent in his relationship with the political figures he regularly critiqued, most critics would now be judging him strictly in cultural terms rather than partisan ones populating the Internet this week.

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