Paul Mc Cabe, Features Editor
These past few weeks have marked a great loss for left wing America as Jon Stewart’s sixteen year tenancy on the Daily Show has finally come to an end. On 6th August Comedy Central bid farewell to their leading bastion of liberal sensibilities and satirical wit.
Since 1999, Stewart, in his term on the Daily Show, has provided America and the rest of the world with a comedic, yet earnest and often hard hitting dissection of the American political system and of right wing media outlets.
Stewart, along with the Colbert Report’s Stephen Colbert, have long been responsible for providing a foil to more conservative media groups. In his opposition to Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, through the veil of comedy has critiqued many of the regimes of American media and politics.
The winner of nineteen Emmys, credited as both writer and producer on the show, Stewart has been involved in undermining the far right of America on a mass of issues, from President Bush’s war in Iraq to the 2015 Charleston shootings. His provision of a left leaning satirical examination of the country has often put him at odds with the Republican factions of America, and indeed with their media groups. In particular, Fox News and its various hosts, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Chris Wallace, have often been on the receiving end of Steward’s comedic jabs. Stewart’s ‘funny man’ persona has increasingly given him a great weight within the political sphere, and he has been responsible for reshaping political news reporting.
His 2004 appearance on CNN’s Crossfire was actually responsible for the show’s cancellation, calling the two hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, “partisan hacks” and accusing the show of, “hurting America”.
Critics of Stewart cite his position as a comedian, a thin mask for his own left wing political agenda, and hold that he maintains a double standard of criticising ‘actual’ news programs from the safety of his satirical high horse, in particular those news groups of a Republican nature. However, Stewart would be the first to say that his show and his comments hold no political bias and he critiques both Democrats and Republicans alike, it just so happens that he finds more to poke fun of on the Republican side of the scale.
In a recent show he stated that in his time on the Daily Show he gave President Barrack Obama a harsher critique than Fox News ever did of George W. Bush during his tenure. Often he has associated his own politics with those of neither major party, instead preferring to label himself as an independent or socialist, further removing himself from any allegations of partisan favouring.
With the curtain finally drawn on Stewart’s time and Trevor Noah set to take over the Daily Show, America finds one of its greatest political voices unusually quiet for a time. Regardless of your own political views it is impossible to say that Steward and his comedy have not changed the face of the American system and brought political satire to the masses. Whether or not Stewart returns to the platform of political media, we will all miss the cynical giggle he brought to American politics.