Declaring the last ten years the "Jon Stewart Decade," New York Magazine profiles the satirical cable-TV host in this week's cover story. The nearly 5,000-word article highlights Stewart's revulsion toward mainstream news and his relevance in the post-Bush years:
The Obama presidency was supposed to spell doom—or at least irrelevance—for Bush-satirizing comics like Stewart and his protégé Stephen Colbert. But a funny thing happened and is continuing to happen. Stewart is as essential as ever. Lately the show has been on a hot streak, exposing anti-mosque demagogues and carving up spineless Democrats. One of the lessons of the recent past is that the circus is in town no matter who is in the White House, which, while far from ideal for the state of our nation, has only increased the standing of a satirist like Stewart
Is Stewart's disgust for the mainstream media mutual? Not by a long shot. For the article, New York's Chris Smith interviews an array of media figures who not only convey admiration but envy as well.
He's Made Journalists Jealous of Him, notes Michael Calderone at Yahoo! News:
Stewart's displeasure with the media stems from his assumption that "there are bad actors in society" and politicians are likely to be "disingenuous." So it's reasonable, he argues, to expect their behavior to be ethically suspect at times. And that's why he reserves a particular venom for major media figures, who instead of calling out bad behavior will "create distraction that allows it to continue unabated."
However, some journalists and commentators — even those, perhaps, on the receiving end of Stewart's ire — respect the Comedy Central host's critique.
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams, a regular guest on the show, said that "Jon has chronicled the death of shame in politics and journalism."
"Many of us on this side of the journalism tracks often wish we were on Jon's side," Williams continued. "I envy his platform to shout from the mountaintop. He's a necessary branch of government."
- I'd Be Just Like Stewart, says constant Stewart punchbag Glenn Beck in the NY mag article:
Jon Stewart is very funny, and if I were in his position, I’d be doing a lot of the same things. In fact, a lot of the jokes I’ve heard before, either from my staff or myself. He takes things out of context (no worse than most of the other mainstream media) and is more interested in being funny than trying to actually understand the key messages in [my] show … But I don’t think he’s looking for a Pulitzer.
- Stewart Hasn't Changed One Bit, says actor/comedian Denis Leary quoted in the article: "Jon is exactly the same guy he’s always been, only with money. He knows that the moment he really believes he’s important, the funny goes away and he becomes Bill O’Reilly, except shorter and Jewish."
- Stewart's Media Diet Is Interesting, notes Steve Krakauer at Mediaite: "Smith also gives a look into Stewart’s print and online daily news consumption, which includes 'the New York dailies' but also 'Talking Points Memo, Andrew Sullivan, maybe the blogger Allahpundit,' of Hot Air (quite a shout-out!)."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.