A Tribute to Moderation

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04: Jon Stewart hosts Comedy Central's "Indecision 2008: America's Choice" at Comedy Central Studios on November 4, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central) *** Local Caption *** Jon Stewart

About 9 years ago, my girlfriend at the time moved in with me, bringing with her approximately one million pairs of shoes, a cat named Catface, and a love of Jon Stewart.

The girlfriend, shoes, and that particular cat moved on a long time ago, but the last of those things–a love and admiration for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show–has stayed with me until…well, until a few minutes ago, when he signed off for the last time.

Despite the way The Daily Show brought the news to so many people, Stewart has always emphasized that it is a comedy show. And for that I’m extremely grateful. Over the last 9 years, I’ve laughed out loud thousands of times while making dinner, the show playing in the background.

But despite the laughs, I don’t think I would have stuck with the show for so long had it not been for the way Stewart approached the political side of his broadcast. You see, I’m not very political. I don’t enjoy most conversations about politics, I don’t like political labels, and I really don’t like how heated and crass people can be when politics are on the table.

So what I admire most about Jon Stewart and his approach to The Daily Show is moderation. His show didn’t favor Republicans or Democrats. It didn’t look at the world through the filter of one party or the other. The show was an exercise in moderation, allowing it to fight against the worst of each party and acknowledge the good in each. That should be a given for any news show, but instead it’s a rarity, and I’m glad there was a show to do it in an entertaining way.

The Daily Show isn’t going away, and I’ll give Trevor Noah a chance, but damn…I’m going to miss Jon Stewart.

8 thoughts on “A Tribute to Moderation”

  1. Hmm, I hate to tell you this but he is very much a Liberal. His show is one of the most watched by Dems and Progressives. Interesting how I am the first one here. Jon Stewart’s whole shtick is that he mocks the extreme right.

    • You’re correct, Jon Stewart is a liberal Democrat. However, despite that, Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is not a liberal Democrat show. Yes, he mocks the extreme right, but he also mocks the extreme left. He’s challenged presidents of both parties many, many times.

      It doesn’t matter who mostly watches his show. What matters is the content that’s actually on the show, and it’s something I’ve watched as a moderate for 9 years BECAUSE the show is a moderate show. That’s how impressive Jon Stewart is. He could have used the show as a platform for his personal political beliefs, but he took it to a much higher level by not doing so.

      • Well, we’re going to agree to disagree. It is a liberal show. He hardly recognizes people on the other side unless its election time. if you count the guests, you’ll see the disproportion. He’s only a step away from Bill Maher. I’ve seen the show since Craig Kilborn and the reason CC kept him on as any insider can tell you is precisely because of its slant. Trust me. It’s all liberal.

          • I think it takes a moderate to see what the show is. Obviously liberals are going to see the liberal stuff, which is your right to do. But as a moderate, I have the pleasure of seeing that Stewart skewers extremists from both parties. Unlike many shows, he didn’t have a party agenda to follow. Did he have more content from Republicans to make fun of? Absolutely. But he made fun of democrats, government as a whole, ignorance and extremism, and perhaps most markedly, both CNN and MSNBC. It’s not a slant. That’s the thing that made the show so good–it took a measured approach to finding humor in all sorts of extremism and complacency in government and beyond. As for his guests? I mean, half of them (at least) are entertainers. Their party affiliation didn’t matter at all for their interviews. Another 30% were nonfiction authors. Of the remaining 20%, sure, I’m guessing that more liberals agreed to be on the show, but not for lack of asking. I’m 100% sure that Stewart would have LOVED to have Donald Trump or George Bush on the show, among many other Republicans.

            I read an interview just the other day where Stewart and his producers specifically said something to the effect of, yeah, most of our audience are liberals, but it’s not a liberal show. Those are just the people who happen to watch it.


Leave a Reply

Discover more from jameystegmaier.com

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading