By Kelsea Graham
Yesterday, The Daily Show host Jon Stewart announced that, after 17 years, he is leaving the show. The exact date is unknown, but is expected to be between September and December. Comedy Central featured Stewart’s announcement on their Youtube Channel:
Stewart is not the only political satirist with avid followers and fans. Steven Colbert, John Oliver, and website the Onion are a few others. So, why is political satire so popular?
According to TechDirt both Stewart and Oliver have denied being journalists. For not being a journalist Stewart is more trusted by viewers than most news anchors. The New York Times even says Stewart is as trusted as Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite.
By mocking the news and providing thorough and insightful opinons, political satirists are doing a better job of delivering the news. They are delivering truth to the public: a responsibility for journalists. Except people like Stewart are doing a much better job. Take John Oliver’s segment on Net Neutrality:
Oliver sums up Net Neutrality in a humorous way that just makes sense to some viewers. News sources have covered Net Neutrality. Or, they’ve at least thrown the word around. That’s just not enough to form a valid opinion. Consumers need to comprehend what is happening in the world; Not just know.
Stewart has an undeniably loyal fan base. Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of shares lamenting Stewart’s announcement. He assured viewers that Comedy Central will replace him with someone worthy and responsible, but it makes me wonder how long it will take viewers to trust this replacement.
What can news anchors do to gain viewer trust? Maybe have more comprehensive or thorough coverage. How do others feel about political satire vs. news reporting? Maybe some viewers don’t take life seriously enough to get their news from Fox or CNN. Or maybe they just have a great sense of humor.
Either way, Jon Stewart remains the face of political satire and his wit will certainly be missed.