If you’re like me and make an extra effort to watch Jon Stewart’s fine episode last week on Comedy Central and if like me, you were bored and deeply disappointed; it helps to read Jon Stewart, Patron Saint of Liberal Smugness, Gerard Alexander’s opinion in the New York Times. The point made is that while we like to think of John Stewart is an active change agent the fact is he is nothing more than a comedian doing a comedy show on a comedy channel.
It’s true; he was never restricted by false ethics or standards of balance. He used an honestly critical brand of reporting that doesn’t exist anywhere on television. He was never stymied by the anarchy of the far right. He very effectively highlighted the hypocrisy and growing superficiality of journalism and reinforced the growing sense that media more often than not gets distracted by its own short sightedness.
But at the end, Stewart’s pointedly funny satire was simply preaching to the choir and doesn’t do a blessed thing to alter the changes that need to occur in news reporting. Disappointing.