The Daily Show's Transcendent Impact On 21st Century News
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Politics and Activism

The Daily Show's Transcendent Impact On 21st Century News

The Daily Show's Transcendent Impact On 21st Century News
The Daily Show

Last Thursday, Jon Stewart aired his last show. The #JonVoyage finale was the second most-watched episode of his 16-year tenure of The Daily Show, jam-packed with guest appearances from former correspondents—including a number of heavyweight household names, such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Kristen Schaal, Samantha Bee, Larry Wilmore, Ed Helms, Jessica Williams, Lewis Black, Steve Carrell, Wyatt Cenac, Olivia Munn and heir-apparent to the Daily Show desk, the up-and-coming Trevor Noah—all of whom pitched in for one rousing final hurrah for the man who revolutionized the way that the 21st century consumes the news.

Under Jon Stewart, The Daily Show popularized the use of political satire in the modern media landscape. Appealing to predominantly young, liberal audiences, Stewart’s show reached a demographic that has historically proven to be apathetic to political and current event news. Even more notable is the fact that Stewart’s show and larger-than-life persona transcended mere entertainment: he created a domino-chain effect of change in the world outside of the television screen, whether it be by changing the media landscape itself (see: his 2004 appearance on CNN’s soon thereafter canceled Crossfire, where he wholly eviscerated the media pundits who attempted to get a money-making rise out of him) or by directly impacting the national political atmosphere (see: his reaction to the filibuster of a 2010 measure to provide medical funding for Ground Zero responders—three days after the episode’s airdate, the bill passed).

Stewart is similarly responsible for the rise of novel, smart, talented comedians, a sizable number of which have also found their respective footing in the world of political satire. Personalities such as Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, and Larry Wilmore have been circulating content similar to The Daily Show’s for years now, all while retaining individual voices and perspectives. They’ve been appealing to a core demographic of “young with short attention spans” with that sharp, fast-paced style that Stewart patented throughout his time on regular cable television.

Because of 1) the near-universal success of this model and 2) the increasing ease with which this content can be proliferated on so many mediums, more and more of these increasingly influential “liberal pundits” are making their own mark on the news and on the way the world perceives it. Seeing as it goes against everything that the news has traditionally stood for—and seeing as how it’s simultaneously begun to take the place of said news media—The Daily Show’s style of political satire is nothing less than a fascinating chapter in the evolution of modern communication. As Jon Stewart has wound up becoming the face of this media transition, it is no wonder that the Internet has been going haywire ever since he announced his retirement. Our media landscape, both before and after his tenure, is literally like nothing else we’ve seen or interacted with. And for that, he deserves every single standing ovation he’s received at the end of his shows in the last sixteen years, right down to the very end.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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