Does anybody actually watch the news anymore? With Rogers and Shaw losing a combined 200,000 cable subscribers in the last year to online outlets like Netflix and Hulu, not to mention the rise of web-based journalism such as yours truly, it’s hard to imagine many non-Baby Boomers still tuning in at 6pm. And no, streaming The Newsoom does not count – despite how much we all love Olivia Munn.
That said, whenever I’m in the mood to catch up on the current events of the day, I often turn to Comedy Central. Yes, Comedy Central. Like most millenials, I only find my media palatable after it has been infused with pop culture and biting sarcasm. Call it bitterness, cynicism, or ADHD if you will, but however you want to dress it up, I blame it on the aforementioned Baby Boomers. Cause ya know, that’s what we lazy, jobless millenials do and all.
Moving along, the Comedy Central program of which I am speaking is of course The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. A cultural phenomenon, the series has risen from a satirical baseline to cutting-edge, fearless journalism that still manages to be fun, self-aware, and not take itself too seriously. Clearly this approach has paid off as a Time magazine poll from a few years ago ranked Stewart as America’s most trusted news anchor. Furthermore, while he has been hosting the show for an astounding 15 years, ratings continue to climb and currently stand at about 2.5 million nightly viewers.
While Stewart claims the show is still satirical in nature and purpose, and is not meant to be a news source, his popularity and perceived liberal leanings have made him a target for other outlets including arch-nemesis Fox News. That said, he also has detractors on the left as well. A recent Salon piece laid heavily into his non-partisan fence-straddling, “It’s the shallowness of Stewart’s politics that leads to his other notable weakness as a political pundit (which, ‘just a comedian’ protestations aside, he clearly is); namely, his tendency to fall prey to the trap of blaming ‘both sides.’” Whether you prefer The Daily Show’s attempts at middle-of-the-road airs or would rather the thinly-veiled Republican propaganda known as Fox & Friends is up to you. What can be universally agreed upon is that Stewart is effectively delivering current events (albeit, tongue-in-cheek) meaningfully to a generation of young people and that is not easy.
In 2014, Stewart hosted guests ranging from Hilary Clinton to Angelina Julie to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He and his team of correspondents may poke fun at those who share the stage with them but they also manage to sneak in some of the tough questions – all within a 21-minute time slot. Let’s be real, who has time for a 24-hour news channel anymore?
While there was some rumour in 2014 that Stewart would be leaving The Daily Show to host Meet the Press, fans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that he declined the offer. Particularly in the wake of The Colbert Report coming to an end this past December, Stewart is now our sole source of comedic current events — intentionally excluding Bill Maher.
As a fun retrospective on the year, and a reminder of how great The Daily Show really is, we’ve collected 10 of our favourite Jon Stewart rants from 2014.
The NFL’s Poor Handling of the Ray Rice Controversy
Russia Annexing Ukraine
Fox News Being Terrible People About Ferguson Shootings
ISIS and Obama
Jon Stewart DESTROYS Dick Cheney Over Supporting Torture
North Korea Stops “The Interview” From Screening + Cuban-American Relations
Media Hype Over Ebola
Which monologues have ranked on your list of Best Jon Stewart Rants of 2014? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.