In the last 16 years, Jon Stewart has grown from simply political satirist to a full-fledged liberal icon leading the crusade against right-wing hypocrisy and the media’s double standards. Stewart, as host of "The Daily Show", became the American youth’s most trusted newsman, and rightfully so for his powerful monologues and mic-dropping takedowns. But it wasn’t just Stewart’s comedy and quick jabs that pushed him to the top as the number one source of news for young people, but rather his poignant honesty is what captured our attention. Frankly, Stewart told the truth. He got real.
In honor of Stewart signing off on Thursday night, we wish him #JonVoyage with these "Daily Show" clips that illustrate the comedian doing what placed him high up on our political radar initially: delivering conscious, spot-on commentary on our generation’s most pressing issues.
1- Charleston shooting
In an incredibly stone-faced yet moving monologue, Stewart hit the nail on the head in exposing America’s double standard in how we treat domestic terrorism versus our perceived outside threat of Islamic extremism. Stewart put the jokes aside to call out the media’s flat-out sidestep to call the Charleston shooting anything but a terrorist attack. He mocked the news’ downright naiveté in being somehow baffled by the attack, while also criticizing America’s response to the regular occurrence of racially-motivated violence that is killing Americans. How can we as a nation try so hard to fight off outside threats, going to such great lengths and ethical dilemmas as killing civilians with drones, all for the sake of protecting Americans, but shrug our shoulders complacently when the real threat of terrorism is in our own backyard?
2- Caitlyn Jenner
When Caitlyn Jenner came out to the world as a woman with the historic Vanity Fair cover, she swept the media off their feet. While the majority applauded her public transformation as brave and the positive, accepting reaction was truly an inspiring sign of the times ahead, Stewart was quick to call out that Jenner going from man to woman meant that people will judge her for her looks rather than her intellect.
Even off "The Daily Show", Stewart was still dedicated to exposing the hard truth and went on the political debate show "Crossfire" to confront the hosts for not being responsible journalists and informing the public but rather deceiving America by feeding into the narrative politicians and corporations want. This moment defined Stewart’s career and ended "Crossfire's" reign.
4- Hillary Clinton
When Hillary Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea Clinton, announced her pregnancy the media lit up with questions surrounding whether the fact that Hillary Clinton is going to be a grandma will affect her campaign. Stewart called out the clear sexism of the media’s firestorm when male politicians (and for that matter, any male public figure) are never asked questions or scrutinized about their personal lives on marriage and children.
5- Bill O’Reilly
And when he got Bill O’Reilly to admit there is such a thing as white privilege (well, almost).