Jon Stewart Has Earned My Respect

I used to think that Jon Stewart was another garden variety left winger but lately, I’ve found him to be perhaps the most reasonable political commentator anywhere. Whether the issue is the controversial South Park episode featuring the prophet Mohammed, Obama’s about face on civil liberties now that he is president, or this most recent ground zero mosque controversy, Jon Stewart, a comedian is the voice of reason as many other pundits take one extreme view or the other.

In this Daily Show segment below entitled “Extremist Makeover – Homeland Edition” Stewart does something that I’ve seen very few pundits do publicly: admit he was wrong. In observing the overreactions of this mosque controversy in which many on the right want to deny freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and property rights to a religious minority out of fear, Stewart realizes that he too overreacted in the wake of the Columbine Massacre when he and others on the left condemned the NRA for going ahead with their scheduled convention in Denver (near ground zero for this tragedy). From there, Stewart plays excerpts from then NRA President Charlton Heston and admits that Heston was right and he was wrong.


If you replace ‘NRA’ with ‘Muslim community’ and ‘Second Amendment’ with ‘First Amendment’ he [Heston] is still right.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Extremist Makeover – Homeland Edition
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Jon Stewart has earned my respect for his intellectual honesty even as others (*cough* Wayne Allyn Root *cough*) have lost it.

  • Michael O. Powell

    Awesome post.

    And Jon Stewart really has been on fire lately. It was especially amazing when they had the extreme Christians and Muslims in agreement by saying “Sounds like Jon is on Team Gaylord.”

  • Marc

    Stewart’s point in my opinion–apples and oranges. Although I would have probably been in favor of not having the convention in Denver.
    What about Pyschologist conventions? Video Game/Gamers convention? An AOL convention? Would you or Jon Stewart oppose those as well?

  • Brian Lee

    This blog post was interesting for me to read, because, after viewing this same episode I also reached the conclusion that John Stewart has emerged as the leading rational mind of American politics. I think, perhaps, that the show’s format has as much to do Stewart’s validity as Stewart himself. The American political spectrum has reached such hyperbolic proportions, it can no longer be dissected by rational dialogue. The Daily Show’s platform of satire allows Stewart to expose the extreme hypocrisies of American politics without having a serious persona to be discredited–he can to expose without fear of callus repercussion. His reputation of being not simply a comic, but one of the few independent minds with a national platform. He just needs to get rid of those stupid, sticky contributors, but, perhaps that what allows his message to come through. Its funny, but, there are serious implications here with have yet to be fleshed out.

  • Marc

    Independent? Jon Stewart? Independent? Jon stewart? really? Independent?

  • Michael O. Powell

    Yes, Marc. Stewart has been skewering Obama, the mosque mob and praising Charlton Heston. If that doesn’t sound like the acts of an independent, we may need a new definition for that word.

  • ricketson

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Michael and Marc: Independent, opportunist, what’s the difference? I think that Stewart will go after any target that he can hit.

    Of course, there’s a big difference between the pressure faced by the NRA and that faced by the mosque builders: the NRA is a powerful political force. All of the calls for the NRA to be sensitive were blatant political posturing and an attempt to diminish their influence. In contrast, Muslims (and the mosque organizers) are not a powerful political force–they’re just scapegoats.

  • Michael O. Powell

    Well said, Brian.

  • Michael O. Powell

    “Muslims (and the mosque organizers) are not a powerful political force.”

    That depends on what rubric you are using.

  • Propopius

    I could see how, legitimately, Stewart is a blip in the “independent mindset” discussion, but really that speaks very poorly for the mainstream/cable media more than it could ever possibly speak for Stewart.