The Controversy of Jon Stewart: an Analysis of Jon Stewarts Use of Satire

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  • Topic: Jon Stewart, The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert
  • Pages : 3 (987 words )
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  • Published : February 13, 2011
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The Daily Show is a source of controversy when its affect on democracy is analyzed. Some critics, like Roderick P. Hart and E. Johanna Hartelius who wrote “The Political Sins of Jon Stewart”, believe that Jon Stewart and his use of cynicism are harmful to Democracy. Conversely, Robert Harriman who wrote “In Defense of Jon Stewart” concedes that Jon Stewart is a cynic “for [the purpose] of coming to the key point of judgment” (274) although he considers Jon Stewart a helpful defender of democracy rather than a harmful offender. Similarly, Lisa Colletta the author of “Political Satire and Postmodern Irony in the Age of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart” feels that satire, rather than cynicism, which she believes is the form of rhetoric that Jon Stewart uses, is beneficial to democracy. In all, through an analysis of Roderick P. Hart and E. Johanna Hartelius’ “The Political Sins of Jon Stewart”, Robert Harriman’s “In Defense of Jon Stewart”, and Lisa Colletta’s “Political Satire and Postmodern Irony in the Age of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart” I feel that Jon Stewart’s use of satire on The Daily Show is constructive for democracy.

The term satire suits Jon Stewart’s performance on The Daily Show more than cynicism. Hart and Hartelius who accuse Jon Stewarts act on The Daily Show as cynicism, which they define as something that “promotes only itself, summoning followers to abandon conventional society. . . . Cynicism rarely fosters change” (267). By this depiction, cynicism has no purpose but that of self-interest, and exists to spread negativity and inaction, which does not properly portray Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. Instead, satire provides a more exact description of The Daily Show because the term encompasses the critical viewpoints of the show and the purpose those critical viewpoints being to bring about change, or action.

Much of what makes Jon Stewart statements on The Daily Show satire rather than cynicism is due to the reaction of the audience and...
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