How Jon Stewart went bad

If you didn’t actually see the show, you wouldn’t know any of this, since there is a virtual ban on critical stories about Jon Stewart in the press. Nobody in memory has received a longer free ride. (CNBC stands in such awe of Stewart, the network hasn’t even tried to defend itself, even against his claim that its programming might be criminal.)

The relationship between Stewart and the media is a marriage of the self-loathing and the self-loving: He insists their real news is fake, they insist his fake news is real. He doesn’t take them seriously at all. They take him way too seriously. But nobody takes anybody as seriously as Jon Stewart takes himself…

As Stewart becomes more self-righteous, he inevitably becomes less funny. Sanctimony is the death of humor, and also of innovation. Where a show like South Park challenges its audience’s every conceivable assumption, the Daily Show has become safer than Jay Leno, pandering night after night to the converted. Can you remember the last time Stewart said anything his viewers might disagree with?