The truth, however, is that it really is time for Mr. Stewart to go. During his 16-year stint at The Daily Show, he morphed from an earnest but impartial comedian railing against the polarization and phoniness of American politics and cable news into a funnyman-activist who skewered only one-half of the political spectrum. He became what he once denounced.
He could still be incisive and funny. But his rants became increasingly self-righteous and contemptuous toward anyone who didn’t share his elite liberal world view. His true test came after Republican president George W. Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney left the White House. Both deserved most of the treatment they got on The Daily Show. But when it came to Mr. Obama and the Democrats, Mr. Stewart pulled his punches and, hence, failed his viewers.
When Politico revealed last week that Mr. Stewart twice met with Mr. Obama at the White House, in 2011 and 2014, Mr. Stewart defensively tried to make light of it. “Was the President of the United States trying to influence me? My guess is uh-huh. Did it work? Might have. Was it sinister? I don’t [expletive] know.” Mr. Stewart insisted the meetings weren’t secret, though he never informed his viewers about them until after the Politico report appeared.