August 6, 2015 was the day my whole news routine changed. It has been three months since Jon Stewart’s last episode as host of the Daily Show (I promise to give Trevor Noah a chance) and I am still in the process of trying to navigate the tumultuous rollercoaster that is political news without his perspective. When I watched Stewart, the news I had learned about the day before from my formal, regular news sources such as the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Al Jazeera and CNN were given clarity. Comedy provided the lens through which I understood the subtleties of political news and the press. After all, without a daily dose of satire how can we double-check the journalist, who are watching the government, who are also spying on the journalists?
Political comedians such as Stewart, Colbert, and Oliver want the media and politicians to act responsibly, but they also need their audience to be accountable for the information they receive. Journalism takes on a different role in their perspective and enlightened me, as a member of the informed audience, to never take mass media for granted, always question, and begin revolutions whether they be personal, cultural, social, or political.
My news sources and reliance on political comedy for information reflect my personal viewpoints and inherent liberal biases, of which I am proud. However, pride comes before the fall and with Stewart out of my news routine I have been forced, and probably rightfully so, to analyze media and politics with more scrutiny.
Political comedy is now a part of my weekly rather than daily news routine with Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Instead of listening to the Daily Show while doing the dishes I listen to BBC and NPR radio and read the NY Times after my morning classes. The best journalists and political comedians are those who recognize corruption and question legitimacy. Stewart had access to the same political news resources we use. So, like Stewart taught us, be engaged with news media, act as your own political comedian.