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7 Examples of Daily Show Cowardice: Why Does Jon Stewart Wimp Out So Often?

Stewart admits he's "the worst journalist in the world."

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3. The Wrong Cheney: When Stewart interviewed The Dick's wife,  Lynne Cheney in 2007, he sabotaged himself right off the bat.  "This is very uncomfortable," he bombed, "only because you know what? Here's the thing: You're not your husband, and it's not fair to challenge you on things that aren't you." Right, like Cheney's wife was on The Daily Show only to promote her sappy memoir Blue Skies, No Fences and not cheerlead her husband's corrupt administration, which she did as well. Stewart should have gone for broke after Cheney gave Stewart a Darth Vader doll at the interview's outset. 

2. The Drone Zone: The conscientious upstarts at  CodePink recently gave Stewart a vagina, and even dressed him in a pink T-shirt, for bringing more public scrutiny and satire to CIA directorate nominee John Brennan's unhealthy love of asymmetrical, inaccurate drone warfare. But Stewart faltered when he had a chance to dig deeper into privacy and sovereignty invasions and controversies with Melissa "Missy" Cummings, the MIT professor of aeronautics who was pimping PBS' Rise of the Drones, which received underwriting from Lockheed Martin and the Koch brothers.

"Is it  easier to lose sight of its killing power, given the distance that you have from it?” was the furthest he could stumble down Rise of the Drones' slippery slope, eliciting scorn from both progressives as well as conservatives at Stanford's millennial-minded  PolicyMic, which counts none other than Condi Rice as one of its " thought leaders." Stewart uncritically chilled as Cummings droned on about how drones are making war safer, despite the fact that they arguably kill as many if not more civilians than actual "militants," who themselves aren't even verifiable. Clusterfuck city.

1. Science For Dummies: What's great about Stewart is his ability to casually navigate the mediator's common ground. But he sometimes uses that middle way as an exit route from major stresses needing better analysis, which is why  Stewart's interview with theologian Marilynne Robinson caught recent flak. "I’ve always been fascinated that, the more you delve into science, the more it appears to rely on faith," he argued, although the opposite is true. Finding too much faith in science when he could have spotlit more science inspired particularly nerdy blowback from Discover, whose awesomely titled  "Jon Stewart Doesn't Understand How Science Works Even a Little Bit"  took him to task for mashing his antimatter and dark matter. It sounds like nitpicking, until you realize that astronomy explains how planets live and die, whereas we invented God to process the existential horror that beings on those planets live and die according to astronomical whim. No one's perfect, but arguing in our technocratic 21st century that science you can't see is just more faith-based invention is like pointlessly throwing sense and reason down a black hole. And we've already got Fox News for that.

 

Scott Thill runs the online mag Morphizm.com. His writing has appeared on Salon, XLR8R, All Music Guide, Wired and others.
 
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