Jon Stewart’s brief absence may affect viewer awareness

Chasen Doerr

This summer, Jon Stewart will be taking an eight-week leave of absence from “The Daily Show” to work on a film based on a memoir. What will be interesting to see is the effect this will have on young people and how they consume their news.
For years, Stewart’s “The Daily Show” has served as the polar opposite of political television news pundits Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. The show has always been popular amongst many young people, who see the show as their only avenue of being informed of what’s going on in the world.

Stewart has always done a good job in pointing out the ridiculousness of our world but at the same time informing his viewers as well. While it is not the ideal way for people to get the news since “The Daily Show” is highly satirical and slanted like any other political talk show, Stewart has always been good at balancing his opinion while delivering the facts. In the busy lifestyle we live in, shows like “The Daily Show” do offer a service to the public. It spoon-feeds the news to its viewers in a funny and entertaining way. Stewart will be gone for only two months, but will his absence lead to lower viewership and inadvertently lower awareness amongst the younger generation of what’s going on?

Stewart’s replacement will be none other than the popular comedian and “The Daily Show” news correspondent John Oliver. Oliver, whose appearances on the show are often funny and informative, will be a good replacement while Stewart is away.
Oliver is a familiar face that will continue to draw committed viewers back to the show each night during Stewart’s absence. Also, Stewart’s tremendous writing staff, which has kept it one of the highly praised shows, will keep the natural ebb and flow of “The Daily Show” running at its peak. However, as we get further into Stewart’s absence, it will be tough to replace the natural presence and delivery that Stewart has honed during his years at the helm of the show. His contribution, both behind and in front of the camera, is what has kept viewers coming back for more all these years.

Stewart’s absence will inevitably lower ratings and possibly the public’s awareness of news events; however, the good thing is it will only be for a short amount of time. Once Stewart makes his triumphant return, everything should be back to normal as viewership should return to what it is now.

What I am most excited for is to see what Stewart produces during the eight weeks he is away. Stewart will be directing his first feature film, based on the memoir by journalist Maziar Bahari called, “Then They Came For Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity and Survival.” The film will be called “Rosewater” and focus on Bahari’s experience covering the 2009 Iranian elections. Bahari was locked up for 118 days under the suspicion that he was spy. In a bizarre way of connecting the two, the main evidence for jailing Bahari was an appearance he made on “The Daily Show.” If the film is anything up to the quality of production that Stewart has done with his tenure at “The Daily Show,” then I’m sure it will be an excellent film.

Eventually, all great things must come to an end, and if Stewart’s upcoming leave from his show is any indication, maybe his time with the show is coming to an end. However, Stewart is so talented that he will shine even in his future projects.

Chasen Doerr is a senior journalism major and the opinions editor for the Daily 49er.

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