The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, lead anchor and the driving force of the influential Comedy Central "fake news" program each weeknight, announced Tuesday he will soon resign from the show he's hosted for more than a decade and a half.
Stewart made the announcement towards the end of Tuesday's episode, saying, "The show doesn't deserve an even slightly restless host and neither do you."
Elsewhere during the episode, as the Associated Press recounts, Stewart applied his signature style to various news stories of the day, including the controversy over mistruths told by NBC News nightly new anchor Brian Williams. According to AP:
He mocked the mediaverse for obsessing over Williams' alleged misdeeds: "Finally SOMEONE is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq war."
"Never again," he added dramatically, "will Brian Williams mislead this great nation about being shot at in a war we probably wouldn't have ended up in, if the media had applied this level of scrutiny to the actual (bleep) war."
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It was a splendidly crafted satiric fusillade, the sort of cheeky truth-telling no one but a self-styled fake news anchor would dare. And until Williams was suspended by NBC for six months roughly 24 hours later, Stewart had said everything that needed to be said.
Stewart didn't invent satire, but he modernized it and tailored it for an information age ruled by TV and the internet. In compact "Daily Show" segments, he struck a blow against the flabby boundlessness of cable-news and talk-network fare.
No wonder political leaders, authors, scholars and others with useful things to say flocked to his show right along with celebs who came to pitch their latest projects. Stewart, playing his designated role as court jester, goaded them with humor to get them to say what they meant in ways "serious" interviewers can't or won't. In the process, he usually displayed them to their best advantage.
At Vox.com, editors selected their choices for the best Stewart take-downs over the years.
And on Twitter, many voices shared their thoughs on Stewart's surprise announcement: