As a satirist and New York media fixture, Jon Stewart has emerged as an unlikely kingmaker in this season of rushed political primaries. “Yes, he’s absolutely taking his kingmaker status in stride,” emailed Tony Fox, EVP for corporate communications at Comedy Central, to FishbowlNY. Former Senator John Edwards actually made an unofficial pre-announcement of his intention to run for President on The Daily Show on September 15, 2003 (To which Jon Stewart responded memorably, “You do realize that this is a fake news show”). Tony Fox responds, “[Jon Stewart is] the first one to tell you his show is a comedy show, and nothing else. He refuses to believe that young people get their news from The Daily Show [even though they say they do] because if they didn’t have some familiarity with the news, there would be no context for his jokes.”
What is it about Jon Stewart and the political class? Even as Stewart mocks them, they return with flowers and roses. “Reaching young adults, and men in particular, is very hard to do through traditional
media,” says Fox. “Young people are also less likely to vote so if candidates can reach young people with their message, in a cool environment, which The Daily Show is, they’ve got a chance to motivate young people to vote for them.”
Even if it’s a fake news show.