‘Big Three’ Networks Mourn Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show’ Departure

On Tuesday night, liberal comedian Jon Stewart announced that he was stepping down as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show after 16 years and on Wednesday, the “big three” (ABC, CBS, and NBC) morning shows eagerly praised Stewart's t enure.

NBC’s Matt Lauer introduced Today by declaring “Stewart Stunner..The announcement that’s rocking Hollywood, Washington and his millions of fans” and ABC’s Lara Spencer proclaimed Stewart’s show to be a “comedy cultural juggernaut.”

While all three network morning shows were quick to cheer Stewart’s career, none of the them mentioned his deep liberal ties as they provided more than 8 minutes of coverage to his Comedy Central departure. While the networks featured numerous clips of Stewart attacking various conservatives, they failed to include a single clip of him mocking a liberal.

The “big three” also made sure to play up how Stewart “launched the careers” of other liberal comics such as John Oliver and Stephen Colbert, but of course never mentioned their political leanings.

Today co-host Savannah Guthrie lamented how “it’s hard to imagine the late night landscape without Jon Stewart” before she championed how he “really has done so much for it and he should be proud of those 16 years.”

Later in the broadcast, NBC’s Willie Geist offered up a full report on Stewart and beamed at how he “took a half hour late night comedy show, turned it into rally a fixture not only in American television, but in politics and culture as well.” After playing several clips of Stewart’s announcement, Geist promoted how “the show has won 19 Emmys, he’s interviewed some of the world’s biggest newsmakers.”

On CBS This Morning, reporter Don Dahler touted how “while traditional newscasts have struggled to attract younger viewers, The Daily Show has been a favorite place for younger generations to get their news.” The CBS reporter commented that “Stewart blends political commentary with satire” before playing a clip of the Comedy Central host mocking former President George W. Bush

GEORGE W. BUSH [Clip]: I ask for you to pray for this great nation.

JON STEWART [Clip]: We're way ahead of you.

DON DAHLER: And it's worked. Racking up 20 Emmy award wins in 16 years

Over on Good Morning America, ABC’s Lara Spencer introduced the network’s coverage of Stewart’s departure by declaring it “the end of an era, if you will, for late night TV” before branding him to a “comedy cultural juggernaut.”

The ABC anchor proceeded to play numerous clips of Stewart sparring with conservatives such as Bill O’Reilly and Mike Huckabee before she insisted that “he became a go-to news source for younger Americans using humor to keep his viewers informed about current events.”

Spencer then played a clip of Stewart attacking President Bush, and argued that “Stewart burst into our national consciousness with his coverage of the 2000 election.” Co-host George Stephanopoulos concluded ABC's Stewart coverage by calling him "a stamp on the culture." 

While the “big three” were quick to promote Stewart’s tenure at Comedy Central, they conveniently ignored the numerous controversies he created during the same time. On June 19, 2014, the Daily Show host recklessly compared Redskins fans and the NRA to defenders of child porn.

On August 4, 2014, Stewart invoked the KKK in order to condemn House Republicans’ support for a border security bill and on December 15, 2014, the Comedy Central host accused Dick Cheney of having a ‘Bronsonlike Torture Boner.” 

See relevant transcripts below.

NBC’s Today

February 11, 2015

MATT LAUER: And Stewart Stunner. Jon Stewart says he plans to leave The Daily Show after 16 years. 

JON STEWART: In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity. 

LAUER: The announcement that’s rocking Hollywood, Washington and his millions of fans today. 
--
LAUER: And good morning and welcome to Today on a Wednesday morning. And apparently when Jon Stewart made that announcement on his show, there were kind of gasps in the studio.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: It's hard to imagine the late night landscape without Jon Stewart. He really has done so much for it and he should be proud of those 16 years. So we’ll have more on that. A little stunner coming up in a minute. 

--

NBC’s Today 
February 11, 2015

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Well, Jon Stewart dropped a bombshell last night after 16 years as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Stewart announced he will step down later this year. And Willie’s got that story. Hey Willie, good morning.

WILLIE GEIST: Savannah, good morning to you. Yeah, Jon Stewart took a half hour late night comedy show, turned it into really a fixture not only in American television, but in politics and culture as well. From actors to politicians, to those of us in the media, no one was spared the wrath of his sharp commentary, his criticism and of course his humor. The late night landscape is shifting yet again.

JON STEWART: This show doesn't deserve an even slightly restless host. And neither do you. In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.

GEIST: Jon Stewart holding back emotions in front of a stunned Daily Show audience.

STEWART: I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day, I’m going to miss coming here every day. I love the people here. They are the best. I love them and respect them so much.

GEIST: Stewart took over The Daily Show from Craig Kilborn in 1999.

STEWART [Clip]: I feel like it's my Bar mitzvah.

GEIST: Since then, the show has won 19 Emmys, he’s interviewed some of the world’s biggest newsmakers.

STEWART [Clip]: I know your father is backstage. Would he be mad if I adopted you?

GEIST: And left countless public figures in his comedic wake.

STEWART [Clip]: This is the most joy I’ve gotten from an old man since Dick Cheney non-fatally shot one in the face.

UNKNOWN PERSON: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart absolutely changed the late night landscape because it brought some bite along with the humor to late night. With The Daily Show he was not afraid to go after people.

GEIST: He also launched the careers of some of the biggest names in comedy, including Steve Carell, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. In 2013, he took his first steps away from The Daily Show desk, spending the summer directing his first movie, “Rosewater.” Here in November promoting the film, he joked about his possible life after The Daily Show.

STEWART [Clip]: Folk album. I’m just going to do a folk album.

GEIST: As for his real post Daily Show plans, Stewart said he has a lot of ideas, but first –

STEWART: I'm going to have dinner on a school night with my family who I have heard from multiple sources are lovely people.

GEIST: There’s still no word on when Jon's last show will be. His contract though is officially up in September. Regardless of when it happens, if Colbert’s start-studded goodbye is any indication, Jon Stewart will be a send-off not to be missed. So hard to be funny five nights a week, he did it for 15 years. And also, let’s be honest, kept a lot of us in the press on our toes every night

MATT LAUER: And when it comes to what he does next, he will be able to write his own with every option available. 


ABC’s Good Morning America

February 11, 2015

ROBIN ROBERTS: Well laughter is the best medicine.

LARA SPENCER: Indeed, it is Robin. And it’s also though the end of an era, if you will for late night TV. Jon Stewart says he's retiring from hosting The Daily Show. Surprising fans with the announcement at the end of last night's broadcast.

JON STEWART: It's been an absolute privilege.

SPENCER: After 16 years at the helm of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart shocking his audience, announcing he is stepping down.

STEWART: It's been the honor of my professional life and I thank you for watching it. For hate watching it. Whatever reason you were tuning in for

SPENCER: During his tenure Stewart turned the show into a comedy cultural juggernaut.

STEWART: [Clip] I mean really, you are concerned there is a six-foot Festivus pole made out of beer cans. It's Florida. You're lucky there's not a stripper named Christmas swinging on it. [Clip] President Barack Obama

SPENCER: Going head-to-head with presidents.

BARACK OBAMA [Clip]: Now they’re not real sexy issues, they’re not the kinds of things that you’re gonna

STEWART [Clip]: You don't know what I find sexy.

SPENCER: Skewering would-be candidates.

STEWART [Clip]: I think it’s the difference between what you believe gay people are and what I do. And I live in New York City so I'm just going to make a supposition that I have more experience being around them.

SPENCER: While never shying away from an on air confrontation.

STEWART [Clip]: You have said, you’ve stated this, I don't believe that there's a thing called white privilege. 

BILL O’REILLY [Clip]: There is not.

STEWART: See, now, now we have a conversation we can have.

O’REILLY [Clip]: Okay, look, if there's white privilege then there has to be Asian privilege because Asians make more money than whites.

SPENCER: And in the process he became a go-to news source for younger Americans using humor to keep his viewers informed about current events.

STEWART [Clip]: And we're keeping these prisoners in Cuba to keep Americans safe because there's no way anybody could ever get to America from Cuba. 

SPENCER: Just one year after becoming the host Stewart burst into our national consciousness with his coverage of the 2000 election.

STEWART [Clip]: As for George W. Bush, George W. Bush watched Gore's concession speech and his reaction was as expected.

GEORGE W. BUSH [Clip]: I was not selected to serve one party.

STEWART [Clip]: You were not elected.

SPENCER: The Daily Show roster, a venerable who's who of comedy launching the careers of Steve Carell.

STEVE CARELL [Clip}: This is a complicated decision

SPENCER: John Oliver.

JOHN OLIVER [Clip]: Thank you. 

STEPHEN COLBERT [Clip]: I’m always excited, Jon.

SPENCER: And Stephen Colbert. And as we know, Stephen Colbert will be taking over for Letterman this April. The Daily Show won 20 Emmy awards under Stewart's tenure. He has yet to announce his last day saying it might be December, it could be July. And we'll enjoy every day until whenever.

AMY ROBACH: And you know what, it was cute. I heard him say that he was just excited about having dinner with his family because he's heard from reports that they're really nice people.

ROBERTS: Going to miss that humor.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: What a stamp on the culture. Huge. Okay, thanks, Lara. 

 

CBS This Morning

February 11, 2015

GAYLE KING: While Brian Williams may be at the lowest point of his career, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart will leave his program on a high note. Stewart told his audience last night that he will give up his Comedy Central program later this year. Don Dahler is outside The Daily Show studio in New York. Don Good morning

DON DAHLER: Good morning. When Stewart made the announcement inside this studio, it shocked the audience because for the past 16 years he has been the face of one of the most popular shows on television.

JON STEWART: Comedy Central gave me an incredible opportunity 17 years ago to pilot this wonderful franchise. In my heart I know it is time for someone else to have that opportunity.

DAHLER: After bouncing around the comedy cellars of New York City and cable shows in the early '90s, Stewart took the reins of the nightly Comedy Central flagship from Craig Kilborn in 1999 and never looked back.

STEWART [Clip]: Welcome, welcome to The Daily Show. Craig Kilborn is on assignment in Kuala Lumpur, I’m Jon Stewart.

DAHLER: While traditional newscasts have struggled to attract younger viewers, The Daily Show has been a favorite place for younger generations to get their news.

STEWART [Clip]: An hour. In other words, a war that could destroy the global order and and cast a region of the Earth into chaos was discussed for as much time as it takes Lens Crafters to make you bifocals

DAHLER: Stewart blends political commentary with satire

GEORGE W. BUSH [Clip]: I ask for you to pray for this great nation.

STEWART [Clip]: We're way ahead of you.

DAHLER: And it's worked. Racking up 20 Emmy award wins in 16 years.

STEWART [Clip]: You know the senator who appears to have just woken up on a park bench is right.

MARC SNETIKER: Jon Stewart was able to combine wit and intelligence and making it not only informative for viewers but also accessible.

DAHLER: Stewart's popularity, credentials and ability to stay in touch with a younger audience led to interviews with sitting presidents and influential figures

STEWART [Clip]: What is the responsibility of people who cover Wall Street? Who are you responsible to?

DAHLER: The Daily Show also served as a launching pad for the careers of John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and Steve Carell. On last night's show the long-time host reflected on what he will miss most.

STEWART: I don’t think I’m going to miss being on television every day. I'm going to miss coming here every day. It's been an absolute privilege, it’s been the honor of my professional life.

DAHLER: Comedy Central released a statement saying Stewart will remain on the anchor desk, on The Daily Show until later in the year, but of course now the two big questions are what is this talented man going to do next and who in the world can replace him. Charlie are you busy?

GAYLE KING: Charlie’s busy Don Dahler.

DAHLER: I like it.

KING: He’s busy.

CHARLIE ROSE: What a class act, Jon Stewart.

KING: Oh, I’ll say it. When they say what does Jon Stewart do next people said whatever he wants. He can call those shots.

ROSE: The amazing thing is how many careers he has spawned at that show.

KING: Steve Carell was here. Do you think he knew? Do you think he knew?

JEFF GLOR: I was thinking that last night whether he did or not.

KING: I was wondering.

ROSE: Thank you Don. 

NB Daily ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Comedy Central Daily Show Don Dahler Jon Stewart Willie Geist Lara Spencer Matt Lauer Savannah Guthrie

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