I sometimes forget just how powerful Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” has become. On Monday, the night before the Pennsylvania Democratic primary, there was candidate Barack Obama chatting and laughing with Stewart.
It wasn’t eight months ago, when Obama first appeared on “The Daily Show.” It was the night before an important primary. Stewart obviously carries some serious clout — and not just on television. Every clip from “The Daily Show”, whether political or not, is available for free for streaming from the show’s Web site.
Today Comedy Central announced more notable political figures will appear as guests in the next two weeks as part of “Indecision 2008”: former President Jimmy Carter (April 28), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (April 29), Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean (May 1), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (May 5). You can expect many more politicos during the run-up to the November election.
Stewart is an equal opportunity host. He’s had Obama on the show three times since August 2007, the expected Republican nominee John McCain on eight times, as well as candidates who have dropped out of the race like Democrat John Edwards and Republican Mike Huckabee. Other notables who have appeared are former Vice President Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton’s wife, Hillary, happens to be the other candidate seeking the Democratic nomination against McCain. Hillary Clinton has yet to appear as a guest on “The Daily Show”, although she is talked about almost nightly by Stewart.
Hillary Clinton did appear in a comedy bit for “The Daily Show” spinoff, “The Colbert Report,” on April 17, five days before the Pennsylvania primary.
The candidates, obviously, want to tap into the younger demographic of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” on television and on the Web. In fact, in several studies done since 2004, most young people report they get their news and political coverage from Stewart — first to the disbelief of traditional media, now to the chagrin of suffering newspapers and TV networks.
If you’re tired of the network’s barking pundits, the blogosphere’s wind bags, and the media-in-general’s exhaustive score-keeping, “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” is a good place to turn to — and not just for comic relief.