If we're to believe his swan song story it's nothing more than routine dissatisfaction when one does anything long term. In his own words, " the cycles [of dissatisfaction] become longer and maybe more entrenched, and that's when you realize, 'OK, I'm on the back side of it now.'" How vague...and may I say dissatisfying. Perhaps on the other side of the fake news phenomenon it makes a little more sense.
He saw what was coming. CNN was but a symptom of a larger disease and he tried to warn us.
It doesn't take a super fan to realize that Jon Stewart is a brilliant and honest man in an industry full of bullshit artists and money monsters. Did anyone wonder WHY he was becoming more and more dissatisfied with his ratings juggernaut? Not since Seinfeld left with an incredible 76.3 million viewers on his "Finale" has a comedian of such reach and success...simply stopped. The Daily Show has never recovered and those who've not forgotten still reminisce over videos of Crossfire with the lovable bow-tied Tucker Carlson. (Who's recent success on Fox begs the question...when will the Tuck have the Jon as a guest on his #1 show in cable news?)
"You're huuuuurrrrting America. Come work for us. I am here to confront you. We need what you do so badly. We need help from the media."
That was 2006 and the superficial climate in journalism was only getting worse. Success begins to represent a very different thing. The smartest funny man on TV was red pilling. The first of his generation; a pioneer in the media industry. As the entertainment wings of CNN absorbed the rest the of it's legacy news business; there didn't seem to be much civilized discourse left.
"This is theater! You're on CNN! The show leading into mine is called 'Puppets Make Crank Phone Calls'. You have a responsibility to the public discourse and you fail miserably."
Jon Stewart revealed his true nobility. For citizenship is even more important than his career. He said it himself and I bet that burned in his mind for years afterward. It's the centre of his moral being. He can criticize journalists because he's a comedian, and it's not his responsibility to do their job for them.
Notice he didn't say Fox. The irony is inescapable. Was this the beginning of the end for his liberal base regardless of how supportive his audience appeared in real time? Would it hold up in a world where false outrage gets even popular talent fired? Rick Sanchez was just the beginning of a new tide of professional virtue. While speaking to Larry King in 2010...
"You made the right decision to leave [CNN]. You know what you are? You're the last guy out of a burning building."
As usual Trump has claimed credit for someone else's discovery. CNN had deeply struck a nerve in our hero. Jon put into words what we were all feeling in those early days of CNN's transition into the Fake News business. The drag we all continue to endure from spin alley. The disappointment we feel when our journalists refuse to make honest arguments pushing, instead, designed narratives.
He was still mostly liberal in 2006. His Crossfire appearance went viral. He hadn't yet interviewed with Rachael Maddow also in 2010, revealing that he respects many conservatives and doesn't like the way liberals throw terms like racist and Teabagger so easily at many Americans. Political differences shouldn't prohibit Americans from working together to solve large problems. Seems likely 2010 was the year Jon experienced a transition of his own. He'd peeked behind the curtain of faux-liberalism and realized it wasn't the real thing.
"Remember when Republicans would act like dicks and use the word 'Democrat' and say opposing the war was unamerican? I think what also comes out sometimes...from the other side is Teabagger. Now that's, I think, derogatory."
Rachael pushed back, passively, and then did to Jon on the air afterward the very "making hay of it" at his expense that she'd refused to acknowledge in the interview. The writing was on the wall and he escaped the coming storm. The traditional power brokers in the media landscape were heading in a direction that Jon just couldn't follow. Was he still funny? Of course. Profitable? Hell, yes!
But Jon Stewart was guilty of the unforgivable sin of his people...he was a better man than they deserved. What's a future where comedy is secondary to political agenda? Wouldn't that just make him the same kind of partisan hack he so elegantly spoke against on Crossfire...on Larry King...on Racheal Maddow? So long as comedy was his first responsibility we had the privilege of his work in our lives. The new generation of money monsters eat good men and spit out "ze" pieces.
Thank You, Jon Stewart. For everything.