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July 24, 2014

How 'The Daily Show' Addressed Our Messiest Messes

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jan 12th 2011 2:00PM
Jon Stewart offering words of sympathy and a plea for peace on the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords on Comedy shows take a huge risk of jumping the shark when they try to get serious for a minute or open a teaser with "a very special episode," the four most dreaded words in television since "Up next: 'Wife Swap.'"

Jon Stewart's 'Daily Show,' however, finds itself in the unique position of being television's guidance counselor. The news landscape doesn't have an Edward R. Murrow to speak of, a newsman who can honestly speak on a story without letting the vapidness of objectivity or obvious bias get in the way of his thinking. Moments of extreme sadness and tragedy have helped Stewart fill those shoes along with the aid of the occasional, well-timed dick joke.

His addresses to the nation in moments of unspeakable horror and unimaginable events sometimes serve to calm the fears that are stirring up in all of us and give us the laugh we so desperately need. Times may be tough. Hope may be in a free-fall recession. The thought of kinder days may just be a distant memory but under Stewart's tenure, they aren't gone for good, as evidenced by these addresses he made following our most recent and jarring travesties, a list inspired by Stewart's response to the tragedy in Tucson.





The devastating attack on the World Trade Center in New York City and the subsequent events of Sept. 11, 2001 shook the entire nation at its core and forever changed the way it would view global warfare, national politics and homeland security. Stewart offered his sentiments nine days after the attack in the show's opening segment and it forever changed the way people viewed the show. It wasn't just a snark-fest for the news literate. It was a calm voice of unbridled reason and heartfelt honesty.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
September 11, 2001
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Then in 2005, Hurricane Katrina not only became the natural disaster of the decade but also one of the biggest scandals of mismanagement and miscommunication on every level of government. The phrase "blame game" became a catchphrase on Capitol Hill overnight. Stewart's return to the show following the flooding of New Orleans wasn't the calmest pep talk he had given on the show, but it aimed to help bring some perspective to the true victims and lessons of Hurricane Katrina. The fact that it also happened to be pretty damn funny was just the sweet sugar that helped the necessary medicine go down smooth.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Intro - Hurricane Katrina
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The BP oil spill that wrecked the Gulf Coast, however, was a different monster indeed -- several different monsters to be exact. There wasn't much to be calm about since it seemed the leaking cap would never be closed and the responsible parties wouldn't even lose the jobs they never deserved in the first place. A righteous outpouring of abject anger and dismay at the (lack of) efforts to stop the spill and the weaseling to avoid blame for it was needed. Stewart was more than happy to help us find our own 'Top Hat' to quell the seemingly endless seething.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
There Will Be Blame
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Stewart's last show of 2010 was entirely dedicated to the Senate's inability to come together on a bill that would have funded medical aid to 9/11 first responders. Not only did the Senate Republicans filibuster the bill because it closed a tax loophole, but the mainstream media barely covered it. Stewart had his say and then let some actual first responders, who were buried under mounting medical bills, vent their shock and frustration at having their sacrifices ignored by the same people and institutions they are sworn to protect. Stewart's empassioned outrage and probing spotlight on the hypocrisy of this massive legislative failure helped move the bill to passage.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
9/11 First Responders React to the Senate Filibuster
www.thedailyshow.com
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fishymcdonk

This past Monday's episode was terrible

January 15 2011 at 7:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rishisharma08

the 9/11 clip kinda made me sad! :(

never seen Stewart like this before.

January 13 2011 at 1:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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