Jon Stewart Laments that There is Too Much Focus on Donald Trump

It has been six years since Jon Stewart left his post at the Daily Show, disappointing millions of Americans who got humor, insight, and solace from his take on the media and its impact on society. He left a vacuum that still hasn’t been filled by his successors in the comedy world during times when political satire was needed more than ever.

Donald Trump, Jon Stewart

Now Stewart has returned to television with a show on AppleTV+ that looks to be a bit more serious. And to promote his new venture, he is making the rounds on the PR circuit, including an appearance on Sunday’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper on CNN.

Tapper did an extended interview (video below) of Stewart that touched on many subjects and provided him with a platform to express his ideas about contemporary media and politics. There was much to admire in his commentary. But there was a brief moment where Stewart may have drifted slightly off the mark:

“I think the media does a terrible job at de-escalation. And de-escalation is the antidote to all this nonsense. And I don’t mean civility, and I don’t mean non-partisanship. I mean focusing on things that are more urgent and elemental in people’s lives and really hammering away at those things.”

Stewart is making a good point about the need to “hammer away” at the issues that really impact people’s lives. There is a bizarre tendency at some media outlets – particularly Fox News – to feature pseudo-culture jamming trivialities like gay Legos, or Chick-fil-A Sauce Shortages, or the infamous Dandelion-Gate.

However, to say that “media does a terrible job at de-escalation” is to suggest that the media regards its job as de-escalating and is failing at it. To the contrary, right-wing media actually considers it their mission to escalate controversy, and they are really quite good at it. They are profoundly successful at stirring up hostility and division which, in turn, acts as a magnet that compels viewers to be viscerally afraid and to stay perpetually tuned in so that they can satiate the addiction that the media itself created. A bigger misstep by Stewart, though, was his assertion that…

“I think we make a mistake focusing this all on Donald Trump […] He has just been an effective vessel.”

If Trump is a “vessel,” then he is a super-tanker loaded to the brim with a toxic cargo that he’s intent on polluting the entire planet with. While it would be a great relief to never again have to be assaulted by Trump’s visage or voice, as long as he is being dredged up by his cult followers and the wingnut press, we need to be vigilant and cognizant of the massive harm that he is capable of inflicting.

While Stewart’s point that Trump is not the originator of the noxious ideas he espouses is correct, he is far and away the most prominent dispenser of them. No one else in Republican politics commands the blind loyalty and propensity for violence that Trump does. And if anyone has the potential to lead an anti-democratic revolt, manned by armed, dangerous, fanatical zealots, it’s Trump.

Consequently, Trump must remain squarely in our focus. That doesn’t mean having the media donate unlimited hours of uninterrupted coverage for his hate-filled cult rallies, like they did in 2016. It doesn’t mean offering his tainted and ignorant perspective of every issue. And it doesn’t mean focusing solely on Trump. What it means is exposing his lies, nefarious intentions, and unsavory relationships, at every opportunity.

Along with an aggressive progressive agenda that benefits all Americans, there must be a focus on stopping Trump and Trumpism. His rancid rhetoric must be neutralized and his authoritarian aspirations quashed. Failure to do so will allow his neo-fascism to spread and fatally infect the nation. Jon Stewart is one of the best voices to achieve a positive end. Let’s hope he stays in that fight.

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How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

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14 thoughts on “Jon Stewart Laments that There is Too Much Focus on Donald Trump

  1. Way to miss Stewart’s point completely, NC! The only weapon more effective against a bully than mocking him is ignoring him. No, we do NOT need to keep focusing on trump. We do not need to know every time he farts if it was a wet one or a dry one.

    As you note, trump has no original ideas — there really is no “trumpsim”, beyond his demanding to be worshipped.. He just spews out someone else’s awful tripe. If the media would attribute the tripe to the originator, instead of interjecting trump into the issue, even his brainless sheep would quickly learn that trump is just parroting and plagiarizing. But, sadly, when it comes to trump the media are like that foolish motorist that just HAS to look at the mangled mess at the side of the road while the ER crew cleans up the blood and gore strewn across the path — they know it will nauseate them, and they will wish they hadn’t, but their FOMO is irresistible.

    • I guess I should explain who “we” are.

      I agree that that the media should stop focusing on Trump. He is a dangerous psychotic who holds no position now. But when they do cover his BS, then “we” have to respond. Otherwise we are leaving him unchallenged on the battlefield.

  2. Yes, I believe John Stewart is right. Everything, on left wing publications and the internet is about attacking or chastising the right and the far right. I want to be positive and I do read and agree with your blog but you virtually attack Trump and the fake news company all the time. I really would like to see you praise President Joe Biden and give more support for his agenda. Off the cuff, I cannot remember when this blog gave our President his due.

    • You have a point. Not that we shouldn’t criticize the assholes, but that it would be a good thing to speak positive about the good that’s being done by those trying to do so. Lord Knows, we sure don’t hear anything positive & it would be good thing to spread some of rhat wherever we can find it.

    • I did write positively about Biden’s recent COVID initiative. But you’re right that there isn’t a lot on the positive side. Most of the content here is a protest/reaction to what’s going wrong. I’ll work on it.

      • You’re right. You did do positive one on Biden’s Covid initiative & thanks for that!
        It’s sad that there isn’t more to write about that’s positive & at same time too much negative BS (from the other side) to even fit response to all of it in the same day! “We” are up against a relentless ‘war machine’ that never runs out of lies & too many outlets to spew their crap everywhere! You do a bang-up job of hitting back with truth & calling them on their bullshit! Thank you!
        It’s ALOT more work these days for you to try & keep up with the Rethugs’ lies & FauxSpewsNoNews! You have great stamina & more patience than I can muster up. I really thought that with Trump-a-chump out of WH that things might settle down & maybe the Country could get back to semi-normal state of things. Boy, was I wrong!
        You’re right about having to counter the harmful lies of those who are intent to destroy us all & very busy little minions, they are!
        Every good thing that Biden & Dems attempt is getting knocked off track by 2 of our own in Senate, doing all they can to stop their own Party’s agenda. They are for sure not working for our side. We need a bigger majority in Senate & to kill the filibuster!
        But 1st, must pass Voting Rights & even that will likely be a fight against anti-democracy forces in Congress. Now, there’s a sentence I NEVER thought I’d hear or say!

  3. I agree. I want to hear every day from Warren, Raskin, Schiff, Harris, Swalwell, Sanders, Booker, Castro, etc., etc., etc., and Biden. Talk to us, guys! Accentuate the positive!!

  4. Mark NC… Question:
    I don’t Twitter & barely use FB, but did notice last week that there’s a “newsfeed” box to ? that I can post stuff on (if can find it again). Is it appropriate for me to copy your posts onto that & post it on that “newsfeed” thing?
    Don’t know where it will go since I hardly know anyone/anything on FB, but more people really should read your blogs! To…counter the multitude of lies, enlighten, inform, provide balance, etc. ~ but only if it’s ok with you & not breaking any rules by doing it.
    (What I know about using social media still wouldn’t fill a thimble ~ am no smarter than B4!)

    • I’m not sure what “newsfeed” you’re referring to, so it’s hard for me answer your question. Although you shouldn’t copy and post my articles anywhere. Just post a link to the article here on this website, with a brief description.

      And thanks for your interest in getting more people to read my articles. Since you’re not using social media, you could post links in comments on other media sites (CNN, MSNBC, Washington Post, Reddit, etc.).

  5. Wish I knew what I’m talking about; I don’t. I think it’s supposed to be “my page” or something? IDK
    I like the idea of posting the link better – they may see other things on NC they wanna’ check out also. 😉 Hate to ask but, how do I post a link to it? And I can also do that in comments on news sites?
    Thanks much for letting me know!

  6. Perhaps we could be more effective in not even mentioning 45. Let him starve for attention. Post an obituary, listing all the “bad” he has done. I would be happy if he burst a blood vessel reading his own obit. Seriously.

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