On Thursday, Jon Stewart will host The Daily Show for one last time.
I started watching Stewart long before I agreed with him on anything. I watched because the show was funny. I watched because Stewart’s show can actually be informative. I watched because his Bush impersonation was both horrible, but also so accurate, like Bush if he was in South Park. I watched because some of what Stewart or his correspondents were joking about challenged my beliefs.
And I watched because of the interviews. As much as Stewart denies it in discussion after discussion, his show is sort of a news show at times, not necessarily because it is striving to be, but because all the rest of the “news” shows on TV do a poor job for the most part. One of the best examples of Stewart posing questions that everyone else on TV is afraid to ask was his relatively recent interview with Judith Miller, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, formerly with the New York Times. If you’re not aware, Miller played a pivotal role in reporting on the Bush administration’s justification for going to war in Iraq. The interview was one of the most awkward moments I have ever watched on the Daily Show, but it was also one of the best. Click here to watch it in full. Below is a CNN mashup of the interview, not nearly as good as the uncut version, but you get a feel for the atmosphere and Stewart’s persistent questioning and Miller’s persistent shirking of any responsibility.
No one on TV interviews like this. Not one person on the big three networks, nor on any of the cable news channels. This, among other reasons, of course, is why anyone who watches TV loses something great this week.