Politico reported yesterday that Jon Stewart met privately with President Obama on at least two occasions, raising eyebrows and questions about Stewart’s role as Obama’s agenda-driven advocate. The secret visits coincided with crucial moments in his presidency: the bitter, partisan 2011 budget fight, and again before Obama went on TV to warn Russia that “there will be costs” if it made any further incursions into Ukraine. After each of these undisclosed visits, Stewart’s show had segments that put the president’s position in a more favorable light. The private meetings in the Oval Office were confirmed by White House visitor logs and three former Obama aides.
Politico also noted that the show’s popularity with left-wing ideologues and progressives gave politicians and activists the perfect platform to affect change in the all-important, “hard-to-reach 18 to 34-year-old male demographics.” This included everything from Obamacare to political appointees to the EPA’s war on fossil-fuel energy. So much so that even former Vice President Al Gore took advantage of Stewart’s unique brand of simplifying difficult issues to pimp his green agenda.
Gore praised Stewart’s “commitment to explaining global warming science” to the 1.3 million or so viewers that regularly tuned into the Comedy Central show. He has also been on the show at least four times during Stewart’s 16-year run, though that number is far fewer than previous visits by former President Bill Clinton (10) and Obama (7).
“At a time when many traditional news outlets shied away from clearly reporting the urgency of the climate crisis, Jon consistently cut through the absurdity of climate denial night after night,” Gore told Politico in an email.
Stewart, who declined to comment for Politico, once devoted an entire segment to the cap-and-trade bill, making the scheme sound plausible amidst growing disinterest (and distrust) from the public. But even Stewart’s labored efforts couldn’t save the now-defunct carbon tax bill that was hailed as a so-called CO2-reduction plan.
Even so, The Daily Show has become the de facto outlet for pundits, politicians, and presidents who have a message (or book) they need to publicize. According to Pew, the show’s audience runs closer to being “more consistently liberal,” a perfect venue for Gore’s half-baked climastrophic views. Stewart also admitted to Chris Wallace in an interview that, “My comedy is informed by an ideological background. There’s no question about that. … Oh, there’s no question that I don’t tell the full story.“
And while Stewart would like audiences to believe he is a center-left progressive, Fox News Chief Roger Ailes told Brietbart News that, “Jon Stewart is a comedian. He wouldn’t do well without Fox. And he basically has admitted to me, in a bar, that he’s a socialist.” Indeed, Stewart corrected Larry King when the host asked Stewart if he was a Democrat: “I think I would say I’m more of a socialist or an independent…”
Stewart currently enjoys an annual salary of $25 to $30 million and has an estimated net worth of over $80 million. Which means he makes over $81,000 a day. He owns opulent riverfront mansions and a New York City penthouse, all valued in the tens of millions. He used time-honored accounting tricks to avoid paying taxes by purchasing his properties through private trusts and naming them after his pets to avoid public scrutiny and to reduce his estate tax liability.
As the Daily Caller reported, “The super-wealthy often make big-ticket purchases through trusts in order to protect their other assets from lawsuits, diminish estate tax liability, and avoid public scrutiny.” When you’re railing against the ‘man’ and advocating for a single-payer healthcare system you could afford not to use, your grievances may appear a bit dubious if the public knew your true net worth.
What’s next for Stewart could range from directing another movie (which he told Entertainment Weekly he found gratifying) to a possible run for Congress, much like satirist and SNL-alum Al Franken did, which eventually got him a Senate seat.
Stewart’s final show will end next Thursday, with South African comic Trevor Noah taking over the helm later this year.