One thing that was missing during the long presidential campaign — and it may have helped Clinton lose the election, according to TV and film writer Joanna Robinson in an analysis for Vanity Fair — was Jon Stewart.
“In 2016, TV political satire let us down — and helped bring us President-Elect Trump,” Robinson writes. She cites Stewart’s exit from “The Daily Show” along with former Comedy Central leadout Stephen Colbert’s relocation to CBS, which combined to create a “massive vacuum” where “nobody else was able to step up to the plate.”
Colbert, she says, “was somewhat hamstrung by his move from cable to network TV. The host started his CBS tenure with a galling on-air apology to Trump in September of 2015, well after Trump’s outrageous comments about Mexican immigrants. So even when Colbert decided to start digging into the candidate, his credibility was somewhat compromised, and his content confined to the gentler rules of network television.”
“On cable, Colbert’s fellow ‘Daily Show’ alums and the show itself were all hampered by Peak TV-weakened ratings; in essence, they split the vote,” Robinson adds. “After the departure of Stewart, a liberal, comedic Walter Cronkite for 1.5 million loyal viewers, ‘The Daily Show’s’ ratings were slashed in half when new host Trevor Noah took over. Samantha Bee, with a show airing weekly on TBS, averaged 850,000 viewers in the weeks leading up to the election; John Oliver, on HBO, had 1 million.”
We encourage readers to click on the link to Vanity Fair near the top of this story to read Robinson’s full analysis.