And the reason he is so good at this is because he's freed himself of the competing limitations of both the comedy and the journalism traditions. The TV comedy tradition demands that participants treat serious matters as if they were fundamentally unimportant, whereas the journalism tradition demands that TV participants pretend that their personal responses are objective truth. John Stewart has discovered that you can talk about things that are serious, important and personal while at the same time being smart and entertaining.
The recent series of pieces he has done about CNBC's appalling financial coverage has been first class - beyond just the best of comedy and the best of journalism. An actual service to the country. AND, I am starting to feel like I understand the financial crisis a little better - something that no other media outlet has been able to do for me so far.