Former ‘Daily Show’ host opens up to N.Y. Times
Jon Stewart stepped down as host of “The Daily Show” five years ago, but he still has a lot to say about current events.
In a wide-ranging interview published Monday by the New York Times, Stewart gave his thoughts on the tumult wracking America, and said reforming the police won’t fix racial inequality all by itself.
“White people lasted six weeks and then stormed a state building with rifles, shouting: ‘’Give me liberty! This is causing economic distress! I’m not going to wear a mask, because that’s tyranny!’ That’s six weeks versus 400 years of quarantining a race of people.”
“The policing is an issue, but it’s the least of it,” he said. “We use the police as surrogates to quarantine these racial and economic inequalities so that we don’t have to deal with them.”
“The police are a reflection of a society. They’re not a rogue alien organization that came down to torment the black community. They’re enforcing segregation. Segregation is legally over, but it never ended. The police are, in some respects, a border patrol, and they patrol the border between the two Americas. We have that so that the rest of us don’t have to deal with it.”
Stewart continued: “But if we don’t address the anguish of a people, the pain of being a people who built this country through forced labor — people say, ‘I’m tired of everything being about race.’ Well, imagine how [expletive] exhausting it is to live that.”
Stewart also said the biggest regret of his “Daily Show” legacy is giving in to the urge to create viral moments to knock down guests he disagreed with, such as Bill O’Reilly and Jim Cramer, calling it “the evisceration expectation.”
“Why do you have him on the show if you can’t destroy him? If you want to talk about the worst legacy of ‘The Daily Show,’ it was probably that,” he said.
He also mocked President Donald Trump as “a malevolent Mr. Magoo,” whose recklessness suffers no consequences, but said he still has faith in the idea of America.
“We have an exceptionalism that we have taken for granted, and we get lost in the symbolism of who we are rather than the reality. The reality of who we are is still remarkable.”