Jacob Gershman writes in New York Magazine that conservative Cliff May was apprehensive about appearing on The Daily Show, until his friend Bill Kristol, a fellow conservative who has appeared on the show several times, convinced him that he’d be pleasantly surprised by Jon Stewart:
Stewart’s interview of May — a crackling, lengthy debate about where to draw the line between freedom and security — produced one of the most clarifying discussions about torture on television. “Literally, this is the best conversation I’ve had on this subject anywhere,” May told Stewart.
Stewart will poke fun, but he offers a good-faith debate on powder kegs — torture, abortion, nuclear weapons, health care — that explode on other networks. “Shepard Smith did the same discussion [on torture],” says May. “He kept yelling me at me: ‘This is where I get off the bus! Not in my name!’ He wasn’t arguing with me. It was just assertions and anger. That’s not what Jon deals in.”
That’s why The Daily Show is one of the best on TV. In 30 minutes, Stewart and his team deconstruct issues so well that you can’t help but understand them better afterward. What’s more, you don’t have to sit through the shenanigans on the other “news” networks and you get to laugh at the reels The Daily Show puts together highlighting the best of the nonsense and contradiction that goes on during those other shows.