Jon Stewart Grapples With the Arizona Shootings, Reasserts Himself as Late Night’s Most Thoughtful

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It must have been a rough Monday to be a late night comedian, but Jon Stewart led the pack with a thoughtful, reflective segment appropriate for a day that featured a national moment of silence. (via Tuned In)

Stewart loves to downplay his role as serious news commentator. From his very public takedown of CNN’s Crossfire to his on-air sparring with Bill O’Reilly, he has derided the news punditry even as he has attempted to distance himself from their sphere. He says he’s just a goofy dork on a silly network, with prank-calling puppets as his lead-in. But when it comes to events like Sept. 11, the Iraq War and Monday night’s post-attempted assassination processing, Stewart has increasingly been turned to as not just the man to mock the absurdity of our media-political machine, but also to make sense out of the madness.

(More NewsFeed: Photos from Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity)

Whether he recognizes his role or not, Stewart has become an influential barometer as to the seriousness of an offense (Rick Sanchez), the merits of an argument (John McCain, on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) and the hypocrisy of lawmakers (the 9/11 health care bill). And every once in a while, in moments of startling sincerity and intimacy, he has also embraced the challenge of trying to process a nation’s fear and pain. In fact, over the span of a decade, he’s done the latter so well that we now regularly look to him for our dose of sanity amidst the chaos.

Last night, he didn’t disappoint. Check out the full video of Stewart’s comments about the weekend’s shooting, along with Tuned In’s analysis of how the Daily Show led Monday’s late night commentary.