The Guardian interviewed comedian Jon Stewart, who revealed one specific reason he left Comedy Central's The Daily Show: he didn't want to cover the 2016 presidential elections.
Stewart's decision to leave his 16-year running job as host was as a result of many factors, that he described to The Guardian as "the end of a long-term relationship:"
Honestly, it was a combination of the limitations of my brain and a format that is geared towards following an increasingly redundant process, which is our political process. I was just thinking, ‘Are there other ways to skin this cat?’ And, beyond that, it would be nice to be home when my little elves get home from school, occasionally.
But specifically, he mentioned the upcoming presidential elections: "I’d covered an election four times, and it didn’t appear that there was going to be anything wildly different about this one.”
To be sure, Stewart is not done adding his voice to politics as he hopes to continue his career through standup, books, etc., with a similar angle to The Daily Show:
I consider all this just different vehicles to continue a conversation about what it means to be a democratic nation, and to have it written into the constitution that all men are created equal -- but to live with that for 100 years with slaves. How do those contradictions play themselves out? And how do we honestly assess our failings and move forward with integrity?
Stewart also revealed to The Guardian one of his biggest regrets as host of the show: letting Donald Rumsfeld off easy during an interview about the Iraq war. "I should have pushed, but he’s very adept at deflecting," Stewart said. "He’s the one who has to live with the repercussions of what he really did, so there’s nothing that could happen on my show that carries that same level of regret.”
It wouldn't be a Jon Stewart interview without him bashing the Bush administration or Fox News, for that matter. Said the guy who's satire "news" show influenced the political minds of millions of America's youth:
My biggest objection to Fox News, I say, is not the scaremongering, it’s the way it’s reshaped the Republican party. It will misrepresent social and economic issues, and promote the more extreme elements of the party, politicians such as Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, in a way that is hugely detrimental to American politics.
He added, "Watching these channels all day is incredibly depressing." But as an entertainer who used the channel for years for fodder, Stewart said he was always willing to remain in his depressive state in order to "mine turds" from Fox News so others wouldn't have to.
However, he did reveal in the interview that there is one situation in which he might find himself tuning back in: "[L]et’s say that it’s a nuclear winter, and I have been wandering, and there appears to be a flickering light through what appears to be a radioactive cloud and I think that light might be a food source that could help my family. I might glance at it for a moment until I realize, that’s Fox News, and then I shut it off. That’s the circumstance.”
What network did Stewart claim as "better" than Fox News? MSNBC -- "because it’s not steeped in distortion and ignorance as a virtue."