I'm somewhat under the impression that originally the Daily Show had no intention whatsoever of being treated seriously, it was just trying to make fun of the daily happenings. But they found that the George Bush presidency (and the race leading up to it) Had a lot of material that they could use. And the had the ability to fine tune an entire days worth of material in to 20 minutes, Unlike all-day news, where the implications are given almost immediately, sometimes lacking a fully thought out explanation of the implications. They found that their focus on the political news attracted some major ratings, and kept with it.
The concentration of the news, not to mention the ability to not treat it as SRS BUSNS! allows them to look at situations with a different eye. Though the recent activism on the Daily Shows part does have a definite lean toward the left.
As for him being disingenuous, I kind of agree. I'm a big fan of the show, and Would watch it every day if I had the channel, or internet, at my house, but his importance in the media space is to important to ignore. He's been the subject of one of Bloomberg's Game-changers , And he is able to, some what reliably, get interviews with high political officers. He is much more then he originally wanted to be, I think, and It seems at times that he just wants to go back to being a silly comedy show. His actions seem to be working against that in recent years though (But those thoughts might be colored by a fierce political race that has only just passed us), and as such I'm not certain how much he doesn't want to be involved. He certainly has some supporters, but his style doesn't look like it would scale to a much larger level (So the odds of having a 24/7 Daily show should be terrible.)
I would like to see a Jon Stewart make a more prominent entrance in to shaping things, Something more then the Rally to Restore Sanity, though that was a nice start. However, if he were to do something like that he would not be able to hide behind the cloak of Comedy much longer.
edited 11th Feb '11 9:43:46 AM by Voot