Although he has recently left The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is one of the most popular satirical comedians of this generation. The Daily Show was so popular because he mocked politicians and politics, while also exposing correct and accurate information. Stewart and his staff of correspondents used video clips, pictures, articles, etc. to discuss and make fun of politics. His show thrived on the idea of Fair Use.
Fair Use is an exception to Copyright in the United States. Fair Use states that an outside party is allowed to use someone’s copyrighted material if their goal is to teach, report, parody or critique. This video uses clips from Disney movies to teach the general public about the terms of Fair Use.
So, how exactly does Jon Stewart use Fair Use to his advantage? Stewart mainly uses video clips in his segments. He commonly uses clips from media outlets, specifically FOX News and CNN. He also takes segments from hearings and debates within the Senate and House of Representatives and uses them on his show. In this clip from 2014, he uses both to mock the impact politics can have on climate change, as well as the media’s coverage.
Jon Stewart took full advantage of Fair Use during this clip and during his time on The Daily Show. He was a pioneer for political satire. Although Jon Stewart has left The Daily Show, his influence still remains. The Daily Show influenced multiple people who have had successful shows with the same format: Stephen Colbert (The Colbert Report), Larry Wilmore (The Nightly Show), John Oliver (Last Week Tonight). The Daily Show is now hosted by Trevor Noah and will be very similar to The Daily Show when it was hosted by Jon Stewart.
His comments, actions, and body language expose politicians through satire. His sarcastic wit and tone and his freedom to use video clips from outside sources are what made The Daily Show successful for so many years. Fair Use allowed Jon Stewart this freedom to create one of the wittiest and funniest shows on television. Let me know what you think about the terms of Fair Use and Jon Stewart’s knack for this satire in the comments, but for now, just watch and enjoy.