The moral authority of Jon Stewart is a baffling phenomenon. ‘He’s Cronkite,’ proclaims New York magazine, ‘the most trusted man in America.’ He is plainly a likeable man, and always good for intelligent laughter, though an air of genial sanctimony clings to his every joke. But it is not exciting that people glean their understanding of the world from ‘The Daily Show,’ it is discouraging. Better Stewart than Beck, sure; but the Lincoln Memorial deserves a break from all this political vaudeville, as do we from the notion that amusement is a basis for commitment. I omit Bill Maher from my complaint, because no moral authority can plausibly be imputed to him. He has the look of a man who mainly wants to get laid.

Leon Wieseltier. Okay, Leon, I got to give you props for that one.