Jon Stewart's three-month-long hiatus from The Daily Show was presented as a chance for the comedian to direct his first feature film, Rosewater.
However, it appears that Stewart's time has not been exclusively focused on film production. It's being reported this morning that, in the last month, Stewart has also been volunteering some of his time as a media consultant for the White House.
Specifically, Stewart has been helping the Obama administration frame some of its policy positions and executive moves in an effort to increase public understanding and trust in the administration.
An unnamed official told The New York Times:
"We just thought we could benefit from a bit more humor as a way to connect more with the American people. You know, to make Obama more relatable."Stewart is apparently responsible for suggesting a number of the Obama administration's quizzical moves, including the appointment of James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to head an investigation into NSA surveillance abuses.
Regarding that decision, an unnamed official said:
"He just thought it would be fun ... You know, hire the guy who lied to Congress to investigate the things he was lying about? The American people will get it. They'll see we're just regular guys who like to drink beer and make jokes."Stewart apparently also wrote the White House's statement in opposition to the Amash-Conyers amendment, which would have ended the NSA's legal justification for bulk phone surveillance per Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
In that statement, the White House decried the amendment as a "blunt approach" at reform that was "not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process."
According to the Times's anonymous official, "Obama loved that line" and "Really appreciates Stewart's satire."
The question will be whether or not the American people similarly appreciate the satirical elements that now permeate this current administration.