The proposal for Jon Stewart to moderate a presidential debate reached 300,000 signatures on Tuesday. The petitioners’ starting goal was just 150,000 signatures, which the petition quickly surpassed after going viral.
About two weeks ago, a group of fans launched a petition on Change.org asking the Commission on Presidential Debates to let Stewart moderate one of the fall presidential debates. According to the petitioners, Stewart is more than qualified for the position. During his 16-year run on the Daily Show, he interviewed 15 heads of state, 22 members of the U.S. Cabinet, 32 members of the U.S. Senate, 7 members of the House of Representatives, and countless other political and academic experts.
Furthermore, studies have shown that Stewart was more trustworthy than other mainstream news organizations. A 2014 study conducted by the Brookings Institute found that more Americans trusted The Daily Show with Jon Stewart over MSNBC. A Pew study, cited by Forbes, found more Americans trusted Jon Stewart than Bloomberg and the Economist.
Even Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley signed the petition in support of Jon Stewart moderating a debate:
— Martin O’Malley (@MartinOMalley) August 20, 2015
Even if Stewart agrees to moderate a debate, it is not up to him. The petition is trying to reach the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has the ultimate authority in selecting moderators. However, a Change.org petition in 2012 started by three high school students successfully garnered enough support to influence the commission to select a female moderator.
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