NEW YORK CITY – After spending the entire summer off from the Daily Show to direct his new movie, “Rosewater,” Jon Stewart returned to cable television on September 3. Over 2 million people tuned in to Stewart’s first episode back from his hiatus (or as he’d call it, a smoke break). The most important number regarding the Daily Show, however, is its young adult viewership demographic, particularly in the 18-34 age range. Stewart’s return brought in 640,000 people within this demographic. It’s clear that the Daily Show is a massive platform for the spread of bipartisan ideas and messages to a large audience of perceptive, active, young viewers. On September 19, Chelsea Clinton utilized this platform to speak on behalf of the Clinton Foundation and the important work it does to improve global health.
Advertising part of the Clinton Foundation’s message, Clinton focused on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and their societal prevalence; NCDs kill more than 36 million people each year.
“NCDs are the number one and number two killer in much of the developing world,” Clinton said. When asked about whether NCDs are prevalent in the developed world, she responded, “It is just as bad here.”
Nearly 80 percent of NCD deaths – 29 million – occur in low and middle-income countries. Four groups of diseases in particular account for over 80 percent of NCD deaths: Cardiovascular diseases (17.3 million deaths annually), cancers (7.6 million), respiratory diseases (4.2 million) and diabetes (1.3 million). These pervasive NCDs are prevalent in countries where the poverty level is exorbitantly high, and the correlation between poverty and obtaining a NCD is just as striking.
Clinton also talked about childhood obesity, which has come to the national forefront with Michelle Obama’s direct work with the cause. Stewart asked Clinton, “Don’t you have to battle poverty at the same time you have to battle exercising – making it a more complex problem?”
Clinton responded, “It is complex, but it’s just a lot of smaller problems that are aggregated together waiting to be broken down.” She went on to question the role of public school systems, local government, and even the Clinton Foundation when it comes to working together to develop a strategy to eradicate these issues.
The Clinton Foundation proved its ability to spread its message to a large, mostly young audience with Chelsea Clinton’s appearance on the highly rated Daily Show. Edith Wharton once said, “There are two ways to spread light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” On September 19, Comedy Central and Jon Stewart’s Daily Show mirrored the bold vision of the Clinton Foundation’s metaphorical light to the world.
– Sagar Jay Patel