Jon Stewart’s job is to mock the daily news. But one day after a gunman fatally shot nine people inside of the nation's most historic black churches in Charleston, South Carolina, the host of "The Daily Show," apologized for not being able to fulfill his primary responsibility.
"I have one job, and it's a pretty simple job," he said Thursday night. "I come in in the morning, and we look at the news and I write jokes about it."
Stewart's emotional, joke-free monologue addressed gun violence and racism in America in response to the massacre of nine church-goers attending a Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church Wednesday.
"I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a just gaping racial wound that will not heal yet we pretend doesn't exist," Stewart said.
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The satirist expressed a sense of hopelessness as he contrasted the disparity of how the U.S. responds to perceived foreign threats versus the "eh, what are you gonna do?" attitude when it comes to Americans killing one another, before declaring the Charleston massacre a "terrorist attack."
The outgoing "Daily Show" host also chided those in the media who characterized the attack as the action of a "lone wolf" as opposed to a symptom of a larger racial divide, and critiqued South Carolina’s reverence for its Confederate past.
"This one is black and white, there’s no nuance here," he said. "The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina, and the roads are named for Confederate generals, and the white guy's the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him?"
Stewart's comments came ahead of an appearance from Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, who, as the host noted, persevered after having suffered "unspeakable violence" at the hands of extremists. The now 17-year-old was shot in the head while riding her school bus in 2012. Pakistan's Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
"There is no one else in the world that I would rather talk to tonight," he said.