I’ve mentioned Jon Stewart as one of the most incisive observers of the body politic. But the Columbia Journalism Review’s Campaign Desk blog goes one step further, naming Stewart among the top ten reporters covering the campaign.

Not bad for a guy who would never call himself a reporter but a “dancing monkey.”

Update: More on Jon Stewart from Jay Rosen at PressThink. The entire post is worth a read.

Jon Stewart, who is in every sense a professional, is part of this plurality. He delivers a take on the news that is more truthful than the news for a good hunk of the audience. And so Stewart is cited by Campaign Desk for some of the most original work of the year. Often, he’s more believable than both the candidates or the press.

It’s possible to describe The Daily Show as just one more source of information about politics. But it’s really a competing system of trust for viewers in a Spin Age. Stewart’s executive producer Ben Karlin: “Many people in this country have strong bullshit detectors. For some reason, most major media outlets have turned theirs off out of fear of being labeled partisan.”

Another Update: It now seems that Jon Stewart’s audience is smarter. Of course smarter than whom? you may ask. Well, we admit, smarter than Bill O’Reilly’s audience. Not really fair, huh. If that’s the criteria, my son’s goldfish is smarter.