Jon Stewart is a very vocal critic of the Iraq War, but he is just as passionate about helping vets — and he is doing it in an incredibly meaningful way.
The Daily Show host has started what’s billed as a five-week television boot camp specifically for war veterans who want to break into the industry. Over the last three years, he has been quietly building the program, and is only going public now because he is leaving his hosting duties this fall and is hoping other people will copy his idea.
“This is ready to franchise. Please steal our idea,” Stewart told the New York Times. “It isn’t charity. To be good in this business, you have to bring in different voices from different places, and we have this wealth of experience that just wasn’t being tapped.”
While returning war veterans are having an easier time finding jobs than ever before, few have been able to get jobs in TV and film because their years of military service supplanted the years of internships and entry-level jobs needed to get anywhere in the field, according to Veterans in Film and Television. Another issue: Hollywood tends to be very left-leaning, and the military is seen as the exact opposite of that.
“There are well-worn channels into this industry that are closed off to veterans,” Stewart said. “You get into the television industry generally by going to certain colleges known for having good television programs, getting internships and getting to know people who work in the industry. A lot of veterans never had that opportunity because they were busy at war. This is a way to give them that chance.”
So while Stewart might be anti-war, he is definitely not anti-veteran, and he is using his pull to show it.