Today The New York Times compares Jon Stewart to Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite for his role in drawing attention to the Republican filibuster of a bill providing health care to 9/11 responders. The Daily Show has been reporting on this for weeks , culminating in an episode-long interview with first responders before breaking for the holidays.

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Last week, the filibuster ended and the bill finally passed. Did Jon Stewart's unrelenting attention make a difference? It wouldn't be the first time Stewart and his cohorts made a splash. His hilarious and uncomfortable appearance on Crossfire portended its cancellation. And who can forget Stephen Colbert's balls out speech at the White House Correspondents dinner? (Still waiting for Colbert to die in a plane crash or have a mysterious "heart attack".)

The Daily Show and Colbert Report trade on lampooning our cynical and ridiculous media. In theory they'll have plenty of material to keep their shows going for years to come. But do you think they have a big enough audience or a loud enough voice to make a difference? Were the Republicans just posturing or, without Stewart's reporting, would the bill have died quietly and been relegated to a stat in the Harper's index?