Recent studies suggest that people now seek out partisan news that reflects their own views. Fine in theory, but where are the left-wing counterparts to Fox News? The networks, worried about betraying their alleged, nonexistent liberal bias, bend over backward to be impartial (they conceded Bush's bloody defeat in the first debate only when the insta-polls declared Kerry the clear winner). For lefties, one of the only places to turn for slanted views has been the satire shows The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (weeknights at 11 on Comedy Central) and Bill Maher's Real Time (Fridays at 11 on HBO). In the weeks immediately following the Republican convention, their role became more crucial than ever: comforting heartsick Dems with the thought that if we can't beat 'em, we can at least mock 'em. As each day brought some new Kerry blunder or setback, a fresh GOP smear or poll figure seemingly confirming the reality-blinkered stupidity of the American populace, I found myself pining for 11 p.m. to roll around. Stewart and Maher's savage humor served as the beleaguered lefty's consolation prize at the end of every disheartening daydesperately needed confirmation that no, you weren't alone, and no, you weren't insane. These men deserve medals for propping up our morale during the dark days of 2004.