Stewart featured a report on the Boko Haram terrorists holding more than 200 schoolgirls hostage in Nigeria.
During the report, he discussed the #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign in which various celebrities, activists and politicians around the world used the hashtag to create international attention that forced the Nigerian government to act. Stewart noted that the “hashtag activism” did succeed in shaming Nigeria into accepting international help in locating the girls.
Stewart also featured a clip from Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in which he mocked the effort and called a photo of First Lady Michelle Obama with a #BringBackOurGirls sign “pathetic.”
And, then for Stewart, it was on.
“You know what Rush, you’re right,” Stewart said. “Sometimes the world has to choose sides.”
Showing a photo of Malala Yousufzai, the young Pakistani student-turned-activist who was nearly killed because she sought an education, with a #BringBackOurGirls sign and one of Rush shouting, he demonstrated the choice to the audience.
“So that’s our choice: Malala or Rush — the quivering rage heap who is apparently desperately trying to extinguish any remaining molecule of humanity that might still reside in the Chernobyl-esque superfund cleanup site that was his soul,” said Stewart. “Who should we choose? Well I don’t know, why don’t we tweet our votes to hashtag #F*@KYOURUSH.”
Twitter responded in a big way with the NSFW hashtag hitting a worldwide trend right behind #BringBackOurGirls.
As we continue to see more “Hashtag Activism” Twitter’s role in creating awareness and driving donations should be noted by all fundraisers, activists, non-profits and politicians.