It seems quite obvious to me that he is: an entertaining journalist. Matt Zoller Seitz nods vigorously:
Last Week is doing what media watchdogs (including the Peabody Awards) keep saying that The Daily Show does — practicing real journalism in comedy form — but it’s doing it better, and in a simpler, yet more ambitious, ultimately more useful way. If Stewart’s show is doing what might be called a reported feature, augmenting opinions with facts, Oliver’s show is doing something closer to pure reporting, or what the era of web journalism calls an “explainer,” often without a hook, or the barest wisp of a hook. …
If Oliver’s show hadn’t come along, it seems possible that The Daily Show and its time-slot partner (come January, it’ll be former Daily Show correspondent Larry Wilmore’s The Minority Report) would have become televisual furniture, another thing that’s just mysteriously Still On, and that the habituated audience keeps watching without ever feeling dissatisfied.
Oliver’s show threw a wrench into that possible outcome by taking core bits that once were the sole province of The Daily Show (the punny/smart-assed headlines, the “gotcha” deconstructions of political chicanery, the “Does this person I am interviewing know I am putting them on?” segments, the occasionally surreal imagery) and putting them at the service of education. I’ve watched every installment of Last Week since its debut. Every time, I’ve come away feeling that I’ve truly learned something. In an increasingly degraded journalistic landscape, that’s an astonishing achievement.