I can't really agree with you or the NYT op-ed.
It seems your criticism is that young liberals (the ones you've met/associate with, anyway) are numbskulls who can only parrot whatever Stewart feed them. First, I don't think you can generalize that to the entirety of young liberals or to the entirety of the Daily Show's viewership. Second, if all that Jon managed to accomplish was bring some basic awareness of really fucked up or moronic policies and maybe got some otherwise apathetic young liberals to donate or volunteer or vote for something, then he's been a resounding success.
You (to perhaps a lesser degree), and the NYT op-ed, also seem to be fond of the "same-thing both sides" line of rhetoric (your bit about "nearly as much to drive a wedge" and basically the whole false-equivalence tone of the NYT article). This makes the really dangerous assumption that the young liberal crowd is somehow as extreme as the far-right, or that Stewart has been as misleading as right-wing propaganda. Young liberals, however knowledgeable they are or aren't on a particular issue, aren't pushing for anything that ought to be construed as politically extreme- no expropriation of private enterprise or property, no peace accords with ISIS, or anything else that would be out there on a political spectrum. Meanwhile, conservatives have been all about blocking marriage rights, defunding planned parenthood, privatizing social safety nets, revising (and whitewashing) history, entering more wars, etc- ideas that really can't go much further right. Same with Stewart- he might oversimplify or resort to soundbites, but he never deliberately misleads for political purposes, and doesn't claim to be fair and balanced while doing his thing.
Is Jon "driving a wedge" because he has a smarmy, humorous approach when discussing things like "hey, not letting gay people get married is pretty messed up and has no constitutional basis" or "gee, politician X really changes his lines of argument when convenient" or "y'know, people blocking healthcare for 9/11 responders, an issue that should be a political win-win for everyone, is fucking absurd"? Do we want to equivocate this kind of wedge-driving with rhetoric like "after they finish AP US History, they're ready to sign up for ISIS" or "the Mexicans coming over the border are rapists" or "you're either with us, or you're against us"?