Cenk Uygur Of The Young Turks Explains Why He Left MSNBC

The Young Turks

Cenk Uygur, center, with The Young Turks team

Cenk Uygur is most known for the daily political news show on YouTube he hosts called The Young Turks. The success of that independent media venture, The Young Turks YouTube channel has a quarter of a million subscribers and over half a billion views, brought about the opportunity to host a show on MSNBC.

Uygur describes The Young Turks as a media revolution. He’s not afraid to speak out contrary to today’s corporate minded entertainment mass media. Apparently this didn’t sit too well within the walls of MSNBC as indicated by Cenk in the explanation video. Cenk was told to tone down his show several times and that Washington wasn’t pleased. Despite winning in his ratings time slot, even beating out the FoxNews behemoth, he was told that his show was not to be renewed and he was to be repositioned in a smaller role on the network at a significant increase in pay.

From YouTube:

Cenk Uygur (host of The Young Turks) explains why he turned down a new, significantly larger MSNBC contract after hosting a prime-time show on the network that was beating CNN in the key demo ratings.

Of course speculation can run the gamut on all the motives but it seems clear that Uygur ruffled some feathers, as journalists are supposed to do if you can refer to him as a such. To what extent is anyone’s guess but the clues can be found in two of the facts. One, he was winning in the ratings in his time slot and demographic which means money for the network. Two, he was offered a smaller role with a pay increase. This means that MSNBC was willing to take a double loss in order to remove Uygur from his show, as there is no guarantee for ratings, translate to income, of his replacement and a higher payout to him for less return. Someone’s panties are beyond bunched it would seem.

Uygur is known for aggressively interrogating leading Washington figures and challenging the political establishment, which he alleges made some MSNBC executives uneasy. He said [MSNBC President] Griffin had called him into his office in April and told him he had been talking to people in Washington and that they did not like Uygur’s tone.

MSNBC tried to get Cenk to play ball but to Cenk’s credit, he turned down the deal. His reasoning is that it’s not what he set out to do. It’s not what he does on his terms on his YouTube show nor is it what his fans who have made his channel and MSNBC show a ratings success expect. Someone with integrity, imagine that.

Uygur is still hosting The Young Turks, is a Huffington Post blogger and now contributor to the new Keith Olbermann show on Current TV. This is what is beautiful about a free open internet and the access it gives. Someone tried to diminish his voice and influence but through the internet he’s got his own platform that he created. He still can reach millions. In 2010 he was averaging 13 million views a month, no small platform. MSNBC nor the politicians can take that audience away from him. It’s that audience that he’s able to stand with while he, in his words, comes for them.

Part 1

Part 2


Jaylon Carter

Jaylon Carter is a blogger, social media marketing consultant, former Congressional Campaign Media & Communications Director, and a Hip Hop artist who performs under the stage name Timid (@timidmc). He also runs NetBuzzDigest.com, a subscription newsletter informing parents of current happenings on the Internet.

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