Posts tagged "Cenk Uygur"

h/t: Aaron Wysocki at


We had Fox News mole Joe Muto on The Young Turks yesterday. Cenk asked the burning question we all wonder: Does Bill O’Reilly know it when he’s reporting fake news? Click through for the answer.

(via politiciansoc)

How awesome would it be if actress Ashley Judd ran for Senate and beat Mitch McConnell? (by Current)

Cenk and the TYT gang tell it like it is as usual.

(via Illinois marriage equality co-sponsor Steans on Current TV’s The Young Turks: “‘There’s really been a sea change of public opinion’ in favor”  // Current TV)

Cenk Uygur talks to state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Ill., about the marriage equality bill she has co-sponsored and seems poised to pass in Illinois.

“We passed civil unions here two years ago, and the nature of the conversations I’m having with my colleagues just two years later is really different. I think there’s really been a sea change of public opinion on this. Every day we see more people supporting what’s fair under our laws and treating everyone the same.”

Cenk Uygur talks with Current correspondent Jacki Schechner about two fast-food franchise owners that are cutting workers’ hours to part time so that they won’t have to offer them health insurance. Though the Affordable Care Act’s provisions don’t kick in until 2014, many are trying to blame Obamacare now for the cutbacks.

“It’s total baloney,” Schechner says. “There’s a larger influence here that doesn’t have anything to do with the Affordable Care Act — but it’s been demonized, and so it’s a good scapegoat.”

- h/t:

Current TV is considering putting itself up for sale, or entering into a partnership with another company, a spokesperson at the independent and politically progressive cable company told TPM Friday.

While nothing is formal yet, Laura Nelson, Current’s senior vice president for communications, said, “We’re exploring strategic options, including sale, also including partnerships or straight investment.”

The New York Post got the scoop late Thursday evening. Current’s CEO Joel Hyatt told the Post: “Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company. This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options.”

Hyatt and former Vice President Al Gore founded Current in 2005. Current hired progressive heartthrob Keith Olbermann in February 2011 to launch the network’s primetime programming. Cenk Uygur and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm later came on board to round out the evening lineup.

Olbermann was noticeably absent during the network’s Iowa caucus coverage and a couple Republican primary debates in early 2012. Reports of clashes between Olbermann and his bosses swirled, and Current finally ousted its star host in March.

h/t: David Taintor at TPM

On Current TV’s The Young Turks, Cenk Uygur discusses Fortune Magazine's report on Fast and Furious:

Cenk digs into Fortune Magazine’s report following a six-month investigation into claims that agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sold guns to straw purchasers for Mexican cartels during Operation Fast and Furious. Attorney General Eric Holder may be held in contempt, but Fortune concludes that ATF agents never purposely sold to cartels. 


Via The Huffington Post: “An Ohio-based radio DJ who ignited controversy last week after telling a concerned father he should “get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight” has apologized for his comments. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) notes that Dominic Dieter, the host of the popular “Rover’s Morning Glory” on Cleveland’s WMMS 100.7 FM radio (The Buzzard), issued an on-air apology for his statements this morning…”.* Ana Kasparian, Cenk Uygur, and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Young Turks.

David Frum on Current TV’s The Young Turks: “The GOP is run by around a couple dozen of people.” 

'Fuck You Greg Gutfeld' - Ana Kasparian of TYT on Fox Host’s NOW Remarks (by TheYoungTurks)

And Ana Kasparian is right. Greg Gutfeld, it’s time to go jackin’ it in San Diego!

After Current TV fired Keith Olbermann last week, the combative host vowed he’d sue his (most recent) former network. Olbermann and his lawyers filed suit in California yesterday, and their allegationsmake for quite the read. Olbermann’s complaints with his former employer range from the social to the technical. Here are the ten most serious—and funniest—charges Olbermann makes against Current TV and its executives in the order they appear in the lawsuit:

1. Current co-founder Joel Hyatt was kind of socially awkward: A thread running through Olbermann’s lawsuit is that Current tried to distance him from his representation, sometimes to disadvantage him in negotiations. But in this case, Olbermann makes a more personal allegation, that “Hyatt also attempted to isolate Olbermann from his professional representatives in an awkward attempt to form a close personal friendship with his new star.”

2. Current underinvested in its web presence, to the detriment of its audience base: Sometime, these charges are an opportunity for snark, as when the suit alleges “Stunningly, Al Gore’s network was not interested in establishing a strong internet presence.” But the suit also suggests that the network was slow to build out its web presence and wouldn’t allow Olbermann’s show to stream online, a hook that might have helped viewers who didn’t have Current or weren’t sure where to find the network on their channel lineups, continue to watch the program. “Current even refused Olbermann’s request and contractual right, to stream segments of the Program and additional web-only content over the Program Website. It is both sad and ironic that a channel owned and founded by Al Gore, for the stated purpose of creating an independent perspective, free from the control of large corporate interests, restricted the rights of its most celebrated commentator and Chief News Officer to fully broadcast his opinions over, of all things, the internet.”

3. Current’s facilities were a mess: This has been one of the most commonly reported points of dissension between Current and Olbermann, particularly after an electrical failure while the program was on-air led Olbermann to bring a candle on set. The lawsuit alleges that “Current President David Bohrman admitted ‘the 33rd St. facility is never going to be a professional facility. We need to move to HD, and a better location.’ He further admitted in that same e-mail ‘We are paying for a Porsche and getting a Yugo.’”

4. Hyatt behavior threatened Olbermann’s staff: “Hyatt’s leadership was highly erratic. Just days before the premiere of the Program, Hyatt even threatened to fire Olbermann and the loyal staff members who had followed him from MSNBC to Current. Hyatt behaved as if he had just paid Olbermann to become his puppet instead of the Chief News Officer of the network.”

5. Hyatt and Current were moustache-twirling blackmailers: “Hyatt blackmailed Olbermann into agreeing to put himself in a position that no other major talent in the entertainment or news industries has been forced into in decades: fending for himself without the benefit of hire advisors. Olbermann gave in to Hyatt’s blackmail for the purposes of saving the premiere of the Program and the jobs of those who worked on it. Olbermann left the meeting devastated at having discovered that he was working for a blackmailer.”

6. Hyatt doesn’t know how the television ratings system works: “The very success of the Program was compromised when Hyatt, displaying his utter lack of industry knowledge, ordered incorrect ratings data and then disseminated it to the media. In essence, Hyatt took what could have been a victory and turned it into an unrecoverable defeat. A show only has one opportunity to be launched. In reality, the Program’s premiere had higher ratings than both CNN and MSNBC in the key demographic for advertisers. The incorrect ratings purchased and disseminated by Hyatt, because they did not contain statistics for same day viewing through DVRs and other such methods, did not reveal that the Program had outrated MSNBC. Because Hyatt did not know that there were two types of ratings and ordered the cheaper ones, the Program missed out on its lone opportunity to tout its success.”

8. Olbermann didn’t think the network should hire Jennifer Granholm or Cenk Uygur, but he really doesn’t like Uygur: “Hyatt and Bohrman asked Olbermann about the possibility of hiring Cenk Uygur. Olbermann told them that he did not believe Uygur would be a good choice. Olbermann opined to Bohrman that Uygur had difficulting separating facts from things he wanted to be true…It was, therefore, reasonable for Olbermann to decline to be associated with a host with a questionable journalistic standard and a show that was not up to the standards expected by the ‘Countdown’ audience.”

h/t: Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress

(via Heather at Crooks and Liars: Cenk Uygur Blasts Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt for Defending Murder of Trayvon Martin)

I’m not sure what the Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt thought he had to gain by going on the air with The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur, but he found himself getting blasted after defending George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin and claiming he had a right to shoot him dead.

Pratt’s argument; that one witness claimed he saw Zimmerman on the ground being beaten up by the unarmed kid who was 100 pounds lighter than him and once the guy he was stalking was getting the better of him in a fight, he had the right to shoot him dead. Unbelievable. Needless to say, Uygur went off on him for promoting that level of vigilantism.

This guy is a real piece of work. The Southern Poverty Law Center has this on his background from a report they issued in 2001.

And here he was back in 2009 arguing on MSNBC’s Hardball that we should have everyone packing heat at presidential events.

Current TV made a rapid switch to progressive political programming—and some big-name talent with big-time personalities that might conflict with what the network wants.

You would be forgiven if you thought, at first, that the new incarnation of Current TV looks a lot like the old version of MSNBC. After six years as a nonpartisan news network – albeit one co-founded by former Democratic vice president Al Gore – Current launched its transition to a 24/7 channel with an unabashedly liberal vantage point just in time for Election 2012. And it did so with two headliners plucked straight from MSNBC, the cable channel specializing in progressive political commentary.

  But while there is barely a degree of separation, Current’s chief executive officer and co-founder Joel Hyatt says that what the network offers is very distinct from MSNBC – or anyone else, for that matter. While Fox News is “infotainment” and CNN is “limited by their legacy,” Hyatt calls MSNBC “a confused brand.”

“It’s liberal at night, conservative in the morning, and in the middle it’s nothing at all because it needs to fit in under its NBC parent,” Hyatt told AlterNet. “And even its liberal evenings are inauthentic. We [at Current TV] are liberal because it’s what we do and how we live our lives.”

Hyatt added: “We are a fact-based network that is interested in solutions to problems, not just screaming and hollering about them. We think there’s a huge audience that’s out there that wants that as well.”

Keith Olbermann defected from MSNBC to Current in 2011. He walked into a reported $10 million salary and equity stake in exchange for his “Countdown” show, but nearly backed outfive months later as the network endured an uncomfortably public tussle with its marquee star. This month, after a brief leave for bronchitis, Olbermann returned to “Countdown” with a black backdrop replacing the set he had reportedly complained about.

On Current, “Countdown” continues Olbermann’s interviews, fast-paced commentary, and his “Worst Persons in the World” segment. (Blogger Andrew Breitbart won the dubious honor last Monday – not for the first time.) With the shift to Current, Olbermann welcomed an entirely new set of regular contributors, including Matt Taibbi, a journalist for Rolling Stone; Kate Sheppard, an environmental journalist for Mother Jones; author Jeremy Scahill, and activist and comedian Maysoon Zayid.

When “Countdown” debuted on Current last June, the network finished the weekahead of CNN with viewers aged 25-54 in the 8pm time-slot, even though Current is in 40 percent fewer homes than CNN. This was quite a turn for Current, which averaged 30,000 viewers in primetime in the pre-“Countdown” quarter of 2011. Last September, the show hit 310,000 total viewers for a Tuesday night show where Olbermann interviewed former U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson about former vice president Dick Cheney’s memoir. This is recognition of Olbermann’s reputation as a brilliant and creative host who gets to heart of key issues, according to Hyatt.

“Keith Olbermann was the only journalist in America who saw the significance in the Occupy movement,” Hyatt said. “He covered it so well and so consistently that he shamed the mainstream media into taking notice.”  

While “Countdown” is still not a leader in its time-slot, it remains Current’s biggest name, making the internal wrangling with Olbermann all the more significant. Olbermann, after all, has a history of burning bridges. He first came to MSNBC from ESPN in 1997, and then again in 2003 after a stint with Fox Sports. After his acrimonious departure from MSNBC, Olbermann’s trademark talents and temper are on Current’s docket, and, while “Countdown” endures, Olbermann doesn’t appear to feel any particular kindness to the network that gave it a new home: it’sreported that he ignores emails from the West Coast executives, complains about his car service, and is irritated with the network’s low-budget production. (Hence, the black background that debuted on the show recently.) Current seems to be still trying to figure out how to navigate the implications of this. When it put out afull-page New York Times ad ahead of the Florida primary coverage, “Countdown” was the show promoted in the largest type. Hyatt said that Current is particularly proud of “Countdown” as representing the network’s new direction. But in the New York Times ad, Current’s two other political hosts are pictured. Olbermann is nowhere to be seen.

Cenk Uygur, meanwhile, brought his popular news show, “The Young Turks,” to Current after a spending a few years as an MSNBC contributor and substitute anchor. Last year, he had a short stint as an “MSNBC Live” anchor in the wake of Olbermann’s departure, but left the channel for Current after a dispute over a time slot change—and Uygur said that followed the network telling him to “tone it down” on his show, and that he was too combative against “those in power.” While television ratings are “growing,” according to Hyatt, “no news program on television has a younger audience” than “The Young Turks.” Perhaps a premonition of what was to come for him both politically and professionally, the 2000 election was the first time Uygur, a former Republican, voted Democrat: he cast his ballot for Gore.

Current is also looking to develop a liberal counterpart to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” as well as a Sunday morning talk show, a la “Meet the Press”; indeed, Hyatt said that it intends to “build out an entire 24/7 schedule” over time, and that announcements are expected about this in the coming weeks and months. Current has also brought on Jennifer Granholm, the former Democratic governor of Michigan, to host “The War Room,” an hour-long broadcast specializing in electoral politics that airs on weeknights. And with a nod to its former niche in investigative broadcast, Current is keeping “Vanguard” on its platform; the Peabody Award-winning documentary series may be most well known for itsaffiliation with Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who were imprisoned in North Korea while on assignment.

The New York Times has pointed out that on the night of the Iowa caucuses – when Keith Olbermann was absent — Current’s average viewer was 36 years old, while CNN’s was 56, Fox News’ was 63, and MSNBC’s was 65. For whatever worth is measured by Twitter followers, Current easily bests MSNBC: nearly 719,000 people follow @current, while @msnbc has just over 178,000 followers. (To be fair, @maddow, the Twitter account of MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, alone has well over two million followers. Olbermann, Cenk, and Granholm combined have about 400,000.) It has yet to be seen, though, whether Current’s business independence will translate into the kind of rigorous, interesting, and meaningful broadcast that cannot be found elsewhere, MSNBC included.

But while it fights to make the channel available to viewers, Current can – and does — amplify the appeal of its independence. The Occupy movement that “Countdown” was one of the earliest to cover is shining a light on the consequences of corporate cronyism just as Current promotes its newly liberal stance in programming: independent progressive television that is sure to resonate with its target audience.

As part of the swift and radical turnaround from its nonpartisan roots, Current went for the jugular. It brought on hosts that already had outsized reputations, whether from their MSNBC and online platforms or, in Granholm’s case, a host who can brag of significant political experience. Hyatt heralds Granholm’s real-world background as turning the tables on the political pundit formula. “She’s lived it,” he said, noting that she wasn’t only a governor, but also an attorney general. “It’s not all opinions in her case … I believe she’s going to be a TV star, but it’s going to be because of her experience. She knows what questions to ask. She’s not just an interviewer; she can have a conversation because she’s been there.”

MSNBC, on the other hand, cultivates hosts from the ground up. Melissa Harris-Perry, a Tulane University professor and columnist for The Nation, is at the helm of her new show after having spent years as a featured contributor and guest host on “The Rachel Maddow Show”. Likewise, Chris Hayes was a frequent contributor and guest host on Maddow’s show, as well as an editor for The Nation, before being given his shot in the spotlight last August with the weekend opinion show, “Up with Chris Hayes.” Maddow herself found spectacular success when she was brought to MSNBC for her first turn in television after hosting a syndicated Air America radio show. She used to be a guest-host on “Countdown” in its MSNBC days, filling in for Keith Olbermann.

Call your cable company to request Current TV if yours doesn’t already!

h/t: Anna Clark at AlterNet