Creator / Cenk Uygur

A rising political commentator/pundit and analyzer, the Turkish-American Cenk Kadir Uygur (born March 21, 1970) is the main host and creator of The Young Turks on YouTube, who wanted to start a liberal political and entertainment show. Born in Istanbul, his Muslim family emigrated to New Jersey when he was eight, but he switched from Muslim to agnostic later in his life, and he worked as an assistant attorney after graduating from Pennsylvania University. Starting off as a Northeast moderate Republican, Cenk subsequently switched into a liberal/progressive, but he says he retains most of his old stances. His most defining view is that multinational corporations have bribed Congress, manipulating the political system through the media and think tanks in order to shift the spectrum further right-wing, while making money off the backs of the middle and working class. Unsurprisingly, he is not a fan of such an endeavor.

By and large he views both the Democrats and Republicans as jointly-owned subsidiaries of those same multinational corporations, Cenk essentially views the Democrats as Dirty Cowards and believes they are capitulating to this process, but he gives credit where it's due. He holds a particular soft spot in that towards Alan Grayson, Russ Feingold, Anthony Wiener and Bill Clinton, though he still gives Clinton flak for allegedly contributing to the economic recession and allowing corporate control of the media. His view on the Republicans is even harsher, but he still has a soft spot for old-school Republicans like Alan Simpson, who he believes are dead wrong on the policies, but right on the issues. He also believes that the mainstream media deliberately leads to an unwillingness to genuinely and forcefully challenge orthodox political positions and conventional wisdom. He has also argued that modern American political journalism fails to meet its obligation of reporting on the news in an objective manner, preferring a neutral approach to news stories, so as not to be accused of taking sides, even when there's already a clear distinction between fact and fiction.

To say that he disliked George W. Bush's administration would be a massive understatement. He viewed Bush as a Tyrant Takes the Helm type, with Vice President Cheney as the Man Behind the Man. Although Cenk was initially positive of Barack Obama, he quickly took an increasingly critical attitude towards Obama's policies, believing the policies and initiatives of Obama's administration were shifting further to the right and that Obama made unnecessary and preemptive tangible and ideological concessions to his opponents. On October 21, 2010, he became an official contributor and substitute anchor to MSNBC, filling in for Dylan Ratigan and Ed Schultz, among others. On January 21 of the following year, Cenk hosted his own segment on the 6 p.m. Eastern slot for MSNBC, after Keith Olbermann parted ways with the network. He earned immense ratings, enough that MSNBC beat CNN and Fox News by June, but his contract with MSNBC ended after he turned down an offer that involved more money, but less prominence. According to Cenk, the head of MSNBC told him "people in Washington were concerned about your tone".

Tropes related to Cenk Uygur include:

  • The Last DJ: He left MSNBC after they offered him a lucrative contract in exchange for toning down his rhetoric.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: Believes this is true of Bankers in general, and also makes him believe that they are a (or the) Big Bad. Specific examples are Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, Enron, Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan Chase...
  • No Pronunciation Guide: His first name is pronounced with a J (Jenk). "C" sounds like "J" in Turkish.
  • Not So Different: Ronald Reagan claimed to have left the Democrats for the same reasons Cenk left the Republicans - the parties left them.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He claims that Bush started making slightly more reasonable decisions by the end of his final term.
    • Cenk is no fan of Hillary Clinton, and spent months criticizing the DNC choosing her over Bernie Sanders. When Clinton lost the 2016 election to Trump, Cenk was very solemn and subdued when it came to discussing her for quite some time afterwards. When the Young Turk community voted Hillary third in their list of the most hated people of 2016note , he expressed both relief and disappointment, claiming Clinton had been through enough already.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Cenk gushed about Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann on many occasions, for being the first few truly (in his view) progressive voices on television. Between Con(servative) Job of the day and Interviews with Maddow, Cenk finally got his chance to take a crack at it himself, now employed by Al Gore at Current TV.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Very fond of delivering these. His view is that pretty much 90% of Washington simply doesn't care about actual beliefs or principles and that their votes are simply up for sale; also that the mainstream media have completely given up on the principle of actually doing their job of exposing the truth and simply reprint what the politicians say without challenge. He claims to be a firsthand observer of the last one, as he left MSNBC when they essentially told him that Washinton was unhappy with his refusal to "play ball," as he often puts it. The most scathing and memorable of these speeches is his infamous "USA Today, 'US safer, Bush says'" headline rant, AKA "USA Today, you suck balls!"
    Cenk: USA Today, 'US safer, Bush says'" headline rant, AKA "USA Today, you suck balls!"
  • The Rival: There are several for Cenk: in politics, one of his favorite guests is Ron Paul, despite their polarized political views. On the internet, one of his strongest rivals is Lee Doren, the Right-wing libertarian host of How The World Works (itself a popular Youtube channel) and former employee of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank.
  • Spin-Off: Back when Cenk was in MSNBC, most of his interviews were moved onto TYT Interviews.
  • Stupid Evil: He apparently thinks of the Republicans as this, too, who in his view are willing to happily and knowingly commit political suicide out of spite (see Blatant Lies entry above).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A frequent way that he criticizes the Obama administration.
    • Gave a passing one to Mark Udall after his vote in support of the NDAA.
    • Did the same to Sherrod Brown, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over not taking part in the Rand Paul filibuster of Brennan's nomination to the CIA.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: In 2010, Cenk announced the birth of his son, Prometheus Maximus Uygur.
    • He also had a lot of fun with the fact that Mitt Romney's dressage horse was named "Rafalka". He must have said it over twenty times in four minutes.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": On top of his extremely controversial opinions on politics, he's still been known to deny or at least negate the full extent of the Armenian genocide. It also doesn't help that naming a show after the Young Turks party is something akin to show called "The National Socialists." However, his main co-host Ana Kasparian is Armenian, which either gives him N-Word Privileges or is just like having a Jewish person on the aforementioned show.
    • He retracted his denial in 2016, saying that he was going to refrain from commenting on the topic and acknowledging that he doesn't know enough about it. In 2017 he fully acknowledged that the genocide happened.