A rising political commentator, analyzer and ex-pundit, the Turkish-American Cenk Uygur is the main host and creator of The Young Turks
, 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:
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Unintentionally, since his station is called "The Young Turks" after a political clique of reformists who seized power in the Ottoman Turkish Empire to try and institute broad changes to the previously absolute monarchy. In spite of these beginnings, they're most known for what they did a few years after coming into power, when they tried to exterminate the non-Turkish non-Muslim populations of the Empire. See Unfortunate Implications below.
- Always Chaotic Evil: His view of Republicans as a whole, with varying degrees of "chaotic" and "evil".
- Big Good: This is what fans of TYT actually view about Cenk himself as the founder, host and CEO of The Young Turks. In addition, he apparently spearheads, if not founded Wolf-Pac.
- He painted Obama in this light during the 2008 election, but his opinion of Obama's policies changed that. Nowadays, he's switched that role to Senator Bernie Sanders, an Independent from Vermont, though Cenk went on record to say that the only politician he would ever trust "blankly" would be Russ Feingold.
- In addition, he views Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton in this light during their presidencies, even though he doescall them out for their bad decisions (internment of Japanese-Americans for Roosevelt; deregulating the markets, allowing corporate control of the media and signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law for Clinton).
- Broken Pedestal: MSNBC, after being told to him by its head, "We are the establishment."
- Al Jazeera, as well, after finding out that they published more pro-war arguments calling for strikes against Syria.
- Catch Phrase: So many.
- "Of course!"
- "Elbow from the sky!"
- "Sad day for you."
- "How's that X working out for Y?"
- "I jump in it!"
- "Down goes X!"
- "But are they not merciful!"
- "Let him/her go!"
- "That's awesome."
- "Wa siktir!" (Turkish for holy sh*t)
- "It's about the money, Lebowski!"
- "Wrong again, Bob."
- Chivalrous Pervert: Cenk routinely makes suggestive comments about attractive women and has a top ten list of hottest celebrities even though he is happily married and makes it a point of pride to stand up for what he considers to be women's rights.
- Co-Dragons: His view of Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: He essentially views most multinationals as this and views them as the Big Bad of politics as a whole. The Koch Brothers in particular get blamed for that.
- Defector from Decadence: Inverted; in his own words and his point of view, the Republicans left him when they became extremist to him.
- Dirty Coward: His view of most Democrats, but he rationalizes it as Obfuscating Stupidity, since he views them in the same complicit light as the Republicans.
- Double Standard: sees him claim that there is one between the treatments of Trayvon Martin and Abdulrahman al-Awlaki. He also uses it to paint an incredibly dark view of President Obama himself.
- Dragon-in-Chief: He thinks of this about Mitt Romney.
- Enemy Mine: Although his viewpoint on Obama's presidency isn't a positive one, he voted for him on the grounds that a Romney presidency would be worse.
- Enemy Civil War: His take on the divide between the Tea Party and the Republican establishment.
- This is exemplified by the duel for the 2012 Republican nomination. The presumptive frontrunner is Mitt Romney; the rest of the candidates style themselves as the "anti-Romney", with Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum as his most notable opponents.
- Full-Circle Revolution: Cenk expressed disapproval over his perception of Obama's continuation of Bush's policies.
- General Failure: His view of Don Rumsfeld as Defense Secretary.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot
- Gratuitous Foreign Language: TYT pokes good-natured fun at all languages in general, though Cenk seems to be particularly fascinated with German words.
- Hate Dom: Considerably amongst those who oppose him and actually know he exists because of the Audience-Alienating Premise that he and all other political programs show. But more personally for him, he really doesn't like Peyton Manning, best shown at his elation at Manning's loss to Seattle in 2014.
- Character Development: He later admits that he wanted Manning to play a better game, only for him to lose anyway, so Cenk would say "All right, it wasn't his fault." As it stands, due to the utter blowout, Cenk is starting to feel bad for rubbing it in Manning's face every time he loses.
- Hot-Blooded: He was far more prone to this behavior back when he was a radio talk show host.
- Implacable Man: As this arm-wrestling match shows.
- Insistent Terminology: He always refers to himself as a progressive, not a liberal.
- Large Ham
- The Last DJ: He left MSNBC after they offered him a lucrative contract in exchange for toning down his rhetoric.
- Love It or Hate It: Like most political shows, those who agree with him generally like his no holds barred, confrontational style. Those who disagree with him simply hate it.
- 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 starting making slightly more reasonable decisions by the end of his final term.
- 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, . 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 is 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.
- Rousing Speech: Right here.
- Spin-Off: Back when Cenk was in MSNBC, most of his interviews were moved onto TYT Interviews.
- 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.