The best news you aren’t watching… but everyone else is
The Founders thought the Press important enough to protect it in the Constitution, while Donald Trump calls it the “enemy of the people”. Who to believe? There’s truth in both positions… an active, inquisitive Press is vital to a democracy but an inept or compliant one is a threat. Fortunately there’s not just one “Press” at all. “The Press” is now “The Media” with tens of thousands of print, audio, and video outlets varying wildly in intent, quality, and style. Information from ANY one source guarantees a distorted view of reality, so people are learning to get their information from a sampling of outlets. If you’re not already fans, we’d like to introduce you to one standout group unafraid to speak truth to power but willing to waits until it has some facts first…
History And Growth
The Young Turks (from the Anglicized term for “a young radical who fights the status quo”, not a reference to the Armenian Genocide) premiered in 2002, created by Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz, Dave Koller, and Jill Pike. It was an independent radio talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio, originally based out of the living room of Uygur. The Young Turks signed a distribution deal with Air America in 2006 and ended it’s run with Sirius in 2010. MSNBC used the opportunity to sign Cenk to a six month trial run as an anchor, but that didn’t go well. From HuffPo…
“Speaking on his “Young Turks” show, Uygur said that, though the ratings for his show had been satisfying MSNBC executives, his “tone” had not. According to his version of events, his departure from the network was the culmination of a protracted struggle with MSNBC management who wanted him to be more buttoned down.”
MSNBC tells a different story, but it turned out not to be much of a problem for the Turks anyway. The Young Turks had established the first daily streaming online talk show in 2006 during their Sirius run, and it was steadily gaining traction. Cenk’s no-BS, fair-if-not-balanced attitude was critical to building that audience so the Young Turks continued their focus around him. He was soon paired with Ana Kasparian, an intern for the Turks’ pop-culture segments, who stepped up as co-anchor. The Cenk-Ana duo that continues to this day was set, and the Turks were off and running. Today, they have over 2 billion lifetime views, more than 3.5 million subscribers to their various channels, and over 35 million viewers per month on YouTube, beating giants like CNN and ABC News. And they’re now gaining over 200,000 new subscribers a month.
The Young Turks are a LOT of Turks
The Young Turks is more than Cenk and Ana, though. A typical show involves Cenk and/or Ana delivering the news with commentary from 27 hosts from news, politics, sports, and culture backgrounds that bring a variety of viewpoints to each story they cover. The Young Turks Network has 8 shows under headings of News&Politics, Sports, Lifestyle, Gaming&Tech, and Entertainment. But The Turks are out investigating and breaking news, not just opining on it. As just three examples, Jordan Chariton was the one who broke the story of Donna Brazile leaking debate questions to the Clinton campaign as well as doing some excellent reporting on the Flint Water Crisis. Josh Fox helped bring the Dakota Access Pipeline to prominence, staying and reporting for the long term rather than dropping in for a photo-op-arrest (we’re looking at you, Amy Goodman!) Here’s a sampling of Cenk, Ana, and some of the other Young Turks…
Cenk’s Rousing Speech On Getting Money Out of Politics, video, Feb 2017
Who the Hell is Ana Kasparian, video, Jun 2013
Your Democracy Has Been Stolen; Time For Revolution, Jimmy Dore Show, Oct 2016
Shaun King: Why I joined The Young Turks, video, Jan 2017
Jordan DESTROYS North Dakota TV Anchor on DAPL, video, Feb 2017
Paul Krugman Called Out For Shilling For HRC, video, Oct 2016
From the very beginning, The Young Turks was envisioned as an alternative to the Corporate Media that inundates our world. They’ve carried that philosophy through their reporting and reporters, but they aren’t stopping there. Here are three projects the Turks are working on that won’t just offer an alternaive to mainstream media, but a different model for it as well…
The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) and TYT Network are collaborating on a new investigative video news production, “TYT Investigates,” that will feature high-quality, high-impact investigative videos and panel discussions targeted at the viewers who have watched The Young Turks YouTube Channel more than 1 billion times since 2005. The first documentary, “Who Took Down Stockton?,” examines how Stockton, Calif., became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy. The piece, published Monday, May 20, at 3 p.m. PST, highlights the key characters and decisions that brought the city to the brink and traces the trail all the way back to Wall Street. Watch it now on TYT or CIR’s investigative YouTube channel, The I Files.
TYT Reporting Teams-
The network wants to greatly increase the size of its news team in order to provide even more political coverage for its viewers. To that end, Uygur and his team have launched a crowdfunding campaign through which they hope to raise $2 million to support the creation of four new investigative news teams. Each team would consist of a single reporter, who would be surrounded by editors, producers, and camera people. With an expanded stable of capable journalists, The Young Turks hopes to deliver more of the brazenly anti-establishment stories its viewers have come to expect.
“[I]magine what we could do with FIVE full reporting teams!” says Ugyur in a post introducing his company’s latest crowdfunding campaign. “Let me at ‘em. We have to keep Trump accountable. We have to keep the establishment accountable. No one is doing investigative pieces on the donors, the appointees, the leaders in Congress. There are so many things to investigate and uncover. Let us stand up for the American people.”
TYT Launches “Justice Democrats”-
“The Democrats used to represent something wonderful – voters,” Uygur said in his announcement, listing all the victories made possible by “Strong Progressives.” But he says that lately, Democrats haven’t lived up to their party’s ideals, “There was a hostile takeover. Multinational corporations decided, ‘hey you know what we need the Supreme Court on our side,’” Uygur says, providing context on how the Democratic party started to bow down to corporations.
“We want you to represent ‘just us’ not your donors. Just the voters, not your donors. So from now on there will be a new wing of the Democratic party and it will be the Justice Democrats. We will seek social justice, economic justice, racial justice and plain old justice, justice,” Uygur announced.
He adds that people can nominate others through their site. “None of our candidates are allowed to take corporate money or big donor money…we will be going down the road of representing the people, being sourced by the people, and getting our funding from the people.”
The Young Turks are creating a new model for what journalism will have to become to survive, at least with any shred of integrity. They’re aggressive, fact-based, and entertaining. They won’t just report the line from corporations or politicians; they’ll dig deeper until the whole story is told. To stay independent, they’re relying on their audience to realize the value of what they’re providing and then step up to support it… sort of a public radio model with energy. Take time to take a look at The Young Turks… you’ll be up to speed when all your friends are talking about them!
The Young Turks Reporter Grills Donna Brazile On Leaking CNN Question To Clinton Campaign, by Justin Baragona on MediaIte, Oct 2016
Flint Water Crisis: Who Is To Blame? (video) by The Young Turks, Jan 2016
The Young Turks Hires Ex-Al Jazeera America Producer, Two Others After Raising $1.5 Million in Crowdfunding, by Todd Spangler in Variety, Mar 2017
Center for Investigative Reporting and The Young Turks Network Launch ‘TYT Investigates’, Center for Investigative Reporting, May 2013
Most Americans Don’t Think The Media Is Honest, by Natalie Jackson on HuffingtonPost, Jan 2017
Rejecting Lucrative Offer, Cenk Uygur Leaves MSNBC After Being Told to “Act Like an Insider”, interview with Juan Gonzalez on Democracy NOW!, Jul 2011
Cenk Uygur Launches A “New Wing” Of Democratic Party: Justice Democrats, by Tim Hains on RealClearPolitics, Jan 2017
The Young Turks Are Beating Major Media Operations—on YouTube, by Laura Flanders in The Nation, Mar 2017
The Young Turks Raising $2 Million To Fund Four Investigative Teams, by Sam Gutelle on TubeFilter, Dec 2016
Contribute to The Young Turks Network, funding page by ActBlue
Investigative Reporters vs The Establishment, The Young Turks Funding Page for their investigative reporter teams