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Cenk Uygur and the ethos of corporate-owned media
July 21, 2011 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Glenn Greenwald writes about Cenk Uygur's recent firing from MSNBC in Salon Magazine Despite having achieved the highest ratings ever for MSNBC last quarter (beating FOX News), Cenk Uygur was fired from the network this week. Rev. Al Sharpton will be replacing Cenk in the coveted timeslot formerly occupied by Keith Olbermann. Glenn talks about he reasons a major network might do this and Cenk introduces some revelations about why he was let go in in this weeks Young Turks podcast.

Previously Dan Rather, had some interesting things to say about corporate ownership of news outlets.
posted by Poet_Lariat (53 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now Joe can't come within 500 feet of Mary. He also can't call her, or burn his name in gas on her lawn. I'm gonna let you in on a little secret, Joe is me. And Mary is a composite of 12 different women and a small independent film company all of whom couldn't deal with me because I'm too real.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:17 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this where I air my suspicion that the only reason The Daily Show and such are allowed to exist is because Viacom doesn't own any news channels or defense companies?
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on July 21, 2011 [12 favorites]


I watched Cenk's piece earlier and came away impressed, as usual.

He got the axe for the same reason Keith Olbermann did - not so much for what they said but for how they said it. Which really sucks because it's just one more indictment of the business class that owns and runs the news industry. Toe the line, tone it down, don't rock the boat, be more respectful to the power elite.

I dare anybody to watch Cenk Uygur and come away with impression that he's not invested in being a hard-hitting, fact-finding, truth-telling journalist. MSNBC is working overtime these days to prove that they are just the same old shit in a different package - they're happy to have progressives' eyeballs, but the rest of them can just fuck off.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:40 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with Keith Olbermann on most issues but I have to say I get the impression he's kind of like the Harlan Ellison of TV infotainment anchors. Massively talented but virtually impossible to work with for any length of time. Although to be fair, it may be in Keith's case that it is terrible to have him work for you but perfectly fine to work for or with him.

If you had asked me to come up with someone I would find more irritating than Cenk Uygur to fill his timeslot I would have told you I couldn't do it. But MSNBC has proven me wrong. Why do the cable channels seem determined to put buffoonish blowhards on my television? I agree with most of these guys (the ones on MSNBC) and I still can't stomach watching them! CNN is no better and used to be worse.

Do people really like watching people like Ed Schultz, Cenk Uygur, that Rick Sanchez guy who got canned at CNN, or those other yahoos whose names I can't recall? It's like they took all the worst parts of Chris Matthews without including any of the redeeming features.
posted by Justinian at 4:47 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


I liked Cenk's sincerity in that TYT clip, but I'm always hesitant about embracing disdain for political figures. I feel like it can be a bit lazy even if it is popular, and that people tend to live up or down to one's expectations. I'll be watching more of TYT though, because my curiosity is definitely piqued.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:48 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cenk's a class act with a high level of personal integrity. That alone disqualifies him from a frontman role in mainstream media, as he found out. I'll continue to watch him.
posted by Revvy at 4:50 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is this where I air my suspicion that the only reason The Daily Show and such are allowed to exist is because Viacom doesn't own any news channels or defense companies?

Cenk Uygur was hired by MSNBC owner GE, which is a defense company, and fired by new MSNBC owner Comcast, which doesn't own any news channels or defense companies. So probably not!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:51 PM on July 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


^ other news channels /slinks away
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:53 PM on July 21, 2011


It's like they took all the worst parts of Chris Matthews without including any of the redeeming features.
posted by Justinian


I was going to snark and ask "what redeeming features?" but then my own snark made me seriously wonder what redeeming features you are talking about! So, unsnarkily, what redeeming features?
posted by haveanicesummer at 4:53 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


A provocative writer, this Greenwald fellow.
posted by Trurl at 4:54 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


why does any progressive watch cable news? I can always tell where someone gets their news by the news that they deem important to discuss. Stop watching cable news for a couple of months and watch how brainwashed your supposedly politically active friends seem when you talk politics with them. It's quite sad. Cable news is politics as sport. Doesn't matter if anyone is right, doesn't matter if anything changes, just as long as your side wins the game.
posted by any major dude at 4:55 PM on July 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


Why do the cable channels seem determined to put buffoonish blowhards on my television?

Search me. I'm equally confused about why people watch them when Charlie Rose is on TV 5 nights a week and Nightly Business Report comes on right afterwards. You would learn more about what's going on inthe world and why from watching those two programs for a month that you would watching cable news for a year. I admit to sometimes enjoying the weekend morning shows where people shout random insults at each other.
posted by anigbrowl at 4:56 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't possibly be the only one who is amazed that "Cenk Uygur" had a show all his very own in this climate, can I? Apart from all the incredibly shitty things that his exit implies, even?
posted by nevercalm at 4:57 PM on July 21, 2011


So, unsnarkily, what redeeming features?

Matthews worked in Washington and has an in-depth knowledge of process and the way DC works which I don't get from the others. He loves politics and it shows. That's something he had in common with the late Tim Russert.

I could have said they appear to have taken all the worst parts of Tim Russert without any of the redeeming features and felt comfortable with it.
posted by Justinian at 4:57 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Matthews worked in Washington and has an in-depth knowledge of process and the way DC works which I don't get from the others.
posted by Justinian at 4:57 PM


Interesting, I mostly only see Matthews in clips of his buffoonery. Repeatedly saying the same (wrong) thing loudly in hopes it'll turn right somehow. Thanks for the viewpoint.
posted by haveanicesummer at 5:01 PM on July 21, 2011


they appear to have taken all the worst parts of Tim Russert without any of the redeeming features and felt comfortable with it.

So you've met Luke?
posted by mek at 5:04 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


You've got to love automatic advertising sometimes.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:06 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rev. Al Sharpton will be replacing Cenk in the coveted timeslot formerly occupied by Keith Olbermann.

Facepalm.jpg
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:13 PM on July 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I agree with Keith Olbermann on most issues but I have to say I get the impression he's kind of like the Harlan Ellison of TV infotainment anchors.

That seems kind of bad-ass to me, actually.
posted by Trurl at 5:17 PM on July 21, 2011


Cenk's a class act

I was introduced to Cenk via this thread, and "class act" wasn't the impression I came away with (nor did said impression leave me with any desire not to avoid his future writing).

But I suppose it's possible that was an isolated tantrum rather than a pattern. Anybody have examples of his stuff that they'd hold up as a particularly clear-minded and insightful specimens?
posted by namespan at 5:33 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


You mean like the link in the O.P.?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:36 PM on July 21, 2011


one think Cenk confessed to that I've always suspected to be the network's MO when it comes to their news presenters is that they purposely seduce them with the perks, give them enough money afford a very large mortgage and put their kids in exclusive prep schools so they get so comfortable with the lavish lifestyle they become de facto lap dogs to the status quo. I'll never trust a journalist who gets paid so much money that walking away from it presents a opportunity for rationalization.
posted by any major dude at 5:37 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


as one of the only American "leftists" who occasionally criticizes Israeli policy I'm astonished that the guy was ever allowed within a hundred miles of of corporate television
posted by moorooka at 5:39 PM on July 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


You mean like the link in the O.P.?

No.
posted by namespan at 5:46 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Al Sharpton!? Seriously? This is the guy who's supposed to have more appeal to younger generations then Cenk!?
posted by delmoi at 6:01 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with Keith Olbermann on most issues but I have to say I get the impression he's kind of like the Harlan Ellison of TV infotainment anchors.

Harlan Ellison, the sucker of the Glass Teat. Mindless theater, a circus, a maximum.
posted by Mblue at 6:07 PM on July 21, 2011


I agree with Keith Olbermann on most issues but I have to say I get the impression he's kind of like the Harlan Ellison of TV infotainment anchors. Massively talented but virtually impossible to work with for any length of time. Although to be fair, it may be in Keith's case that it is terrible to have him work for you but perfectly fine to work for or with him.

If you had asked me to come up with someone I would find more irritating than Cenk Uygur to fill his timeslot I would have told you I couldn't do it. But MSNBC has proven me wrong.
Seriously? I like Olbermann's positions but I just can't stand his presentation style. It's just so larded up with this fake gravitas diction Cenk's style seems like he's talking to you the same way he talks in real life. Anyway I don't even watch TV anymore. I used to watch TDS/Colbert but they started formatting the graphics and stuff for HD – they got cut off on my CRT so I just gave up on it.
Cenk Uygur was hired by MSNBC owner GE, which is a defense company, and fired by new MSNBC owner Comcast, which doesn't own any news channels or defense companies. So probably not!
There's a bit of a logical inconsistency there.

But it's true that MSNBC did change hands between when they hired Olberman and Maddow and when Cenk started.
Matthews worked in Washington and has an in-depth knowledge of process and the way DC works which I don't get from the others. He loves politics and it shows. That's something he had in common with the late Tim Russert.
Yuck, that actually a mark against him, IMO.
posted by delmoi at 6:09 PM on July 21, 2011


I have to say I get the impression he's kind of like the Harlan Ellison of TV infotainment anchors.

Well, I dunno. Olbermann seems both large and pleasant.
posted by Malor at 6:13 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Preach to us on the evils of corporate media Glenn after we close the splash ad for the Economist. Take our page views and send our personal data via cookies to Google and other ad networks. Once we like you on Facebook and follow your tweets, you can package our entire social network to corporate advertisers. It it good to see Glenn making a stand.
posted by humanfont at 6:16 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cenk Uygur was hired by MSNBC owner GE, which is a defense company, and fired by new MSNBC owner Comcast, which doesn't own any news channels or defense companies. So probably not!

And the Daily Show and the Colbert Report are listed as comedies. Neither person would be allowed to anchor the news. They tell the important truths too often to the wrong people; to important people who loads of connections. People who are probably friends with board members of every network.
posted by notion at 6:18 PM on July 21, 2011


Al Sharpton descended irredeemably and irremediably into self-parody sometime in the previous century.

They're putting him on MSNBC specifically to discredit the things he'll vocally support-- most especially Obama.

I imagine Sharpton knows that, but they showed him the money.
posted by jamjam at 6:20 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


It it good to see Glenn making a stand.

If you actually, you know, read the article, you would know that the Guardian is financed by a public trust, and that this has some relevance to the current situation, and that your feeble attempt at criticism only serves as evidence of your ignorance. I imagine you only made it as far as "Greenwald" and then spat out some reactionary bullshit, though. Too bad.
posted by mek at 6:23 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Preach to us on the evils of corporate media Glenn after we close the splash ad for the Economist. Take our page views and send our personal data via cookies to Google and other ad networks. Once we like you on Facebook and follow your tweets, you can package our entire social network to corporate advertisers. It it good to see Glenn making a stand.

Indeed. But does a state of economic purity exist? Is there a way to define a global/national system of exchange in a manner where no exploitation occurs? Can we engage intellectually en masse without banner ads and popups? Perhaps the social relations themselves are the crux of a terrible evil, ignorance and avarice; what then of a secondary evil, the algorithms and analytics of the media giants? Maybe not as bad? Is the American body-politic like some giant flopping fish, seething in a profusion of propagandist inputs? And which has the upper hand? Can we decry the noble character of a nation squandered as the urgency of mass-media personalities which hawk crass trinkets? Or is the nation luridly engaged in its own undoing, eager to cut the soul-strings for a quick buck? Could it be that the discourse itself is booby-trapped? So that the advertisers, the plebians, and the elite, together in dialogue, can only construct the future ghost of a nation, a society unhinged?
posted by kuatto at 6:41 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Who have loads. Um, of connections.
posted by notion at 6:43 PM on July 21, 2011


...kind of like the Harlan Ellison of TV infotainment anchors.
That seems kind of bad-ass to me, actually.

Everybody I've ever met who knows Harlan Ellison thought he was a dick. But then again, the only people I know who have known Harlan are writers.
posted by lodurr at 7:05 PM on July 21, 2011


Preach to us on the evils of corporate media Glenn after we close the splash ad for the Economist. Take our page views and send our personal data via cookies to Google and other ad networks. Once we like you on Facebook and follow your tweets, you can package our entire social network to corporate advertisers. It it good to see Glenn making a stand.

Oh, by all means, we should require that anyone we listen to on matters of media balance and fairness take no steps to fund their operations.
posted by lodurr at 7:08 PM on July 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to watch TDS/Colbert but they started formatting the graphics and stuff for HD – they got cut off on my CRT so I just gave up on it.

I've been watching it in letterbox and I have to say that I've noticed particularly that they never put important stuff off into the sides. Sometimes it's laughable, like when Colbert does one of this fill-the-screen-with-faces gags, but the area filled leaves all this empty space to the sides.
posted by JHarris at 7:37 PM on July 21, 2011


[[ That seems kind of bad-ass to me, actually. ]]

Everybody I've ever met who knows Harlan Ellison thought he was a dick.


They're not mutually exclusive.
posted by Trurl at 8:10 PM on July 21, 2011


I'm equally confused about why people watch them when Charlie Rose is on TV 5 nights a week

...because in my opinon, Charlie Rose mostly just provides a platform for the business class to disseminate whatever they've decided is going to be the prevailing wisdom. Maybe I never gave him enough of a chance but in the wake of 9/11, Iraq, etc.... pointed follow-ups have been in pretty short supply.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:24 PM on July 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Cable news is politics as sport"

No shit, and that's why I love it.

And I love Chris Matthews.
posted by palidor at 9:00 PM on July 21, 2011


If you actually, you know, read the article, you would know that the Guardian is financed by a public trust, and that this has some relevance to the current situation, and that your feeble attempt at criticism only serves as evidence of your ignorance. I imagine you only made it as far as "Greenwald" and then spat out some reactionary bullshit, though. Too bad.

Except this wasn't an article in the Guardian, it was an article in Salon. You don't see the irony and hypocrisy here? I'm reading this article critical of corporate media, but first watch this ad to buy corporate media. As I read the mild criticism of MSNBC and corporate media, there is Rachel Maddow's ad, telling me to lean forward and watch MSNBC.
posted by humanfont at 9:06 PM on July 21, 2011


humanfont : I'm reading this article critical of corporate media, but first watch this ad to buy corporate media.

The article is critical of corporate controlled news. Not corporations in general nor advertising in general.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:28 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I first heard Cenk on the Best of the Left Podcast, and I appreciate his fervor and non-squirmy-ness. That being said, he was my least favorite clip on the podcast, just because it was hard for me to get over his shouty, I'm-Always-Right, bombastic way of talking. Him and Ed Schultz are like the Rush Limbaughs of the left. I don't like wind-baggery from either end of the spectrum. But it's a darn shame he lost his show for it.
posted by wowbobwow at 9:35 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


anigbrowl: " I admit to sometimes enjoying the weekend morning shows where people shout random insults at each other."

JACK GERMOND... WRONG!
posted by symbioid at 11:16 PM on July 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's an epic SNL skit.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:55 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Somebody's favorite "rebel news guy" fired, film at 11.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:22 AM on July 22, 2011


But then again, the only people I know who have known Harlan are writers.

I have an artist friend that likes him quite a lot but he may be biased as Harlan has given him thousands of dollars in the past for sculptures.
posted by the_artificer at 7:14 AM on July 22, 2011


I used to sorta-kinda like Sharpton. Check out the Weird Weekend Louis Theroux did with him though, and his absolute opportunism and complete lack of principle shines through.

Maybe Cenk just wasn't involved in enough drug transactions for MSNBC's liking.
posted by haroon at 7:18 AM on July 22, 2011


Cenk Uygur on Democracy Now
posted by homunculus at 8:55 AM on July 22, 2011


This sort of media purge over presentation style and tone is happening all across the board. Fox's show Red Eye recently told frequent guest Oderus Urungus not to come back onto the show, after Sarah Palin was decapitated in effigy at a Gwar concert. Oddly enough, they had no problem with the various times Obama was beheaded, or even Bush.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:16 AM on July 22, 2011


The article is critical of corporate controlled news. Not corporations in general nor advertising in general.

Salon Media Group is a publicly traded corporation
posted by humanfont at 10:24 AM on July 22, 2011


Cenk Uygur on Democracy Now

I'm mystified at the MSNBC statement [paraphrasing] Why he chose to depart in such a negative fashion. I can't believe they thought that was negative. His TYT clip seemed like such a mild disagreement, and he went out of his way to compliment his colleagues at MSNBC.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:29 PM on July 22, 2011


I've been watching it in letterbox and I have to say that I've noticed particularly that they never put important stuff off into the sides. Sometimes it's laughable, like when Colbert does one of this fill-the-screen-with-faces gags, but the area filled leaves all this empty space to the sides.

I said I gave up on TV, not those shows. I can still watch them online, but not as much as I used too, but just out of lazyness I don't watch them every day like I used too.

I have a 20th century TV and was watching over SD cable with no cable box. There was no way, as far as I know to switch to letterbox display
posted by delmoi at 1:05 AM on July 29, 2011


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