Other Group

The Young Turks Network (TYT)

Logo of The Young Turks show and TYT Network. With padding for display purposes. (link) by Auguel is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 (link)
Website:

tyt.com/

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Type:

Online Media Network

Political News Commentary

Creators:

Cen Uygur

Ben Mankiewicz

Dave Koller

Formation:

2002

The Young Turks Network (TYT) is a media network founded by Cenk Uygur that spans numerous radio shows, web shows, television shows, and podcasts. TYT’s YouTube channel currently has 5.2 million subscribers. In 2019, TYT was ranked the most popular news source for 18-24 year olds. [1]

TYT is considered to have a left-of-center alignment and is popular with young Democrats, particularly supporters of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Despite a populist outlook and aversion to corporate influence, TYT has accepted funding from mainstream sources. It has also faced criticism for its handling of a successful 2020 unionization effort and longstanding associations with denial of the World War I-era Armenian genocide.

History

In 2002, The Young Turks was established as Sirius Radio’s first original program by Cenk Uygur, a political pundit on local broadcast television. Uygur was soon joined by anchor and tv host Ben Mankiewicz and later by Jill Pike, who later became a vice president at Vox Media. TYT also began broadcasting on XM Radio in 2002. [2]

In 2005, TYT came to national prominence with its “Live On Air Filibuster,” a 99-hour live coverage of the U.S. Congressional hearings for the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. High ratings convinced TYT to launch the first ever daily web stream on YouTube. Uygur turned down a $250,000 radio offer to stay focused on streaming. In 2009, the TYT YouTube channel reached 100 million views. The following year, it reached 200 million views. [3] [4]

From 2006 to 2008, TYT joined Air America, a now defunct left-wing radio network. [5]

In 2011, TYT first arrived on television on Current TV with the show “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur.” Two years later, TYT moved to Roku after being forced off Current TV when it was purchased by Al Jazeera, which classified TYT as “political commentary rather than reporting/analysis.” [6]

Later in 2013, TYT launched an Indiegogo campaign aiming to raise $250,000 for a new studio in Los Angeles. The campaign raised more than $400,000. [7]

In 2014, an investment firm run by former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer (R-LA) invested $4 million into TYT. According to Politico, the unexpected relationship between left-wing Uygur and right-of-center Roemer stems from mutual support for left-wing campaign finance reforms. [8]

In 2017, TYT received $20 million in funding from 3L Capital, as well as additional funding from Greycroft Partners and WndrCo. [9]

Bias

Media Bias/Fact Check rates The Young Turks as “strongly biased toward liberal causes” with “mixed” factual reporting, including “the occasional promotion of pseudoscience regarding GMOs.” [10]

Ad Fontes Media (AFM) gives TYT a bias score of -27.14 on a scale of -42 to 42, indicating a significant left-wing bias. AFM gives TYT an accuracy score of 25.05 on a scale of 0 to 64, which is borderline “problematic.” [11]

Politics and Style

The politics and style of the Young Turks has been called “leftist populist” [12] with an impassioned “anchoring style that resembles Fox News and the style of its conservative YouTube competitors.” TYT hosts attempt to break “a false dichotomy between rational and emotion-free.” [13] [14]

TYT fans are known as the TYT Army and are noted for their “loyalty” and “intense engagement.” [15] The TYT Army has its own website and local chapters. [16] TYT’s sixth employee was a member of the TYT Army. [17]

TYT is closely linked to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his associated political movement of young individuals with left-wing economic and social beliefs. Researcher Reece Peck considers TYT and Senator Sanders’s supporters to be a left-wing response to Fox News and the Tea Party respectively. [18] Sanders initially endorsed Cenk Uygur during his 2020 U.S. Congressional run, but later retracted the endorsement due to accusations of racism and sexism leveled at Uygur and TYT. [19]

Beyond Sanders, TYT is closely associated with other young left-wing politicians through Justice Democrats, a PAC co-founded by Uygur, Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski, and former Sanders presidential campaign staffers Zack Exley and Saikat Chakrabarti. [20] Justice Democrats, which does not accept corporate donations, supported the elections of U.S. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). [21]

Controversies

Name

The Young Turks has attracted criticism for its name. The Turkish-born Cenk Uygur named the channel after the revolutionary movement in Turkey that sought to replace the theocratic imperialism of the Ottoman Empire with secular nationalism. During World War I, the original Young Turks organized the massacres and deportations that resulted in the deaths of approximately 1.5 million Armenians, as well as Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and other Christian ethnic groups living in the territory of the Ottoman Empire. As a result, some critics have likened TYT’s name to naming a channel after Nazi Germany or the Khmer Rouge. [22]

However, Uygur insists that the name is a reference to the generic usage of the term “Young Turks,” which is used to describe any group of young political activists or reformers. [23] The TYT website cites the American Heritage Dictionary definition of the term that does not mention the Turkish nationalist movement. The outlet’s website claims that “[t]he selection of this name does not refer to any specific, historical incarnation of The Young Turks.” [24]

Armenian Genocide Statements

Criticisms of The Young Turk’s name have been amplified by Uygur’s history of repeatedly denying or minimizing the significance of the Armenian genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he wrote an article claiming that “the allegations of an Armenian Genocide are unfounded.” He also criticized the Armenian Club at the university for allegedly “defaming the Turkish people” by bringing attention to the genocide. In 1999, Uygur wrote a letter to Salon claiming that “every non-Armenian scholar in the field” considered the facts of the genocide “an open question.” In 2016, he rescinded both the article and the letter, but cited a lack of expertise as his reason for doing so. Since then, he has repeatedly dodged questions and avoided making statements on the topic. He has also voiced support for the Turkish Coalition of America, which denies the genocide. [25]

Unionization

In 2020, employees of TYT began organizing a union under the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. Uygur, despite being a well-known supporter of organized labor, vehemently opposed the unionization effort. Uygur reportedly wrote two long email “screeds” to his staff arguing against unionization and opposed a card-check union authorization. The organization campaign prompted two complaints against TYT to the National Labor Relations Board. [26]

Uygur responded to accusations of hypocrisy with claims that his position on unions was nuanced and misunderstood. He said, “I’ve never said that a union is perfect under any circumstances, and I’ve never said that a union is bad under all circumstances. I think they’re very very good under most circumstances.” [27]

After emails written by Uygur were shown to Politico, he publicly reaffirmed his position. In one of the emails, he had lamented, “Some portion of people will now forever know me as a union-buster, and much worse, as a boss who treats his employees poorly.” [28]

In April 2020, TYT employees voted for unionization by 9 votes to 6. TYT management accepted the decision. [29]

Accusations of Racism

In 2019, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) retracted his endorsement of Uygur’s U.S. Congressional campaign amid numerous accusations of racist and sexist commentary against Uygur and TYT. Sanders wrote that Uygur was “rejecting all endorsements for his campaign” and therefore that Sanders was pulling his endorsement. [30]

In 2015, Uygur hosted former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on TYT for a segment that Variety characterized as “anti-Semitic.” [31]

In 2018, TYT was sued by journalist Andrew Jones, a former employee, who claims he was subject to discrimination and fired because he is black. Jones had previously filed a racial-discrimination complaint against TYT with the New York State Division of Human Rights. Jones claimed that upon his dismissal from TYT, he was asked to sign an agreement promising not to sue the company for racial discrimination. [32] Uygur and TYT Network denied wrongdoing. [33]

References

  1. “The Young Turks Network: producing linear television for the digital age.” FIPP. October 28, 2019. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.fipp.com/news/the-young-turks-network-linear-television-digital-age/#. ^
  2. “A Brief History of the Young Turks.” YouTube. April 19, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPFgWAwqo. ^
  3. “A Brief History of the Young Turks.” YouTube. April 19, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPFgWAwqo. ^
  4. Madlena, Chavala. “Cenk Uygur on the success of The Young Turks.” The Guardian. April 26, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/apr/26/cenk-uygur-young-turks#_=_. ^
  5. “A Brief History of the Young Turks.” YouTube. April 19, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPFgWAwqo ^
  6. Cheredar, Tom. “Life after cable: The Young Turks Network launches a Roku app.” Venture Beast. July 30, 2013. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://venturebeat.com/media/life-after-cable-the-young-turks-network-launches-a-roku-app/. ^
  7. “TYT – Let’s Build It Together! The Young Turks.” Indiegogo. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tyt-let-s-build-it-together-the-young-turks#/. ^
  8. Gold, Hadas. “Buddy Roemer firm invests $4 million in Young Turks Network.” Politico. April 16, 2014. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2014/04/buddy-roemer-firm-invests-4-million-in-young-turks-network-186934. ^
  9. “The Young Turks.” Media Bias/Fact Check. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-young-turks/. ^
  10. “The Young Turks.” Media Bias/Fact Check. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-young-turks/. ^
  11. “The Young Turks Bias and Reliability.” Ad Fontes Media. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://adfontesmedia.com/the-young-turks-bias-and-reliability/. ^
  12. Peck, Reece. “Fox Populism: Branding Conservatism as Working Class.” Cambridge University Press. February 28, 2019. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://books.google.com/books?id=JFR-DwAAQBAJ&q=TYT+uygur&pg=PR9#v=snippet&q=TYT%20uygur&f=false. ^
  13. “A Brief History of the Young Turks.” YouTube. April 19, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPFgWAwqo. ^
  14. Hokkanen, Jere. “Populist anchoring style in Fox News and The Young Turks.” Journalism Research News. September 27, 2022. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://journalismresearchnews.org/populist-anchoring-style-in-fox-news-and-the-young-turks/. ^
  15. Peck, Reece. “Comparing Populist Media: From Fox News to the Young Turks, From Cable to YouTube, From Right to Left.” Sage Journals. August 12, 2022. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/15274764221114349?journalCode=tvna. ^
  16. “TYT Army.” TYT Army. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://tytarmy.org/. ^
  17. “A Brief History of the Young Turks.” YouTube. April 19, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPFgWAwqo. ^
  18. “A Brief History of the Young Turks.” YouTube. April 19, 2010. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgPFgWAwqo. ^
  19. Spangler, Todd. “Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash.” Variety. December 14, 2019. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/bernie-sanders-cenk-uygur-retracts-endorsement-backlash-1203436658/. ^
  20. “Justice Democrats.” Ballotpedia. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://ballotpedia.org/Justice_Democrats. ^
  21. [1] Stuart, Tessa. “Can Justice Democrats Pull Off a Progressive Coup in Congress.” Rolling Stones. November 21, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UqbdwlP3qhoJ:https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/who-are-justice-democrats-758447/&cd=12&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us. ^
  22. Pechdimaldji, Stephan. “Why Cenk Uygur Needs to Dump the Name ‘The Young Turks’ (Guest Blog).” The Wrap. August 13, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.thewrap.com/cenk-uygur-the-young-turks-armenian-genocide/. ^
  23. Pechdimaldji, Stephan. “Why Cenk Uygur Needs to Dump the Name ‘The Young Turks’ (Guest Blog).” The Wrap. August 13, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.thewrap.com/cenk-uygur-the-young-turks-armenian-genocide/. ^
  24. “TYT Network.” The Young Turks. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://tyt.com/about. ^
  25. Hovik M. “Timeline of Cenk Uygur’s “non-denial” of Armenian Genocide.” Hovik Yerevan. May 29, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://hovikyerevan.medium.com/timeline-of-cenk-uygurs-non-denial-of-armenian-genocide-wip-5084ffc8443d. ^
  26. Thompson, Alex. “Inside the union campaign that roiled left-wing network The Young Turks.” Politico. April 10, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/10/union-campaign-that-roiled-the-young-turks-178996. ^
  27. Thompson, Alex. “Inside the union campaign that roiled left-wing network The Young Turks.” Politico. April 10, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/10/union-campaign-that-roiled-the-young-turks-178996. ^
  28. Thompson, Alex. “Inside the union campaign that roiled left-wing network The Young Turks.” Politico. April 10, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/10/union-campaign-that-roiled-the-young-turks-178996. ^
  29. Thompson, Alex. “Inside the union campaign that roiled left-wing network The Young Turks.” Politico. April 10, 2020. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/04/10/union-campaign-that-roiled-the-young-turks-178996. ^
  30. [1] Spangler, Todd. “Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash.” Variety. December 14, 2019. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/bernie-sanders-cenk-uygur-retracts-endorsement-backlash-1203436658/. ^
  31. Spangler, Todd. “Bernie Sanders Retracts Endorsement of Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur After Backlash.” Variety. December 14, 2019. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://variety.com/2019/digital/news/bernie-sanders-cenk-uygur-retracts-endorsement-backlash-1203436658/. ^
  32. Spangler, Todd. “The Young Turks Sued for Racial Discrimination by Ex-Employee.” Variety. July 18, 2018. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/young-turks-lawsuit-racial-discrimination-1202877230/. ^
  33. Spangler, Todd. “Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur Denies Ex-Employee’s Race-Discrimination Allegations.” Variety. Variety, January 24, 2018. https://variety.com/2018/digital/news/young-turks-racial-discrimination-cenk-uygur-1202675074/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Cenk Uygur
    Host, Founder
  2. Alex Kotch
    Former Staffer
  3. Lauren Windsor
    Contributor
  4. Lisa Graves
    Contributor
  5. Richard Trumka
    Contributor
  See an error? Let us know!

The Young Turks Network (TYT)


Los Angeles, CA