Cenk Kadir Uygur (/ˈdʒɛŋk ˈjuːɡər/; Turkish: [ˈdʒeɲc kaˈdiɾ ˈujɡuɾ]; born March 21, 1970) is a Turkish-American lawyer, businessman, columnist, journalist, activist and political commentator. Uygur is the main host and creator of The Young Turks (TYT), an American progressive political and social commentary program. Before beginning his career as a political commentator, he worked briefly as an associate attorney in Washington, D.C. and New York City. As a young man, Uygur supported social conservative views, opposing abortion, affirmative action and feminism in the United States. Over time his views changed, now identifying as a progressive.
In addition to hosting The Young Turks, Uygur appeared on MSNBC as a political commentator. From January to June 2011, he hosted a weeknight commentary show on the network; he was replaced by Al Sharpton. After leaving MSNBC, Uygur secured another weeknight commentary show on Current TV, which aired from December 5, 2011, to August 15, 2013. From 2012 to 2013, he was the chief news officer at Current TV, succeeding Keith Olbermann.
Uygur in 2017
Cenk Kadir Uygur
March 21, 1970
|Residence||West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania (BS)|
Columbia University (JD)
|Occupation||Activist, columnist, entrepreneur, political pundit|
|Known for||The Young Turks|
Current TV (2011–2013)
|Political party||Republican (before 2000)|
|Awards||The Humanist Media Award|
Emperor Has No Clothes Award
Uygur was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and emigrated with his family when he was eight years old. He spent his adolescence in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and graduated from East Brunswick High School. Uygur was raised in a secular Muslim household, but became more religious during college before becoming agnostic. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1992, where he majored in management and was on the Student Activities Council representing the Turkish Students Association. He then received a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School and worked as an associate attorney at the law firms of Drinker Biddle & Reath in Washington, D.C. and Hayes & Liebman in New York City.
Uygur first appeared as a talk show host on a weekend radio show on WWRC in Washington, D.C. and on WRKO in Boston, Massachusetts. He later wrote for, produced, and appeared on the WAMI-TV news show, The Times in Miami, Florida, then started The Young Turks on Sirius Satellite Radio.
In college and law school, Uygur espoused politically conservative views during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. He wrote a column in The Daily Pennsylvanian criticizing the University of Pennsylvania's practice of affirmative action. He was pro-life on abortion, criticized feminism, and argued that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was treated unjustly during his Senate confirmation hearings. Since then, he has repudiated these positions and is now ardently pro-choice. He has also criticized organized religion as divisive and based on mythology.
In 1991, Uygur wrote an article in The Daily Pennsylvanian in which he promoted Armenian Genocide denial. He reiterated his position in a letter to the editor of Salon in 1999. In a blog post in April 2016, he rescinded the statements. He went on to claim that he does not know enough today to comment on it. As of 2017, his full acceptance of the term "genocide" has been indicated on the main TYT program: on September 6, he referred to the Armenian Genocide while discussing the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar, and on November 29, while discussing the in-court suicide of war criminal Slobodan Praljak, he referred to the Armenian genocide twice.
Uygur slowly transitioned away from the Republican Party and has said that the decision to invade Iraq was a "seminal moment" in that transition. He is now a progressive. On national security and civil liberties issues, Uygur has strongly opposed the practices begun under the Bush administration of indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition, and believes that waterboarding is an illegal torture technique. Uygur has been a strong critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the right-wing Israeli government, has stated that he advocates a two-state solution in the West Bank, and has repeatedly criticized the Israeli government for its failure to materialize. He has also repeatedly criticized former Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Uygur supported Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for president in the 2016 election. Just before the general election, Uygur stated his intention to vote for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Uygur created the talk show The Young Turks with the goal of starting a liberal-leaning political and entertainment show. It launched on the Sirius Satellite Radio network on February 14, 2002. The Young Turks started a daily news video show on YouTube in 2015 and claims to have been the first. Uygur regularly states that The Young Turks is the largest online news show in the world, and has claimed so since at least 2011. It has amassed over 7.5 billion views on YouTube, and over 4 million subscribers. Leveraging the strength of The Young Turks talk show, Uygur expanded it into a network of channels and shows, beginning with Pop trigger on July 5, 2007. As a network, The Young Turks has amassed over 8 billion views and over 13 million subscribers across all the platforms which they stream. Video of the show is streamed daily on its website and is available as a podcast.
On September 20, 2011, Current TV announced that The Young Turks would launch a weeknight TV edition of the show at 7 p.m. EST (M–F) on the network beginning sometime in the fourth quarter of 2011. According to the show's website, the show was introduced as The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur to differentiate itself from the popular web series. The show on Current TV ended on August 15, 2013, with the end of all live programming on Current TV.
On May 17, 2018, The Young Turks launched its own TV format 24 hour channel on YouTube TV which includes both live and prerecorded programming.
On October 21, 2010, MSNBC hired Uygur as a contributor and substitute anchor for the network. On January 21, 2011, Uygur was made the host of the 6 p.m. Eastern slot on MSNBC as the anchor of a new prime time edition of MSNBC Live, after the network parted ways with Keith Olbermann, resulting in a rearrangement of the time slots of MSNBC's other prime time shows. Uygur filled the time slot vacated by Ed Schultz, from late January through June 2011, earning first among people 18–34 in the second quarter. His contract was ended when he did not accept a lower profile weekend slot. An MSNBC spokesperson expressed regret at Uygur's leaving.
Uygur gave his side of the story on Democracy Now!, saying that MSNBC President Phil Griffin had called him into his office in April and told him that he had been talking to people in Washington and that they did not like Uygur's tone. MSNBC responded by saying, "We did have numerous conversations with Cenk about his style, not substance."
In late 2011, after seeing the momentum of Occupy Wall Street, Uygur decided to launch a long term project, a political action committee named Wolf-PAC. Wolf-PAC aims to lobby state legislators to pass resolutions calling for a Convention of the States under Article V of the US Constitution. Its slogan is "A super-PAC to end all super-PACs". The aim of the convention would be to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution that would end corporate personhood and publicly finance all elections in the United States. As of 2017, five states have passed the resolution thus calling for such a convention, though not all states have used identical language in their convention call.
On January 23, 2017, three days after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, Uygur co-founded the Justice Democrats. The group seeks to steer the Democratic Party in the strongly progressive, social democratic or democratic socialist direction espoused by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. They do this by running progressive candidates in primaries against moderate and conservative Democrats such as Joe Manchin, Joe Crowley, and Dianne Feinstein.
Uygur resigned from his position in Justice Democrats on December 22, 2017, after the discovery of blog posts he had written in the early 2000s, which were described as "disturbingly sexist and racist". The statement released by Justice Democrats read "We are deeply disturbed by recent news regarding Cenk Uygur and David Koller. Their language and content is horrifying and does not reflect our values at Justice Democrats".
The next day, Uygur apologized in a video on The Young Turks channel on YouTube for the posts and said he had written them when he was a conservative, stating:
"Some of the stuff that I wrote was totally offensive, insensitive, ignorant [...] to anyone who read it, I certainly apologize because you were right to be offended. I was an immature guy trying to show how cool I was by being edgy and not politically correct. What I have learned through all these years is that political incorrectness may sound fun to young men like myself at the time, but not everybody sees it the same way. [...] You might see it a little differently if you looked at it from the perspective of a woman who has been harassed or assaulted. What we have been trying to do on this show since its conception is to learn to empathize with one another. And, look, it is not an easy process, and I have said a million times, the hardest thing in the world is to escape your own perspective, and I wish I could go back to the younger Cenk and explain that to him. If someone had written this today, I would harshly criticize them on air, and try to explain that to them. [...] For the people who read it and were offended, I ask for your forgiveness, and for all of you your understanding to some degree. I hope we continue to grow and spread empathy on the show."
Uygur was born and raised in a Muslim family, but is now a self-described atheist. In 2010, along with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Uygur accepted the "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" from the Freedom From Religion Foundation and later the Humanist Media Award from the American Humanist Association.
On January 21, 2010, MSNBC announced he would be substitute hosting a one-hour news show for the station at 6 P.M. Eastern on weeknights Mediabistro.com
I am a fervent agnostic. I have argued vehemently against religion .... I went to school in Turkey until I was eight
| Chief News Officer, Current TV
Access journalism refers to journalism (often in interview form) which prioritizes access—meaning media time with important, rich, famous, powerful or otherwise influential people in politics, culture, sports, and other areas—over journalistic objectivity and/or integrity.Ana Kasparian
Anahit Misak "Ana" Kasparian (; Armenian: Անահիտ Միսաքի Գասպարյան, pronounced [ɑnɑˈhid miˈsɑkʰ kʰɑsbɑˈɾjɑn]; born July 7, 1986) is an Armenian-American political commentator, university instructor, and writer. She is best known for co-hosting and producing the online news show The Young Turks. She began working as a fill-in producer for The Young Turks in 2007, and, as of 2012, co-host of the main show and host of The Point on the TYT Network. She also appeared on the television version of the show that aired on Current TV.Andrew Napier
Andrew Napier was born and raised in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
In 2009, after working on Quentin Tarantino's "Inglourious Basterds" in Berlin, Germany, he moved to Los Angeles. Andrew was a producer of the 2013 Academy Award®- winning short film "Curfew," and later edited its feature adaptation "Before I Disappear" (SXSW 2014 Audience Award Winner). His screenplay for "Dogtooth," a remake of the Academy Award®-nominated Greek foreign film, is in development at Mandalay Pictures. Andrew directed the feature documentary "Mad As Hell" (Hot Docs 2014 Conscious Media Award Winner), which follows Cenk Uygur, who's online news show "The Young Turks" has amassed over two billion views on YouTube. He also directed the narrative short "Grandma's Not A Toaster" (Tribeca 2013) and the feature documentary "Mary and Bill" (Wisconsin Film Festival 2011 Best Documentary). Andrew produced and edited "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" (2014), a documentary about the band "of Montreal," released by Oscilloscope Laboratories, and "Bounce: How the Ball Taught the World to Play." Andrew co-produced the romantic comedy "Lust For Love" (2014), starring Fran Kranz and Dichen Lachman. He served as an executive producer for the documentary "The Culture High," and the dark comedies "The Lord of Catan" starring Amy Acker, and "Limbo" starring H. Jon Benjamin.Ben Mankiewicz
Benjamin Frederick "Ben" Mankiewicz (born March 25, 1967) is an American television personality. He is a host on Turner Classic Movies and has been a commentator on The Young Turks and What the Flick?!Current TV
Current TV was an American television channel from August 1, 2005 to August 20, 2013. Prior INdTV founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, with Ronald Burkle, each held a sizable stake in Current TV. Comcast and DirecTV each held a smaller stake.The channel started out as a user-generated content channel with content made by viewers in 15-minute blocks. The channel later switched formats to become an independent news network aimed at progressive politics. Neither format brought the success that Gore and Hyatt had wanted, which after multiple alterations in programming, resulted in them selling the channel.
On January 2, 2013, it was announced that Current TV was sold by Gore and Hyatt to Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera Media Network, which stated that it planned on shutting down the Current TV channel, retaining its off-air staff, and launching a new New York-based channel called "Al Jazeera America" using Current's distribution network just as Current had done with its predecessor, Newsworld International. It also stated it was planning on scrapping the channel's programming lineup and brand. Al Jazeera America replaced Current TV on August 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm Eastern, 2:00 pm Central time. The former headquarters is now the home of Al Jazeera's all-online digital channel AJ+.Democracy Spring
Democracy Spring is a progressive social movement organization that uses campaigns of escalating nonviolent civil disobedience to build active public support to "end the corruption of big money in politics and protect the right to vote for all Americans."The organization began as a coalition of "more than 100 progressive groups" with a common interest in US federal legislation intended to reduce "the influence of money in politics" and "expand and protect voting rights". A ten-day non-violent protest march was held in April 2016 from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. Its demands included the passage of a number of bills such as those to improve voter rights and empowerment and require fair elections. During the course of the protest, 900 to 1,200 individuals were arrested.Jill Pike
Jill Pike (born July 13, 1980) is an American political commentator, activist, and model. Previously, Pike was deputy director of public affairs for the think tank Third Way. She was one of the hosts of the talk radio show The Young Turks on Air America Radio.Pike occasionally substitute hosted The Young Turks when either Cenk Uygur or Ben Mankiewicz was absent. Her roles on the show included booking guests and participating in the chat room. She formerly co-hosted an Internet-only broadcast following the show called Absolute Truth. Pike has been a political opinion contributor to ABC News.Pike has a B.A. in Television Production from Loyola Marymount University and has worked behind the scenes in television in various capacities on such shows as National Enquirer TV and The Jeff Corwin Experience. Referring to her modeling in a Young Turks calendar publication, her co-hosts say that "her calendar is a big hit among guys, of course."Jill Pike's father is American television and movie producer John S. Pike.Jordan Chariton
Jordan Chariton (born September 20, 1986) is an American investigative reporter, who formerly worked for the digital news network The Young Turks. Chariton was best known for his journalism career at The Young Turks until he was fired in 2017, amidst allegations from the network he immediately denied. On January 12, 2018, The Young Turks revised their initial public statements following an undisclosed legal agreement, saying, "TYT & Jordan Chariton have reached a mutual settlement. While Jordan and I had disagreements while he was working for TYT, we never said, or meant to infer, that he "stole" anything from us. This chapter is now closed." In his first public appearance afterward, Chariton issued an update and explained his plans for future reporting. On April 13th, 2018 on The Jimmy Dore Show, he announced his plans to start an independent media outlet called Status Coup.Justice Democrats
Justice Democrats is an American progressive political action committee founded on January 23, 2017, by Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Uygur and Kulinski are no longer affiliated with the group. Alexandra Rojas became executive director of the organization in January 2017. The organization formed as a result of the 2016 United States presidential election and has a stated goal of reforming the Democratic Party by running "a unified campaign to replace every corporate-backed member of Congress and rebuild the Democratic Party from "scratch" starting in the 2018 congressional midterm elections.Justice Democrats describes its views as being held by most Americans, but deemed "politically impossible" by the current political establishment because of systemic political corruption. They comment that as all campaigns need donations and that candidates who hold policies viewed as unfavorable by corporate interests and wealthy individuals will be denied funding by corporations. Therefore the system actually ends up forcing politicians to change their policies to suit the current business environment.In the 2018 elections, 26 of the 79 candidates endorsed by Justice Democrats won their respective primary elections. Seven of these candidates won in the general election: Raúl Grijalva, Ro Khanna, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Pramila Jayapal. Districts won ranged from D+13 to D+34 on the Cook PVI, meaning solid Democrat. No swing districts were won, though Kara Eastman and Ammar Campa-Najjar came close in their respective races.Kyle Kulinski
Kyle Kulinski (born January 31, 1988) is an American political activist, progressive talk radio host, social democratic political commentator and the co-founder of Justice Democrats. He is the host and producer of the YouTube show Secular Talk, an affiliate of The Young Turks network. He is a registered Democrat in New York state.Mad as Hell
Mad as Hell is a 2014 documentary film about the web series The Young Turks and its host, Cenk Uygur. The film's title refers to a famous line uttered by the character Howard Beale in the 1976 film Network, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton
PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton is a one-hour political talk show broadcast on MSNBC, hosted by Al Sharpton. It began on August 29, 2011 on MSNBC's weekday 6 PM slot, the first time that the slot had been occupied by a branded series since January 2011.
In August 2015, it was announced that the series would move to just once a week on Sundays at 8AM starting on October 4, 2015. The series aired its final weekday episode on September 4, 2015.Save KLSD
Save KLSD is a 2012 documentary film about the history and effects of media consolidation on democracy in the United States. Over the course of four and a half years, the producers attended media reform conferences, conducted research, and filmed interviews and presentations by leading media reform experts and commentators, including: Bill Moyers, Robert Reich, Van Jones, Phil Donahue, Ed Schultz, David Shuster, Cenk Uygur, Amy Goodman, Thom Hartmann, Stacy Taylor, John Nichols, Richard Wolffe, Randi Rhodes, Congressman Bob Filner, Jon Adelstein, Robert McChesney, Bob Edgar, Mike Aguirre, Marjorie Cohn, Michael Krasny, J.W. August, Andrew Donohue, Marti Emerald, and author Eric Klinenberg. The film is narrated by Bree Walker and Jon Elliott. It is produced by Jennifer Douglas and Jon Monday, and directed by Jon Monday for distribution by mondayMEDIA.It was released on DVD in April 2012.The film had its broadcast premiere on Link TV on Saturday, September 8 at 2:30pm PST.The War Room with Michael Shure
The War Room was a news and political commentary program on Current TV. It was initially hosted by former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm. The show debuted on January 30, 2012 and aired on weeknights followed by The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur and Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.
"The War Room" is an allusion to the place where strategists plan a political campaign. Granholm had said that the program's stance would be progressive. Upon the departure of Granholm, The Young Turks contributor Michael Shure took up her role as the host. The show aired its final episode on August 15, 2013.
Over its history the show was known as The War Room with Jennifer Granholm and The War Room with Michael Shure.The Young Turks
The Young Turks (TYT) is a progressive left-wing American news and commentary program on YouTube. It serves as the flagship program of the TYT Network, a multi-channel network of associated web series focusing on news and current events. The program was created by Cenk Uygur, Ben Mankiewicz, and Dave Koller. Currently co-hosted by Uygur, Ana Kasparian and John Iadarola, who are often accompanied by various in-studio contributors, the program maintains an anti-establishment stance and provides commentary on topics of varying news genres. The Young Turks began as a radio program that premiered on February 14, 2002, on Sirius Satellite Radio; it was later carried on Air America, before launching a web series component in 2005 on YouTube. In 2018, Regional News Network offered it initially on WMCN, its New Jersey broadcast television station.
In addition to being carried on the TYT Network and YouTube, it is also currently available on Hulu, Roku, and through a 24-hour feed on Pluto TV. It has spawned two spin-off television series, one that aired on Current TV from 2011 to 2013 and a second that debuted on Fusion in 2016 as a limited-run program developed to cover the 2016 United States presidential election. The Young Turks also served as the subject of a documentary, entitled Mad as Hell, which was released in 2014. The network also has a linear channel on YouTube TV.Uygur (name)
Uygur is a Turkish surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Burak Uygur (born 1995), Turkish karateka
Cenk Uygur (born 1970), Turkish-American columnist, political commentator and activist
Nejat Uygur (1927–2013), Turkish actor and comedianWolf PAC
Wolf PAC is an American progressive political action committee formed in 2011 with the goal of "ending corporate personhood and publicly financing all elections in our country", to include the restriction of large monetary donations to political candidates, parties, and groups. It began with an announcement at an Occupy Wall Street rally in New York City by The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur. On a state level, Wolf PAC has received some bi-partisan support for its objectives.Its strategy is to add a 28th amendment to the Constitution, thereby overturning multiple Supreme Court cases including Citizens United v. FEC and Buckley v. Valeo, which cumulatively have made it impossible to achieve Wolf PAC's campaign finance goals through simple legislation. Wolf PAC is predicated on the belief that Congress is too corrupt to pass such an amendment itself, and therefore advocates a convention of the States, which is a procedure outlined in Article V of the Constitution. As of 2017, five states have passed the resolution thus calling for such a convention, though not all states have used identical language in their convention call.Zack Exley
Zack Exley (born December 5, 1969) is a political and technology consultant, previously employed as the Chief Revenue Officer (formerly Chief Community Officer) at the Wikimedia Foundation. Before that he worked at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy. He is also the co-founder and former president of the New Organizing Institute, a progressive political technology training organization. Politico reported in August 2015 that Exley had joined the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign as a senior advisor responsible for digital communications. He is currently part of the Justice Democrats.
In 2004, he was the Director of Online Communications and Organizing on John Kerry's presidential campaign and, according to British press reports, he directed Internet operations for the UK Labour Party's re-election campaign in 2005. In both cases, the campaigns' opponents attacked Exley as a controversial figure, hoping to make his hiring a campaign issue.Exley was Organizing Director at MoveOn.org during the group's campaign to prevent the Iraq War, and during its controversial involvement with the Dean campaign. He was criticized then too, for "rigging" the "MoveOn Primary" in favor of Dean—a charge the group rejected.Prior to working for MoveOn, Exley created the political parody website, GWBush.com, as well as cnndn.com, a site that parodied financial reporting. Both sites attracted legal action by the Bush's 2000 election campaign and CNN, respectively. CNN successfully closed cnndn.com. The Bush attack led to increased publicity for Exley's site and set legal precedent that has allowed political websites to operate without FEC regulation. In response to GWBush.com, George W. Bush—then a presidential candidate—called Exley a "garbage man" and said he believed the website should be forced to be shut down, explaining "There ought to be limits to freedom."Around the 2000 election controversy, Exley used a website to allow citizens to self-organize more than 100 protests around the United States.Exley also used to run the site Revolution in Jesusland, a blog that sought to create dialog between the secular left and groups within Evangelical Christianity that promote economic and social justice as a matter of faith.Exley began his political career working as a union organizer, and has also worked as a computer programmer.After the 2016 United States Presidential election, Exley along with other members of the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk created the Justice Democrats in 2017 in attempt to reform the Democratic Party and take on President Donald Trump.