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Cenk Uygur leaves MSNBC over political disagreements

Published time: July 21, 2011 14:46
Edited time: July 22, 2011 02:11

Cenk Uygur, the MSNBC presenter who has anchored the news network’s 6 p.m. time slot since January, has cut ties with the station.

Speaking in a scathing monologue delivered during his online show Young Turks on Wednesday night broadcast, the progressive talk show host explains that network big-wigs were concerned with his tone and wanted him to have more Republicans on the show.

Uygur said a network exec pulled him aside in April and brought him complaints that “people in Washington” had with his hosting duties. “Hey, listen. Just take it easy,” Uygur says he was told. He says the head of MSNBC told him that concerned parties in DC viewed him as an outsider, which didn’t fit the image they needed.

“Outsiders are cool. They wear leather jackets; they ride bikes,” Uygur was told. MSNBC, however, were the “insiders.”

“We are the establishment,” he says he was told.

The former host adds that management wanted him to appeal less to his audience, despite a recent surge in ratings, and concentrate more on appeasing the higher-ups at the network. Uygur adds, however, that he has dominated the ratings recently, outranking Fox programming among young American males.

“Management is kind of like the club, and they want to make sure that you’re cool and that basically you can play ball to be in the club,” he says he was told.

Following a discussion involving his “tone issues,” Uygur says he exited the conference and thought, “That’s it. It is on.”

“I was like, ‘whoa.’”

During Wednesday’s monologue, Uygur said his departure was “both of our decisions.”

Uygur adds that the network offered him a new role as a contributor in lieu of being positioned permanently as the 6 p.m. host, complete with substantially larger compensation, but he refused it.

Civil rights activist Al Sharpton has served as a stand-in host for Uygur in weeks past and TVNewser reports that he is being tapped to come on as a full-time replacement.

Uygur's co-host at The Young Turks tells RT that the mainstream networks are not interested in real stories, but rather only what it can sell. “Sensationalized media” is what Ana Kasparian thinks of it, and she says that there is an audience out there for it because it is very simple to produce. “But it is discouraging because people aren’t getting informed on the issues that are important to them,” adds Kasparian, who says there is less of a focus on Libya and the economy than there is on Casey Anthony or Anthony Weiner’s weiner.

“It is discouraging to see so much coverage of it on a daily basis,” says Kasparian about what the MSM is really reporting on.


She adds that, when it comes down to what stories the networks will report on, the overall goal for the media right now is to profit. “They are constantly worried about ratings. Why are they worried about ratings?”

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