Ryan Thomason

WPR Interview with Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks

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With The Young Turks about to make the leap to Current TV (starting at 7pm on Monday, Dec 5th) we had an amazing opportunity to talk with Cenk himself before the premier episode! We can only find nothing but inspiration from this interview because well, we want to be just as successful as he is, so the question is, do YOU have that fire in you too?

WPR: What’s it like making the jump to Current TV?

Awesome. The production staff is amazing and the editorial independence is fantastic. I can’t wait till the start of the show. I think this is going to be a cable news show like no one has ever seen before.

WPR: I had a friend of mine refer to you as “Rachel Maddow with more meat on his bones.” do you think that is a proper assessment?

I’m pretty sure that’s a compliment, so I’ll take it and run. Yes, I have a lot of passion and sometimes get angry on-air, but the thorough analysis we do here is very similar to Rachel’s.

WPR: Is much changing with the program format, will you be doing anything new on Current TV?

Yes, we can do so much more now with a TV budget. I’ll have many more progressives on from across the country so that it’s a gathering place for progressives. We have always called ourselves Rebel Headquarters and I think we’ll be able to bring in all the rebels now.

Plus, the graphics and the intros should be really cool.

WPR: Politics is obviously your forte, would you ever give sports broadcasting a shot? Who would you cover?

I’d love to do sports broadcasting. Football is the obvious choice, but I can also do basketball. Now, I probably won’t because I already work 12-15 hour days. But if I were to retire from news analysis, I’d love to do color commentary on NFL games.

WPR: Do you have any advice for the people out there who want to follow in your footsteps?

Yes, do it. Don’t let anyone get in your way. I know it sounds clichéd, but it’s true. Just be prepared for a mountain of work – and the only way you can do all that work is if you picked a field you love.

WPR: Do you think the polarization in Washington is here to stay? Or will Americans finally get tired of it and just stop re-electing entrenched politicians?

The problem isn’t really polarization; it’s that money controls everything in politics. They often have bi-partisan agreement – but it’s always to give the rich or corporations more of a break. I’m not a Monday morning quarterback, I do analysis ahead of time. So, I will tell you now that Congress will pass another repatriation tax holiday for corporations. Why? Because that’s what both sides get paid to do – represent the corporations who fund their campaigns. The rest is all theater.

WPR: What made you stick with The Young Turks, how did you find the drive to stay at it and achieve what you’ve been able to do in a competitive online environment?

We believe in what we do. Right or wrong, we think it’s really important to get the message out that we do about the news. So, that’s the fire that drives us. If you don’t have that fire for whatever you are doing, get out before you hurt yourself. The online business is the toughest thing in the world and you have to be intensely passionate about what you do to survive.

WPR: Who would be your dream interview?

Nelson Mandela. I think he is a living legend and I would love to gain some real wisdom from him. Then Barack Obama, so I can impart that wisdom on to him. I also want to ask President Obama what happened to that guy who was inspirational and talked about changing the system?

WPR: Whats next for The Young Turks after you move to Current TV, are you going to keep trying to innovate and expand what you’ve created into new realms?

Of course! Right now, our first priority is to make that show at 7 o’clock the best TV show on at that time. Honestly, we want to crush our competitors and get excellent ratings. After that, we will continue to build the largest online network so that we can continue to dominate in that medium as well. We already have ten different TYT channels on YouTube and we are among the few partners they chose to fund. So, trust me, we are coming!

I want to again thank Cenk for talking the time out of his busy schedule and we know he’s going to kick some ass on Current TV mostly likely in more ways than one. Don’t forget to start tuning in every night to watch Cenk on at 7pm started Dec 5th! I’ll be there, maybe I’ll stick around for Olbermann after him on the same channel, but for sure I’ll be watching this coming Monday.

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