A few years ago, I was standing on the sidewalk, enjoying the night air to the soundtrack of mobile couples on hot dates outside a popular movie theater in Hollywood.
I turned to my left, and —
“Hey! It’s that ____ guy!” (Insert the less-than-smart adjective of your choice.)
That was the thought that went through my head.
To be clear, I have no desire to call someone “(the word)” in an article. It’s very low-rent. But I’m telling a story, and that’s the actual thought I had.
The man on the sidewalk — maybe 15 feet away and engaged in a casual conversation with some dude — was Cenk Uygur, head of the left-wing echo chamber known as The Young Turks (as opposed to the right-wing echo chamber of, well, some right-wing programs and sites; so turnabout’s fair play. Touché).
The point of my story is that, of all the things I could’ve thought, those were, sadly, the words that immediately exploded inside my mind.
And why? I stumbled upon The Young Turks on YouTube maybe a decade ago. My very first impression was the show’s title:
Imagine there was, long ago, a great boat called The Shith. And let’s suppose The Shithe crashed onto the rocks of a deserted island, and the crew was stranded. Now picture them there, diving, searching, working…to find all the pieces of the boat, and with handmade tools and means, put the vessel back together. All the pieces. Now consider the famous historical tale of that success, and the triumphant return to the mainland, and the fact that all those pieces of that boat are like pieces of the truth that, when put together, can save your soul. Even so, I have some advice for you: if you and a fellow intellectual start a videocast on philosophy, don’t call your show The Pieces of Shith. Similarly, despite its historical significance or “progressive” inference, The Young Turks is no-go name.
Secondly, the first time I ever heard Cenk talk went something like this:
He played a clip on TYT of a conservative making a few claims about Obama. Claim #1 was that Barack was a socialist. After playing the right-winger’s points, Cenk began his smooth-move rebuttal: “Okay — first of all, he’s not a socialist. Secondly…”
I couldn’t believe that was his full retort. Just, “Not.” Really?
His rebuke of the second point wasn’t much more impressive. It became clear very quickly that this guy suffered from a great shortage of good arguments.
Since then, I’ve seen him discuss other things at various times on his show, and it’s a fantastic example of what happens when you don’t have enough pushback in your life to keep you sharp.
Sometimes he seems to be on a particular side of an issue because that’s merely the side he thinks he’s supposed to be on, rather than due to any kind of deductive reasoning. Which leads me to this: Cenk’s tweet about the Ben Shapiro/Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dust-up.
As a reminder, Shapiro offered to pay Alexandria $10,000 to have a discussion or debate. She responded by saying he was catcalling her (please see my articles here and here). In the world of politics, it might be the most inexplicable thing I’ve seen.
Also, for the purpose of this article, I’d like to redefine “inexplicable” to mean “idiotic.”
Just like catcalling, I don’t owe a response to unsolicited requests from men with bad intentions.
And also like catcalling, for some reason they feel entitled to one. pic.twitter.com/rsD17Oq9qe
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) August 10, 2018
Yet, this was the response of the media:
Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for The Washington Post:
— Margaret Sullivan (@Sulliview) August 10, 2018
Showcasing a photo of the 28-year-old socialist looking ultra-tough, HuffPost ran the headline “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Slams Conservative Commentator: ‘I Don’t Owe You’ a Response.”
BusinessInsider trumpeted “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spars with conservative pundit Ben Shapiro” and “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Accuses Conservative Pundit Ben Shapiro of Harassing Her with Repeated Requests for Debate.”
Elle’s coverage opened with a paragraph that included a belittling of Ben: “Shapiro posted a video inviting Ocasio-Cortez to a live debate on the Ben Shapiro Show, a fancy name for his Soundcloud podcast.” The headline read “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Compares Ben Shapiro’s Bad-Faith Debate Offer to Catcalling.”
And this was Cenk’s response:
This whole @benshapiro offering to debate @Ocasio2018 issue is ridiculous and shows the bias of the media in favor of the right-wing. Fine, I offer the same $10,000 to debate @tedcruz. Not joking. Guaranteed it gets no coverage. Why won't the bumbling coward Ted Cruz debate me?!
— Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) August 10, 2018
???? The media is biased IN FAVOR OF THE RIGHT?
Additionally, Cenk is correct — it wouldn’t get as much coverage. Not as much as Alexandria trying to put a conservative in his place. Know why? Well, it ain’t ’cause the media leans right.
Why, Cenk, why??
I refer back to my sidewalk thought. I truly do want to like him; he just won’t let me.
What do you think about the assertion the media is right-wing? How about The Young Turks? Or the Pieces of Shith? Sound off in the Comments section below.
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