It’s no secret I’m not a fan of The Young Turks (TYT) show. I guess I just lost interest when Cenk Uygur went after Sam Harris in a long (3 hours!) and deeply unfair interview, not admitting that he’d consistently distorted Harris’s words. I also see the show as exemplifying the smug and arrogant form of Regressive Leftism that I deplore.
Yet the show is incredibly popular, perhaps because it has a young vibe to it, and is both news and editorializing at once: a sort of humorless edition of Jon Stewart’s old “Daily Show”. TYT’s election night coverage got 4.5 million viewers—a record for them—over a nearly 12-hour broadcast. (If you want to see the whole thing, go here). You can see some highlights of it below in a 26-minute distillation.
I can sympathize with the commenters in one sense: over the 26 minutes in this video you can see certainty—the certainty that Clinton would win—dissolve into anger, rage, and then vitriol towards those who voted for Trump. While I never shared the vitriol part, I, too, was certain (but dead wrong) that I’d wake up and find that we’d elected Clinton. And over the night (well, the day, as I was in Hong Kong), my stomach got queasier and queasier as the election returns came in. This video shows that shift of emotions very clearly.
What I don’t like about it, however, is that vitriol: the nastiness and the dead certainty that those who voted for Trump were ignorant, racist morons. (I shared the sick feeling of loss, but never the rage.) That misses the underlying dynamic that drove this election: whatever it was, it was more than a bunch of idiots and racists—KKK supporters some said—who simply wanted a President who shared their bigotry.
Now this video seems to have been made by someone who doesn’t like TYT (viz., nasty interpolation at 21:15), but that doesn’t matter. What bothers me is the kind of smug, dismissive attitude toward our opponents that will hinder us Leftists from regrouping and having substantial political power. For if we get that power, we must appeal to a wider audience and, if we can’t share some of the values of our opponents, at least find some common ground with them and concentrate on the problems of all the dispossessed, disadvantaged, and deprived.
Here are a few cringeworthy moments from this excerpt.
2:09 Aida Rodriguez says that people don’t like Hillary Clinton simply “because she has a vagina”. (Repeats this claim at 13:41, saying that Clinton lost “because she was a woman”).
8:59 Cenk has a tantrum about the Democratic Party: he says he’s at “war” with it for allowing Clinton to be defeated by a bigot. (Wasn’t he in favor of Hillary?) Later he calls them “fucking morons.” Cenk, I’ve discovered, has a lot of repressed anger (see here and here).
14:53: Ana Kasparian says that women who voted for Trump are “fucking dumb”, and says, “I’m losing my mind tonight because of how stupid the majority of the country is.”
19:20: Rodriguez calls the people criticizing her on Twitter “motherfuckers” and gives the camera two middle fingers
19:33: Kasparian addresses those whom (she thinks) voted for Trump because they don’t like affirmative action. She says, “Affirmative action is not the reason you failed in life. You failed in life because you fucking suck! Because you’re a loser!”
23:08: The team turns on Hillary, starts blaming her for the loss.
And, though I’m no prude, I don’t like the pervasive swearing. Like ever other display of petulance and rage, it’s unprofessional. I really don’t know why people are so attracted to this show.