The Young Turks started off as a small radio show and YouTube channel in the early 2000’s, offering a much needed alternative to the predominantly right wing media at the time. They built their name on calling out numerous Republican politicians for their racism, sexism and bigotry, and for criticizing Bush’s unjust foreign policy which has since been reformed by the Obama administration. Since then, TYT has grown beyond any of the founders’ wildest dreams, and become one of the primary sources of news for young people all over the world.
The Young Turks are led by notorious progressive activist Cenk Uygur, who for years has served as a role model for young people, teaching them how to combat conservatives with adjectives, sarcastic remarks, shouting and character assassinations. Unlike some on the left, Cenk is not a afraid to play dirty in order to advance progressive ideals, and his example has raised a generation of Millennials who are highly adept at deflecting right-wing bigotry with a range of rhetorical tools, rather than critical thinking and reasoned argument, which is far less effective. His captivating style is taken directly from Saul Alinsky’s playbook, and has opened hearts and minds to progressivism all over the world, while shaming and silencing those on the right.
The Young Turks have courageously stood up for actions to tackle climate change, the rights of womyn to terminate their pregnancies, and the need for strict gun control laws. The Young Turks also courageously called out Alex Jones and Roger Stone during the election for their many lies and smear attempts against the Clintons. They were also one of the few media outlets brave enough to call out Trump for refusing to release his tax returns, and sound the alarm about Russia’s likely involvement in the election. If it weren’t for the Young Turks, the accredited media would be left to fight for these social justice issues on its own, with no significant presence online.
The right has criticized Cenk Uygur profusely for supposedly denying the Armenian genocide, but liberals have praised him for ignoring these blatant Islamophobic smear attempts, and remaining focused on the issues that people really care about. The Young Turks provide a much needed voice for young people, which mirrors the many fact-checked talking points of the accredited media. In the age of fake news, they are an essential asset to progressives, who fear that young people may continue to fall into the hands of predatory conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists who run much of the fake news on the internet. Every progressive should thank these heroes for their service, and wish them a very fruitful 2017, where they will need to step up their game to criticize Trump, Russia and fake news. Let’s all wish them good luck and a happy new year!