I was once in a meeting with a television executive at ABC. I was explaining how people who didn’t vote for George W. Bush felt frustrated because television isn’t representing them at all. She stopped me in the middle and said, “Wait a minute, no one would accuse us of not being liberal enough.”
That’s when I realized it – it’s not just Bush who lives in a bubble. All these TV executives seem to hear is conservative propaganda, so they actually think they are being too liberal. What a laughable thought. There is wall to wall conservative talk show hosts on air right now and not one show representing the liberal point of view on any of the television news networks and she still believes they are being too liberal.
The Young Turks is the talk show I work on. We are not giants of the industry. We try to do our own small part. But if there’s a fight that must be fought, we’re ready for it. So, let me tell you what we have developed to counter this type of mainstream media bias and give voice to the 50% of the country that didn’t vote for George W. Bush.
We’ve been trying to serve “the other 50%” for over four years now. We started out as the first original program on Sirius Satellite Radio. We soon became the first nationwide liberal talk show. Here’s the funny part – we didn’t intend to.
When we started the show, we wanted to do half politics and half pop culture news. And I was a Republican, so I wouldn’t have dreamed of doing a liberal talk show. But then George Bush went nuts.
He decided to wantonly attack a country that didn’t attack us. He wasted a $5.6 trillion dollar projected surplus and drove us into record deficits. He then said some of our rights had to be curtailed. He started arresting US citizens as enemy combatants. And he actively lobbied for torture.
In the face of all this, when we turned on radio or television three years ago, what did we find? About a hundred conservative talk shows and not one nationwide liberal show!
So, what could we do? We had to start fighting back. So our show became a lot more political and it became the first outlet for people to vent their frustrations about this administration.
In the meanwhile, Air America launched. Ed Schultz took his radio program nationwide. And we finally started to get some representation for the other 50% of the country on the radio airwaves. And if you hadn’t noticed, Air America has gotten a little more press than we have. We don’t begrudge them that. We love it. The battle has been joined. Our voices have been strengthened. The cavalry has arrived.
Now, we set out on a new mission. 74% of Americans get their news from television. Can you find one talk show centered around a liberal on any of the cable news stations? There are an overwhelming number of conservatives who host shows, but only a couple of liberal sidekicks -- and Bill Maher on HBO for about half the year on Friday nights -- to represent all of the rest of us.
So, again we decided to fight back.
For the last year or so, our listeners put together a letter writing campaign to MSNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and CNBC. They asked these stations to hire just one liberal or progressive or moderate host. They already have Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Joe Scarborough, Chris Matthews (if you think Matthews is moderate, check this out ), John Gibson, Pat Buchanan and Robert Novak, let alone Neil Cavuto, Brit Hume and every other host on Fox News pretending to be a news anchor.
And in the last year, what has MSNBC done? They have added Tucker Carlson and Rita Cosby – two more conservative hosts! These people are unbelievable.
You would think they would at least want to make some money by serving the 50% of the population (now closer to 60%) that are not die-hard conservatives. They come up with inordinately lame excuses like, “liberals don’t know how to be entertaining.” Anyone ever hear of Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Jerry Seinfeld and just about every other entertainer in the world?
All of a sudden, TV executives think only conservatives can be funny and entertaining. They’ve got to be kidding, right? Maybe the television executives are also among these conservatives that know how to be so funny.
You want to hear something else funny – one of the two networks that contacted us after the letter writing campaign was Fox News Channel. At least, they know how to make money. But the interest that Fox and MSNBC showed was preliminary and wound up not leading anywhere.
So, we decided we would outflank them. I wrote an article several months back where I said the old media was dead and we should celebrate the new media. So we took our own advice.
And we launched the first ever live, daily video talk show on the internet.
If Mohammed will not go to the mountain, the mountain must come to Mohammed. Everyone has a television set in their house, but now they also have a computer wired to the internet. And they can’t stop us on the internet.
It took some money, it took a lot of hard work, but we got it up and running. Now, we have an outlet for the other 50% of the country to join the national conversation. So, we’re asking all of you to turn off your television sets (not the sitcoms and dramas – who could argue with “Two and a Half Men” and “Law and Order,” we mean the cable news stations). And turn on the internet.
We’re calling it TYTV – The Young Turks Video.
We aren’t the charlatans of the right, so we’re always going to be honest with you. We don’t have the budget of these giant media companies. It is a work in progress. We have rudimentary production elements, but we are constantly looking to improve them. But we are on and we are strong.
As you can see from this sample, we are not shy about fighting back against this administration and the conservative media machine.
And all we ask of you is your participation. Come and watch us and together we can grow. We have no delusions of grandeur and there are no demands we make of our audience in the name of social consciousness. If you like the show, watch it. If you don’t, then don’t. Just give it a shot once and take it from there.
We look forward to a much bigger and better publicized organization coming and passing us along the way. And for the cable news stations to belatedly scramble and try to adjust as viewers eventually leave in droves. It won’t be a sad day when they put on six other liberal shows as a response to us and the others to come; it will be a great day.
Either way, we are going to force people’s hands. We look forward to the response. And we look forward to the day when our show is no longer necessary because there is so much balanced programming on all the different media outlets.
Then maybe we can go back to covering more pop culture news. Ironically, that would be a terrific development.
Our show is on live 6-9PM EST every weekday on www.theyoungturks.com. The website also has short clips from all our shows. Our sample video can be viewed here. And in this small way, the revolution has begun.
And fittingly, this time the revolution will not be televised.