Cenk Uygur discusses his departure this week from MSNBC and his charge that the network wanted him to “tone it down.”
Olbermann: You said for the web piece that those clips that we showed were from, that you were asked to have more Republicans on and you didn’t have a problem with that but you certainly weren’t going to treat Republicans with kid gloves. Did somebody ask you to treat Republicans with kid gloves? Or anybody with kid gloves?
Uygur: No, to be fair they never said to treat Republicans with kid gloves. They thought I should have more Republicans on. I thought I had plenty of Republicans on and I didn’t mind having them on at all. I love ripping into them. They want to come on the program God bless their heart. I’m going to come for them.
On the MSNBC Establishment
Uygur: Look I think the most important message out of all of this isn’t about Cenk Uygur, isn’t about MSNBC, it’s about the media and the press in general. And, are we going to be honest with our audience, are we going to trade in honesty and truth and information that we are supposed to gather for access?
I couldn’t stand that about the mainstream media before I went there, when I used to tell the Young Turks audience about this is a huge problem. And now that I’ve been inside that machine it turns out that I was totally right about our outside perception of it. The problem is they are obsessed with access and we cannot have it.
Uygur: I had incredibly good ratings, given what they asked me to do. I did better than the year before. I beat the pants off of CNN.
MSNBC responded earlier to Uygur’s claims by saying they “are completely baseless,” and “In fact, we were working on a new contract, to develop him into an even bigger television talent. We did have numerous conversations with Cenk about his style, not substance.”
Uygur has redefined what it means to “beat the pants’ off the competition since he trailed CNN’s Situation Room by a margin of 187,000 to 154,000 viewers in the key A25-54 demographic in May. He also finished 37th overall among all cable news shows in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the Situation Room’s 22nd place showing.
What must really gall Uygur is that since being replaced by Al Sharpton in the last two weeks, the show has actually beaten CNN consistently, which he had struggled to do.
Olbermann, for his part, showed that he had no love lost for MSNBC as he aided and abetted Uygur by throwing him softball questions and not challenging him on the facts. Then again would we expect anything less from Keith?