Before I became a member of the rightwing, I was a young, naive, indecisive centrist. With my exposure to the political side of the Internet, I found myself floating amongst a massive ocean of ideologically diverse opinions in every form. From the most progressive, leftwing Twitter feeds and YouTube channels to the most ultra-conservative blogospheres and alternative media organizations, I found it easy to immerse myself in geopolitical affairs and to be engaged in complex political discourse. This is a sentiment that is felt by most of those who partake in the political portion of the vast World Wide Web (politicosphere?). Even if someone does not happen to be one for browsing political blogs or channels, politics still permeates the overwhelming majority of casual social media and news feeds. One might readily assume that most if not all of these online political groups or feeds have something that is at least mildly intelligent to say. Personally, I was taught this as a general rule by my family; everyone has something worthwile to espouse, and something can be learned from everyone. I attempted to carry this belief with me throughout my political discussions, and managed to do so, until I was exposed to a news organization known as The Young Turks.
The Young Turks, suspiciously named after the autocratic regime that carried out the Armenian Genocide, is a leftwing alternative news media channel. Incidentally, it is headed by a former Armenian Genocide denier, Cenk Uygur, who identifies as a member of the progressive left. Some of his cohorts include Ana Kasparian (an Armenian, ironically enough), John Iadarola, Jimmy Dore, Ben Mankiewicz, and Michael Shure. After consuming hours of their media through their YouTube channel, I am convinced that this smug, biased, uninformative news organization and its faces have nothing of value to say. In lieu of unbiased political commentary, The Young Turks would rather take part in smearing and demeaning their political opponents, or more generally those who disagree with them in any way. For instance, on Election Day alone, there were two instances of outright slander in their live broadcast; first, when Kasparian called all female supporters of Donald Trump “fucking dumb,” and second, when Mankiewicz denounced the Founding Fathers as “white, old slaveowners who died in their forties… not such geniuses.” Such other examples of their petulant libel include a six minute long video making fun of Donald Trump for allegedly liking his steak well-done, accusing the President-elect of choosing his cabinet based on looks, attempting to connect Trump winning the election with a racist official being re-hired by her employer (when the two were in no way correlated), and childishly jeering at former Representative Michele Bachmann for praising God because Trump had been elected President.
This simple-minded skullduggery on its own would simply be indicative of The Young Turks fitting right in with the majority of online news sites; a flashy creator of clickbait with enticing video titles and precious little actual information. What seems to set The Young Turks apart from other clickholes masquerading as news outlets, however, is its Islam apologism. A large plurality of the videos produced by The Young Turks have something to do with Islam, and most all of them have something to do with defending Islam from reasonable attacks. In the wake of both the November 2015 Paris attacks and the Berlin truck attack earlier this month, this news outlet released videos playing down Islam as an ideology’s role in the motivations of the attackers, going so far as to brand the perpetrator of the Berlin attack as being of Polish descent before actual information on his nationality was ascertained. In actuality, the man was a Muslim migrant of Tunisian background; yet this did not stop Uygur — who was making the report — from jumping to conclusions which precluded the terrorist from possibly being a Muslim. Another example of The Young Turks‘s shameless defense of the regressive ideology of Islam is a video entitled “Suicide Bombings Have NOTHING to Do with Islam”. This, despite the fact that, according to the INSS’s annual report on suicide bombings, 450 of the 452 suicide bombings committed in the year 2015 were committed by Muslims. It is doubtful that an ideology whose members are responsible for 99.6% of the suicide bombings in a given year has nothing to do with suicide bombings. While Uygur, who manages content production for The Young Turks, is fine with his organization and its main commentators promoting discrimination against Christians through their opposition to religious freedom laws (which would protect business owners’ rights to refuse service to people on the basis of their religion), he visibly recoils at any and all criticism of Islam. Islam’s inherent flaws and its connection to barbaric terrorist organizations notwithstanding, Uygur will excuse Islam for the behaviors of Muslims who commit acts such as rape, shooting, beheading, suicide bombing, or plowing a truck through a crowd of innocent civilians. He will act as though Islam does not promote attacking nonbelievers, even though it does so in over 100 passages.
In summation, The Young Turks is easily one of the most low-quality, egregious, blatantly biased political organizations one can come across. It is a sad reflection on the ever-growing, largely-rational alternative media when a news organization whose commentators say things such as “Poor white people deserve what they get,” and “I have no respect for women who voted for Trump… I think you’re fucking dumb,” is allowed to be a part of the moniker. However, the most scary thing about this website is neither what its correspondents believe, nor the misleading nonsense that it publishes. No, the most horrific part of this blight on the online political discourse is its massive and growing following of nearly 3.2 million subscribers. To relate why the fact that this bilge factory has so many followers is so bad, I will end this piece with a quote from fictional Star Wars character, Ben Kenobi: “Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him?”