MSNBC's Cenk Uygur: 'I Plan to Beat Fox News in the Ratings and Make Them Fear Me'
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DH: Do you think much about Fox? Olbermann and O'Reilly had this ongoing clash. Has that preoccupation with Fox faded from the air?
CU: To be honest, I think Fox News is very relevant. For so long, they have controlled the national conversation by incessantly talking about the stories they want to drive home. They do it until the other cable news outlets and eventually the whole press picks up on it. I want to drain them of that power. I want to put them back in the cave they came from.
So, yes, I think defeating Fox -- and more importantly, getting the rest of the media to understand they do not do legitimate news -- is very important. I hope to do that through pointing out their hypocrisy, propaganda and general foolishness. But I also plan to beat them in the ratings and make them fear me.
DH: What are your goals, your short-term vision? Are there one or two things you aim to achieve in the short term to make your mark?
CU: If I stay at 6pm on MSNBC, I plan to beat Fox and be number one in the ratings. On the internet, "The Young Turks" is already the largest online news show in the world and I plan to continue that domination.
DH: What do you expect with Obama, and the right-wing House of Representatives, and the Tea Party making noise? Will the gridlock take away Obama's momentum from the lame duck session?
CU: Of course, it will. I would be significantly surprised if Obama had any momentum on any progressive issue for the next two years. How is he going to get anything past a Republican House? Especially with his attitude, he is very likely to give up early and often.
Here is what can get passed -- Republican priorities. Because the minute the president agrees with them, they will have momentum to get right-wing policies on those specific issues passed into law. This will be Obama's so-called centrism.
The only hope we have is that Obama is a much more progressive person when he is running for office than when he is actually in office. So, perhaps as he is pretending to be a strong progressive on the campaign trail he will accidentally beat the Republicans on some issues he didn't even expect to win on.
DH: What is the question or two I should be asking you, and haven't?
CU: A good question would be: What is my long-term vision? It's for "The Young Turks" to be the largest force in media (yes, it's doable), to make a meaningful and helpful contribution to the national conversation, and to help save our democracy by greatly reducing the role of money in our elections (yes, it's doable). We have to believe. We have made so much happen together so far; we can do this, too. I actually believe in change.
Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.