A good show from @KyleKulinski on Cenk Uygur getting his panties in a twist over New Atheists (well, Sam Harris really). Kyle’s show is a ‘TheYoungTurks Partner’, and I’ve seen Kyle raise this issue with Cenk before. In an earlier show I thought Kyle had some details wrong and gave Cenk too much benefit of the doubt. So it’s significant that Kyle gets what the problem is with Cenk, though I don’t know he’s aware of the full nature of the problem.
So, the main point Kyle brings up here is that in criticising someone for making sweeping generalisations about people, Cenk Uygur makes a super sweeping generalisation by including New Atheists in his critique of Lindsey Graham. Yes, that’s Lindsey Graham. The Republican. The Conservative. Yes, Cenk Uygur lumps New Atheists – that’s the liberal bunch of atheists that criticise religion for its conservative oppressive elements and scriptures – with conservative Republicans. You have to keep repeating it to yourself, not because it’s a difficult idea to understand, but because it’s so stupid you wonder why someone could be so wrong.
Sam Harris time and again promotes support of liberal Muslims, acknowledges the variety of Islamic interpretation, goes out of his way to say, ‘not all Muslims’, but still Cenk has to make these dumb accusations; ironically, while Cenk is also telling us how much he opposes Islam too – but, you know, when he criticises Islam that’s not making sweeping generalisations, and doesn’t target all Muslims, because Cenk says so. No matter that Harris is explicit and specific in what he is criticising: Islam.
Wow. Cenk is becoming ideologically obsessed with New Atheists – oh, sorry, sweeping generalisation on my part, because of course he has a problem with Sam Harris specifically. Why? Cenk let himself be sold on the Reza Aslan bullshit, has taken on the ‘Sam Harris is an imperialist neocon’, without reading much at all of Harris. Since then he’s been schooled on his errors, by so many people that had been fans of Cenk and TYT.
Cenk has since been all defensive, to the point of getting really aggressive in his rhetoric.
Cenk really does misrepresent Harris – just as many pseudo-liberals do. He keeps repeating this nuclear first strike nonsense. He rejects flat out that Harris is talking hypothetically, as we’ll see below in one of Cenk’s most ridiculous outbursts.
The criticisms of Cenk by Cenk fans has been spot on.
James MacDonald produced this piece, The curious Case of Cenk Uygur, in which he links to the incredible outburst episode from Cenk, and to the three hour discussion between Cenk and Sam Harris. The message is one of clear regret from a TYT fan that Cenk is so out of touch.
Lalo Dagach made a video on the problem with Cenk regarding the Harris and Maher stuff. Cenk Uygur lies about Sam Harris and Bill Maher (by a TYT fan)
Now some people are jumping on Ben Aleck for calling them racist, and “Islam’s not a race!” – Just calm down, dude, you know he meant bigoted. You know there’s not much of a distinction. So, don’t nit-pick stupid stuff like that.”
As Lalo points out, Afleck was pretty clear that he meant racist. Lao also covers Cenk’s other point, that “there’s not much of a distinction” between bigoted and racist charges.
But also, note how Cenk there defends Afleck, as if he’s made a slip of the tongue. And yet when criticising Harris he’ll cling onto every literal word of Harris in an interview, and even if Harris later corrects himself (which Afleck never has) that’s not good enough for Cenk.
Really, you should listen to Lalo’s video.
James Kirk Wall takes down Cenk in Cenk Uygur’s imaginary war with Bill Maher and Sam Harris, and in plain terms tells Cenk to take the stick out of his ass.
You want more bullshit from Cenk? Get this, from The Noble Savage channel, The Young Turks vs Sam Harris – The Evidence. Again, listen to it all, but here’s a significant point:
Bill Maher challenges Ben Afleck, by asking if all of a billion Muslims DO NOT hold the unsavoury views discussed (and Maher has the figure corrected to 1.5 billion). Cenk Uyghur then states that Bill Maher DOES say all a billion Muslims DO hold those views:
Bingo, right there. That’s the biggest problem in this whole thing. Bill Maher saying, no, over a billion Muslims. All of them. Not a small minority, not even a significant minority, no, he said that’s just not true, all of them hold those opinions [the unsavoury opinions held by many Muslims as just pointed out by Harris]
Yes, Maher is saying SOME Muslims surely do hold these views, but Cenk says Mahers says over a billion Muslims hold those views, ALL of them. Cenk slips in a caveat, with, “He might not have literally said all”, but really does make the greater general claim.
It seems basic logic is beyond Cenk here.
This video chips in with text overlays pointing out many of the places where Cenk gets it dead wrong. I mean so badly wrong you start to wonder if Cenk actually sat down an paid attention to the Maher episode, or if he’d got the anti-Harris script ready and just made the Maher clips fit his agenda. Fucking terrible stuff.
Later the video shows bits from other TYT shows, including the CJ Werleman crap, where he likens Harris to Mao’s intent to wipe out religion. While you’re listening to that, hold that thought, and then listen to the Cenk outrage ‘New McCarthyism’ show linked to below, where Cenk tells us, Moa-like, he’d like to rid the world of religion, if we’re going to use that sort of rhetoric. The fucking hypocrisy leaps out from the screen.
Oh, and on Cenk’s reading of Harris, he says pretty much there, at about 15:30 into this video, that he’s read pretty damned close to fuck all of Harris, if you’re going to get a fair view of what Harris says rather than what others say he says. Cenk, you fucking moron. Get a grip.
Another thing you pick up on in this video, when Cenk interviews Harris, is the body language of Cenk at times – he’s simply not listening.
Another video from TheNobleSavage: Sam Harris – Cenk Doesn’t Understand How to Stay on Point. Worth watching.
Cenk’s low point was the following video, referred to is some of the sources above: Is Anti-Muslim Bigotry The New McCarthyism?
This starts with an attack on anti-Muslim bigotry, but about 1:50 in the target changes – and it’s all about the hurt that Cenk is feeling because so many liberals have called Cenk out on his bullshit misrepresentation of Harris.
When this get’s going we see the three hosts, but watch Anna. I really feel sorry for her as she has to endure this rant from Cenk. At one point, as she appears to look at the monitor, I imagine she’s thinking, “Oh shit, I’m still on screen. I don’t know, perhaps it’s time to get my CV out there before I’m tarnished with this crap.”
Much of this is a whine because Cenk has been criticised by fans of the show.
This whole Bill Maher, Sam Harris thing, they’re rabid man. Online, every day, they’re relentless. “Oh Cenk, you don’t know, you keep sticking up for the Muslims.” Yeah, OK, guilty as fucking charged.”
Well, there’s no doubt, that in comments that Cenk may receive, and Harris too, there are those that conflate their hatred for Islam and Muslims. Yes, there are bigots. But is it possible Cenk here is yet again making sweeping generalisations, that all commenters that support Harris are therefore bigots. Is it not possible that some of these critics have it right and that Cenk is wrong on this?
But yes, I stick up for Muslim Americans. So, you’re gonna have to come through me. If you wanna say, oh, “the Muslims! the Muslims! They’re the bad guys. You know a Muslim. You support a Muslim.” Yes, I know Muslims, I support Muslims. They’re American ‘cause they’re one hundred percent Americans, and you’re goon have to come through me. You wanna fight on it, we’ll fight on it. You wanna call yourself a liberal? You don’t know what a fucking liberal is. You wanna call yourself a progressive? You’re not remotely progressive.
Cenk is just right off the rails here.
Let’s do what Cenk does. So, Cenk, “They’re American ‘cause they’re one hundred percent Americans” Ha! so all Muslim Americans are loyal Americans? Including the ones that aren’t? What about the ones that support ISIS?!! You’re condoning the support of ISIS Cenk! … and so it goes, if you play Cenk’s stupid game.
No, this video is a direct response to the criticism Cenk has received from liberals, real liberals that criticise Islam, liberals that really do not persecute Muslims, liberals that really do support liberal Muslims and ex-Muslims.
But even supporting Muslims and ex-Muslims isn’t good enough for Cenk. Aayan Irsi Ali? Neocon. Harris is writing a book with the Muslim Maajid Nawaz? How convenient for Harris.
This mind-set that Cenk has himself locked into is right up the same street as Glenn Greenwald and C J Werlemen.
Set them [Muslims] aside, make sure we profile them, we watch them, we go into their mosques, we go into their universities, we go into their college groups; and if we need be, torture them; if need be do first strikes against them. If need be, according to Sam Harris’s book, “I’m just being hypothetical. You know, I’m just posing. I mean, what if we did a nuclear first strike on them. I mean, after all, the are Muslims.” If you believe that you are not remotely progressive. You are a foaming at the mouth neoconservative; and yes, you are discriminating against those people. You don’t like? “Oh, no, [mock tears] you called me racist, bigoted, you said I discriminate.” I’m sorry, I called you what you fucking are. So stop pretending you’re liberals. You’re not. You’re not. You agree with the Dick Cheneys of this world. That’s what you are. So, a lot of people gonna get angry at me, including in our audience? Sad day for you. I’m here to say, when you come for them, you’re gonna have to go through us. Because we stick up for all Americans. .. we stand up for all Americans. If you wanna say Islam is wrong, I’m a million percent with you. I want to get rid of all religion on the planet. That’s how serious I am in being against religion. If you want to say, “This group of people, you should treat them differently,” you’re fucking wrong, and I’ll fight you to the death on it.
The first part of that, the setting aside, profiling, …, nuclear first strike – that conflates so many different points, some actually hypothetical. So, does Cenk label all philosophers as murdering neocons whenever they discuss the hypothetical trolley problem. It’s just stupid. And each of the points Cenk piles into one false perspective here has a specific context in which Harris is making a specific point. What Cenk says here in no way bears any resemblance to what Harris says.
To say that someone like Harris, or New Atheists generally, or the many people who agree with Harris, are neoconservative, agreeing with the Dick Cheneys, that is just the most fucking stupid shit I’ve heard.
And Cenk, it seems, when it comes to Islam and religions generally, is just as anti-Islam as Harris. Where does this shit come from that Harris would persecute Muslims? It comes from Cenk listening to what others have been saying about Harris, rather than reading Harris. By the time it gets to the Aslan and Harris interviews he has gotten around to reading some Harris, though we’re not sure what – seems like just a few bits and pieces. But it’s too late. He’s dug his hole and he just keeps on digging.
This is a fucking disgrace. As others have said, how can you trust TYT when this sort of bullshit is an example of balanced reporting.
I still try to watch TYT; but it’s hard to stay focused when you know that the main man has such a hard on for Harris.