By Ed Rampell on July 27, 2012

Q: How did you get started at MSNBC?

Uygur: They had an opening at 10 p.m., and we decided to do a campaign to get that slot. Fans of our radio and online shows were unbelievable. They sent e-mails, pictures of themselves with signs “TYT on MSNBC,” they photoshopped mountains with “TYT on MSNBC.” There was a poll on TVNewser and we weren’t on it, so they demanded we were. They put us in the poll, and we crushed the field; we literally beat everyone else combined: Bill Maher, Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore. Someone said, “It’s not fair because your audience is too large” [laughs]—I thought, “Yeah, that’s the point.” Our fans got us a meeting at MSNBC with Phil Griffin, the head of the network. I started doing fill-in hosting in 2010, and then in the very beginning of 2011 I was basically called off the bench to start hosting at 6 p.m., from January to July.

Q: So after half a year there with your own show, why did you leave MSNBC?

Uygur: I was told, of course, as with everyone on television, if you get good ratings and generally follow the rules, you’ll get a show. That’s exactly what happened. I had a conversation with Phil Griffin, and he said I’d done everything he’d asked me to do and my ratings were clearly good. My last quarter at MSNBC beat Ed Schultz’s numbers from the year before, and Ed Schultz is terrific. But I didn’t get the slot, and they told me they were going to move me to the weekends.

I believe the reason for that was a conversation I’d had with them a couple months before. Phil had called me into his office and told me I needed to act more like the establishment, that MSNBC was not outsiders—they were insiders. And that people in Washington were not happy with my tone. I challenged the establishment every night, obviously the Republicans, but also the Democrats. I didn’t want to stay at a network under those constraints.

Q: So it was your decision to leave?

Uygur: Oh, absolutely, yeah.

This is but a small excerpt of the Uygur interview in the August issue of The Progressive. To read the interview in its entirety, and to get the whole issue (which includes an essay by Wendell Berry and a post-mortem on Wisconsin by Ruth Conniff), simply subscribe today at 75% off the newsstand price. It's like getting 9 issues of this monthly magazine FREE.

Section: 

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

The Koch brothers get their money's worth in gift to United Negro College Fund.

A fun event ridiculed reactionaries and upheld women's reproductive rights.

By Jenni Dye

Is thinking that I should be paid the same as a man if I do the same work a radical, anti-...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter