Bernie Sanders Backer Cenk Uygur: No, I’m Not Biased in Favor of Bernie Sanders


Progressive icon and founder of The Young Turks Cenk Uygur has been a vocal and vociferous backer of Bernie Sanders during this Democratic presidential primary contest, even introducing the upstart septuagenarian at his California rallies, but in our recent interview, Uygur balked at the suggestion that he’s “biased” in favor of Sanders, and against Hillary Clinton.

As part of an extensive nearly hour-long interview, I asked Cenk to describe the difference between the bias he observes in outlets like “Clinton News Network” CNN and his own clear preference for Bernie Sanders:

Do you consider yourself biased for Bernie?

Cenk: No. So, let me be clear about this. I have a perspective on air, anybody who watches the show knows that. And my perspective is progressive. Now, if you’re a progressive, and you want the most progressive candidate – now, you can be a progressive and have other priorities, right? But if you want the most progressive candidate, it’s a no-brainer. No-brainer, it’s not even close, it’s obviously Bernie Sanders.

So, I would be lying to my audience if I said “Oh, I’m neutral, I can’t tell who’s more progressive.” I would lose their trust and their faith, because they’d say “What do you mean, you can’t tell who’s more progressive? That’s the most obvious thing in the world, what kind of a knucklehead are you?”

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that you bias yourself, and divorce yourself from the facts, and the ability to criticize that candidate if he’s wrong about certain things.

On the latter count, Cenk has demonstrated the ability to call Sanders out where he sees fit to, as he did in a recent sit-down with Sanders, in which he told Bernie that if Hillary has more pledged delegates, she should be the winner.

However, I wanted to see if Cenk thought his perspective on Sanders had colored the way he sees the facts about Hillary Clinton, so I asked him to react to a person who says “Whoop-dee-frickin’-doo, she used personal email,” which is actually a direct quote from Cenk Uygur, only he made that observation before Bernie Sanders was a thing. Now, that email “scandal” is Bernie’s last chance to win.

In an extended back-and-forth, Cenk made the case that he has been consistent, and that he’s now making a distinction between a personal email account and a personal email server. You can see Cenk’s previous comments (full context here) at the end:

The problem with all that is that Cenk said “Whoop-dee-frickin’-doo!” about five weeks after the news broke that Hillary used a private server, and the Santorum ad he was responding to even cites “Clinton’s homemade system.”

Now, Cenk can hardly be expected to remember the details of a segment he shot more than a year ago, but it does demonstrate how even a consistent point of view can shape the way you view the same set of facts if you’re not careful. As the balance of our interview demonstrates, though, there is also tremendous value in “POV” journalism. Someone who is passionate or knowledgeable about a particular issue or candidate can notice objectively true things that others might miss.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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