Mad As Hell is a new film about The Young Turks, or more precisely, about its founder Cenk Uygur. I went to a preview screening last night in San Francisco.
To be honest, I have not followed TYT’s trajectory very closely. I have occasionally seen clips of Uygur savaging whichever party is in power, which is just fine by me. If you are the sort who likes seeing hypocrites exposed, and righteous expressions of anger, then the movie will not disappoint.
The film tracks Uygur’s career, which is a quintessentially American rags to riches story: second generation immigrant creates massively successful news organization through grit and determination.
Uygur, who attended the viewing, comes across in the film as contentious, irascible and so committed to the truth that he’s willing to change his mind when he’s wrong. (In his youth he was an ardent Republican, but obviously that did not last.)
I like those qualities. As far as I’m concerned there is way too little real conflict in the world, especially in US politics. That probably sounds strange, but what I mean is that people avoid the real issues, and instead engage in what is essentially bickering. I wonder if Uygur’s appeal (37 million monthly views on YouTube!) is due to him speaking the truths we would so much love to say ourselves.
The other thing I found interesting was the inside politics of the media establishment, specifically MSNBC. There is a ceiling in US media for someone who speaks the truth, and clearly he crashed into it by refusing to go soft in his political critique. And that is how it works. It’s not some fucking mystery why the US media is as insipid as it is.