Cenk Uygur Tells Keith Olbermann That MSNBC Trades Truth For Access (Video)
Former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur, who on Wednesday took to his show Young Turks to explain in detail the reasons for his departure from the 6 p.m. slot, had more to say on the subject when he joined Keith Olbermann on Countdown on Thursday.
Uygur, who has said that management asked him to curb his "tone,” criticized the network for treating access as a priority over honest reporting.
“I think the most important message out of all this isn’t about Cenk Uygur, isn’t about MSNBC,” the outspoken host told Olbermann. “It’s about the media and press in general. Are we going to be honest with our audience? Are we going to trade in honesty and truth and information that we’re supposed to gather for access?”
Uygur went on to say that now that he had been on the inside of “the machine,” he was correct about the outside perception of it. “The problem is that they are obsessed with access,” he said of MSNBC.
Uygur said that MSNBC’s problem with him wasn’t about bringing on a more diverse group by inviting more Republicans.
“If anything, the sense I got was, ‘Hey take it a little easier on Washington in general,’” said Uygur of the message he got from MSNBC.
Uygur said he is critical of politicians because he feels that they are “largely corrupt.”
“The system is corrupted because they rely on lobbyist and special interests,” he said.
“I had incredibly good ratings. I beat the hell out of CNN,” he said.
Uygur was originally moved to the 6 p.m. ET slot in the shuffling that followed Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC in January 2011.
STORY: Cenk Uygur Exits MSNBC
After he was not offered a permanent position, Uygur left the show, and a he-said, he-said battle began. On his monologue on his “Young Turks” show, Uygur said that MSNBC president Phil Griffin told him that some people in Washington didn’t like his “tone” because, while outsiders were cool, MSNBC was “the establishment.” He was allegedly offered a smaller contributor role for more money.
Griffin told The New York Times that Uygur’s accusations were false, and that they had offered him his own weekend show.
“We never told Cenk what to say or what not to say,” Griffin said.
Watch Uygur's interview with Keith Olbermann on Countdown: