“The Young Turks” host Cenk Uygur on Sunday told CNN’s Brian Stelter that the media — CNN included — was effectively responsible for aiding and abetting corruption in politics because of the way certain candidates are covered.
Stelter kicked off the segment by noting that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has been using her Instagram account to great effect, had declined invitations to appear on his show and asked whether she should be appearing on more news shows. (RELATED: ‘Trumpian Tactics’: CNN’S Stelter Calls Out Avenatti For Daily Caller Criticism)
Uygur argued that Ocasio-Cortez didn’t “owe” the media anything.
“Look, you say she doesn’t do enough interviews on television now. But let’s be fair, when you needed those interviews, you guys weren’t there for her,” he explained.
Uygur was referencing the fact that Ocasio-Cortez, who was considered to be a long shot in her primary because she was challenging a senior House Democratic poised for leadership, did not receive a large amount of media coverage in comparison to her opponent, Rep. Joe Crowley.
Stelter pointed out that it’s not the media’s job to “be there” for anyone, but Uygur pressed on.
No, no, no, Brian, it’s not about being there or not, it’s about you guys didn’t think she had a chance, so you didn’t give her any outlet at all. So the people in her district didn’t get a real sense of, you know, who had the better point of view. She overcame that anyway and went on to win. If you think, hey, she’s got to go on television to speak to the people, apparently, she didn’t. She had to go on ‘The Young Turks’ and social media to speak to the media and she did and she won.
So she doesn’t owe television anything. She doesn’t owe the corporate Democrats anything. She doesn’t owe Republicans anything. So she can go on and make her case anywhere she likes, and it’s incredibly effective.
New York Magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi also weighed in, suggesting that because Ocasio-Cortez is an elected official she does now owe the people the accountability that comes with answering questions from the media. Live Instagram videos and tweets may allow her to reach people, but she has full control over which questions to answer and which topics to discuss,Nuzzi noted.
“She’s an elected official. She certainly owes the media, the public her voice in answering questions. I take your point about her not getting enough attention before she won,” Nuzzi conceded, “but I don’t think that’s particularly unusual for somebody running for Congress. She’s not running for president. I think then it would be a different story.”
Uygur concluded the discussion with a challenge for 2020, suggesting that coverage would continue to follow the money.
I think that unfortunately the media covers people with more money and a lot of that is corporate money. And so it’s not just about Ocasio-Cortez, it’s about the future. And in 2020, will you cover progressive candidates that run uncorrupted? And my guess is no. And then you’ll turn around and sometimes blame them later.
When Stelter interrupted, saying that journalists should cover all candidates equally — regardless of whether they happened to be progressive or conservative — Uygur continued, “Absolutely, but unfortunately, you give an advantage to people with more money and you do it all the time. And unfortunately, I think it aids and abets corruption.”