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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Cenk Leaves MSNBC (Inside Story)

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interesting news

uh... here it is

I am

out at MSNBC

now whose decision was this

well it was both of our decisions I will explain

okay in turn not

at the same time

so when I first came in to MSNBC they told me hey listen

you know basically the main thing you gotta do is get good ratings I was like okay

that's pretty clear

uh... and by the time that I had left I had very good ratings as I'm about to

show you in a little bit

but uh... I was called in a couple weeks ago

and told that I will not get the six o'clock shot

I was like whoa that's interesting

I said okay well why right

well they said uh... you had really ratings you did everything that we asked

you to do but we went in a different direction but

we want you to stay

which is nice of them

and they said we want you to have a different role

and uh... they offered


a lot of money for that different role

I said no okay

now I'm going to tell you why I said no and why

I think

they didn't want to go for six o'clock

so here's the interesting story

after I was told that hey listen mainly it's the ratings right one of the

producers on one of the show's pulled me aside as a friend

give me a little talking to which was interesting

he said look Cenk there are two audiences right

he said there's the audience that you're trying to appeal to that's the viewers

and there's audience that is management

okay and management is kinda like the club

and they want to make sure that you're cool and that

you know basically you can play ball to be in the club

and I thought hey listen the guy's try to look out for me I appreciate it is that

really true

who knows right

it's something to note no question about it right

but we'll see how it develops okay

then I started getting notes every once in awhile these notes were no big deal

perfectly fine you know they would tell you

uh... don't use your arms so much look at that I'm just using the arms

right why who knows

uh... act more like a senator

why why would I act like a senator senator's are incredibly boring

why would I do that but okay i'm trying you know hey

it's a different format right on the online I did get to do it's my show I do

whatever I like

we have a great audience etc. but it's a different format they're

in that respect my bosses so I listen to them right

and then we get a number of enormous news events and for those of you who don't


those big news events wind up helping CNN so when he Egypt's revolution

happens everybody turns to CNN

Libya Japan

uh... Osama bin Laden getting shot and killed

all those are what they call

CNN stories right and so

now the show is not named

uh... we have all these four storms that we gotta get beyond

uh... and then i'm doing this and this okay and I got the tie

but you know so we have some up-and-down numbers in february and

march for example right

uh... and then

I started doing it more my style

and then the numbers went up

you're about to see that in a sec

and I just love this comment on YouTube I'm sorry I forgot who said it

but they said looking at Cenk on The Young Turks is like watching a

tiger in the wild right

seeing him on TV is like watching that same tiger in a zoo

and I love you for saying that

it's a little true especially when I was actually trying to listen to their


now I stop listening to their advice

in April why well

this is the TV moment or movie moment

I got pulled in


they told me

hey listen

uh... we were just or is actually one specific person the head of MSNBC

he said I was just in Washington

and people in Washington tell me

that they're concerned about your tone

I was like whoa what

you know

despite all the things that I've said about the mainstream media

I still viewed that as kind of like theoretical like a real person are they

really going to say that I was like

and I'm naively thinking what does he mean did he talk to his friend Bob in


why would you say people in Washington

if he meant oh yeah I was talking to my buddy down at the shop about you it

just happened to be that he was a person in Washington you wouldn't frame it

that way right

but I'm still thinking that

and then he gives me the second part of the speech he says to me

hey listen Cenk

outsiders are cool

and they wear I think he might have said something like they wear leather jackets

they ride bikes I think I'm an outsider

I don't ride bike

but I have a terrible leather jacket anyway

he said I'd love to be an outsider outsiders are cool but we're not

we're insiders

we are the establishment

and I just kind of sat back

I was like wow

this is it

this is the speech


he said look you got a tone it down

and then had me talk to one of their top contributors who explained hey


just take it easy you know you're a little tough on the guests

and you know tone issues and you know

let's have more republicans on which was an interesting thing

by the way I have no problems with that because

I'm not gonna have a Republican on and play patty cakes with them whenever I had

republicans on I challenged them and I enjoyed that so no problems with that

so I get that speech and when I walked out of the office I didn't say anything to him

when I heard it and when I walked out of office I thought

oh that's it now it's on okay I will not be doing that

I will be doing the opposite

so then I started uh...

letting that tiger run a little right

and we did it more my style whether it was stylistically some of the segments were

more unscripted at the end they were totally unscripted

right which I enjoy like we're doing right now


because you get to tell a story that way I'm going to come back to that point in

a second but substantively

you know it was always challenging the government and challenging those that

are in power and obviously that was the issue right

and I continued do that uh... going forward as well and so what happened

well my ratings improved dramatically

april was good

may was great let me show you the may numbers

uh... these are all from internal MSNBC emails okay uh... adults twenty five fifty


I got a hundred and sixty four thousand

that was a nineteen share

delivered the strongest adults twenty five

and total viewer audience since the launch of the show okay now

you gotta understand the demo talk here on television right

adults twenty five to fifty four they call the money demo

that's uh... where they want uh... that's what the advertisers judge you on

that's where you gotta do well okay so april check

may even better great

well how about the whole quarter because that gives you a better sense of it so if you say

oh well he did well this week or he didn't do well that week yeah that's not

really much of an indication but a whole quarter three months april may and june

well fantastic

look at those numbers adults twenty five fifty four five hundred fifty-four

thousand overall eighteen share

now that includes


and we picked up in may and june

uh... but even then overall ranked number two in total viewers the overall

in the quarter

beat CNN

and MSNBC Live at six that's me up from last year and last quarter

so why is it important that it's up from last year

well they were incredibly satisfied with Ed Schultz's they should have been he did a

great job and he brought up the numbers

I did better than last year's numbers okay

so if you beat the guy that they said hey was the guy who got the position

before you

they should be very happy with that

and it's not to say that I beat Ed it's just we improved on the numbers so that's

fantastic right

and if you beat the hell out of CNN that's fantastic

in june it's even better okay now look at this

this was the week right before they told me the decision okay


hundred seventy four thousand

uh... in the demo nineteen share

beat CNN


fifty one thousand in the demo

now that's when they're saying yeah

we're not that interested

how could you not be interested if you care if you only care about the numbers

that doesn't make any sense right

if you think that's bad

you see what we had up on that earlier graphic

I beat

Fox in adults

eighteen to thirty four

those are that's a younger audience obviously I don't know how many MSNBC

shows beat Fox in fact when I went on MSNBC had an article with Alternet and I

said that

I would beat Fox in the ratings and make them fear me

and I remember some conservative websites [laughter] you can't beat Fox in the ratings

Fox is way ahead that's why

you know you see the number two numbers that means you beat CNN you beat

everybody else right

well I caught them in a demo

right after I caught them in a demo and was number one there they called me in

and said no thanks

okay now

obviously I was puzzled by that right

so and but I do know that the speech I got at three months ago so I asked I said

hey listen did

I not do everything you asked me to and he said yes you did

I said did I not get good ratings he said yes you did

I said so what's up

we think that there's a better role for you

and it's not in six o'clock

okay I'm like great

when do I start at seven o'clock


and that is not how it went down so they offered me a as smaller role contributor

et cetera et cetera

and again you know

maybe to their credit they offered me a lot of money

so why did I turn it down

look when they gave me the speech

I thought

look they're trying to you know they're trying to bring me in and

but they're not I said maybe there are maybe they're going to act on it but I don't care

I'm not gonna do that there's no way

that I'm going to control the content of the show and tone it down so that

people in Washington are happy not going to do it I promised you guys you

remember before I went into MSNBC

I promised The Young Turks audience that I would never do that right so you know

but at the time you think are they really gonna make a decision based

on that I don't know we'll find out

well when your ratings are good

and they say you did everything you were supposed to do

and then you don't get the show

it leads me to believe that that might have been the reason

so I didn't wanna work at a place that

you know wouldn't let me do my kind of show that wasn't interested in my kind

of show

didn't want to challenge power

in fact

isn't that what I've been railing against the whole

time on The Young Turks

and look part of the reason that I made the decision

and it look come on keep it real there's a lot of factors right you get

all that money thrown at you and let me tell you something else that's really important

it's the perks it's funny because I said the same thing

before I went in

god they give you car rides to the airport they give you fancy hotels

you know that when you fly business class not do you get warm chocolate chip


but your bags come out first you're like aha suckers

everybody wait I'm going first

it's great to have your bags come out first you to get used to it right

and that's how they suck you in

as a general principle I don't mean MSNBC in particular

so I thought and I thought and I said look

the deciding factor for me was

I had to tell you this story


I'm holding onto this story that

you know I've been talking about the whole time on The Young Turks

about how

the problem with the mainstream media is they're

desperate to get access

they don't challenge the government they don't challenge power

and now you see that that is in fact true

when they give you the speech you're not sure that it's true when they act upon the speech

then you're sure it's true

then I gotta tell you that if I take the money and I get a reduced role

and I just

you know do whatever I do with it maybe I even rise up in the ranks again

what's the point man the point of the show was truth-telling

that's what we're supposed to do and we're supposed to challenge the government

that's the role of the media


I stuck to that

and uh... and I hope I made the right decision

and that is exactly what we'll do on The Young Turks going forward

and you could still tell 'em

tell your friends

tell your neighbors

tell Randy Gonzalez I'm coming

more than ever I'm coming

all right Steve Oh looks like he's got a question

for me yes can you speak about the money turned down I mean it's

not like you got a reduction in salary I mean they offered you

more than you were currently making

for smaller role

yeah you know that's an interesting point it's like kind of hush money to shut you up

and keep it keep you

off the primetime air waves

yeah I don't know about that part right and I don't want to speculate on that but you know

and we didn't talk about this before but yeah you know I just always it's a lot of money I don't want

to say how much but

Steve makes an interesting point

it was

double the amount of money I was receiving for a much smaller role

you know there could be different reasons for that

or it could be like hey come on play ball play ball okay

we gotta keep you you got a good progressive brand we need that progressive brand et cetera

now look I wanna make something else clear and this is really important

uh... this is not impugn any of the other hosts why why

because I'm not just saying that because I like them et cetera et cetera


in real life the power structures are different for every uh... person right

there is no

and here's someone else I want to clarify right

MSNBC is not Fox news channel okay people are going to say they're all the same there's

going to be a false equivalency no

there was never a memo as there was at Fox news that we saw from Bill Salmon and Moody

et cetera saying

all right here's what we want you to say here's what we don't want you to say

here are the words that we want you to use remember at Fox news channel they tell their news


don't say healthcare program say obama care

don't call it the public option that polls well

call it the government option

okay they take polling from republican organizations

and then make their news anchor say it that did not happen at MSNBC

now what happened was not great either now the second distinction

is between management and the hosts for example I

you know Rachel Maddow

has done such a great job of achieving strong independence there and

you do that if you're a smart person like Rachel

by slowly accruing power until you can say hey listen this is the way I'm going to

do it

and you get good enough ratings that they they just can't pull the trigger okay and so

for example

general cable news uh... ideology is

you do a really short intro and then you get to the guest right

Rachel said

no I'm going to do a long intro cause I want to tell a story I love that and she's

absolutely right and it's worked for for her and she's number one at the station

but she's broke some of the rules and she did it in a smart way

and she got a great audience for it and this speech that they had with me I'm not

sure that they've had with any other hosts

why you know it depends on the circumstances right but I've never got

any indication from the other hosts that they had that speech

so you gotta keep it real you gotta understand and why is it easy to

have that speech with me well all the other hosts have contracts all ready and

management has already said we like these guys that's why we hired them and

hence our reputation is tied to them in some degree right but if you

don't have the permanent contract yet then they could put more pressure on you

to get you to play ball and remember I am by far

the most the hardest on the Obama administration doesn't mean the other hosts aren't hard on him

at times when he deserves it but I'm clearly the hardest on the Obama administration

and so

I've got the least amount of power

and I'm the toughest on Washington if will and not just the Obama administration

but you know uh... all Washington and you know I've said on the air I think most

politicians are corrupt and I remember my guest was like what

what how can you say that

these are honorable gentlemen

I am not going to do a show where I pretend

most of the politicians in Washington are honorable gentleman hell no right

so and look Ed Schultz is a bull and yeah and sometimes he gets in trouble

for it right but he charges hard and Dylan Ratigan I'm shocked that he's still on the air

it's a minor miracle and thank god because that guy is you know whether

you agree with him or don't agree with him he definitely tells the truth

and he is non-partisan he goes after both parties without any fear so blesses heart so

they've got some great hosts at MSNBC

so don't hold it against those folks I'm just telling you the particular story that

happened to me why I was uncomfortable with it why I decided not to go in that


and oh by the way

I'm you know look and by the way you know as a matter of like oh am I principled

and some people have said very nice things and some people have said very bad things et cetera

in the press but

understand too that you know as we do the segment what would jesus do

morality is you know is a shifting thing right so I was able to take

that tough stance why for the same reason that I was able to get on MSNBC

in the first place

you guys

because I have the TYT army behind me I got a show that's sitting here at half a

billion views

up to a million views a day so and that's because you guys so I can come

back here and do it exactly the kind of show I want to do

and kick ass and give you the actual truth and take it to power and tell them and

let them know that they're not coming for me I'm coming for them

and that's because of you guys and the first time I got the MSNBC job was

because of you guys you know wrote in the letters and emails et cetera

et cetera

and I can't thank you enough for that it was an

unbelievable experience an eye-opening experience and it confirmed

what we had always suspected

power is very very strong and tends to have some degree of influence in our


but here at The Young Turks we're going to fight back against that

The Description of Cenk Leaves MSNBC (Inside Story)