From the NBC Peacock to the TYT Iguana

An animal progression that says it all.

It was 60 years ago almost exactly – May 22, 1956 – that NBC unveiled its famous peacock logo to highlight the wonders of a color television set. All these decades later, if another creature can encapsulate the powers of online news upstarts, it might as well be the iguana. From Dave Weigel’s Washington Post profile of The Young Turks co-founder and main on-air man Cenk Uygur:

“In the old days, TV had a lot of power, but that’s shifting now,” Uygur said in an interview at TYT’s Culver City headquarters, a former bar that’s home to two fully outfitted studios, a shelf of awards and an iguana mascot – Mayaguana – who just showed up one day. “So we’d better figure out how to use that power for the issues we care about, because cable TV is worse than propaganda. It’s marketing for the rich and powerful.”

We’re not sure what would happen in a zoo setting if a peacock was thrown into the same pen as an iguana. Perhaps some expert can educate us in the comments.

But we do know, as longtime chroniclers of the TYT Network, what occurs metaphorically in the TV news business. Katie Couric winds up at Yahoo; Brian Williams becomes a social-media punching bag; and Lester Holt holds on to the 25-to-54 demo lead the same way that TYT caters to the 13-to-24’s. (April comScore stats placed TYT Network at the top in a number of U.S. measurement categories, well ahead of CNN Politics, Salon, Fox News Politics and MSNBC.)

National political correspondent Weigel revisits, with interesting detail, Uygur’s pivotal decision moment at MSNBC. And on this holiday weekend, the article, thanks to an equal focus on Bernie Sanders, is off and scrolling with hundreds of reader comments at press time, such as this one:

FaithBK: I am so f’in tired of smug media columnists (it’s a stretch to call them “reporters”) dismissively referring to the millions of people who support – not JUST Senator Sanders, but the positions he’s articulating – as “followers”, “Sanders-Philiac” or “Sanders – Obsessed”. Then when large swatches of the voting public call you for the B/S, you turn around and mock that. What you fail to address is that members of your club (Amy Goodman, John Nichols, Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald) agree with the assessment that the corporate-owned media has failed. The endless efforts of dime a dozen media outlets to create their own memes, reframe the discussion and cherry-pick what is reported as well as how it is reported is patently obvious. So, too , is the shameful fact that network news frequently gives us political guest “commentators” without bothering to identify who is paying these people. And yes, whether or not you place the word corporate in quotes, when you are a corporate-owned media outlet, that is in fact what you are…

Previously on FishbowlNY:
FishbowlLA Set Visit: The Young Turks
The Young Turks Are Crowdfunding Their New Studio
The Young Turks Score $4 Million in Equity Funding