Young Turks films live on campus, discusses election

The online, progressive-leaning show The Young Turks premiered live on the TV channel Fusion at Wallis Annenberg Hall on Monday.

The show kicked off its live 12-week college tour at USC. It accompanies a weekly show in which the hosts discuss political issues and world events.

The live show featured a panel, which included hosts Ana Kasparian and John Iadarola, the show’s creator Cenk Uygur and Nando Vila, the vice president of programming at Fusion and a commentator on the show. The panelists discussed current issues such as the legalization of marijuana, climate change and college tuition with a live audience composed of USC students.

Olivia Deveau, a freshman majoring in journalism, said that she wished there was more female representation on the panel. However, she appreciated the point of view that the lone female panelist, Kasparian, offered.

“I don’t necessarily agree with [Kasparian] because of her past opinions,” Deveau said. “[But] it was nice to hear her say some things that I really do agree with and hear her advocate for the millennials.”

The panel also focused on the importance of young voters in the next election, who Kasparian said should not be underestimated.

“When you hear about young people in the news, it is typically negative,” Kasparian said. “They’re not lazy, they’re the most educated generation. A lot of the criticisms are unfair.”

While all the panelists agreed that millennials will be a deciding factor in the election, Uygur said that calling millennials “smarter than their parents” on TV is “toxic” for older television viewers.

“They can swing an election if they get active. As progressive as millennials are, watch out — -we could make a tremendous difference,” Uygur said.

Uygur and Iadarola agreed on the influence young people have on the election. Iadarola explained that The Young Turks has been influencing the media with what the show is doing online. On YouTube, the show dubs itself “The Largest Online News Show in the World.”

“We feel that we can take what makes TYT different and superior and try to spread it,” Iadarola said. “It will make us better and other media better.”

Though the show is followed by a wide array of students for its progressive ideals and leanings toward Bernie Sanders, members of the Armenian community have been against the show’s title, which Armenian Students’ Association member Syunik Zohrabyan called “inflammatory.”

Zohrabyan explained that a political group in the Ottoman Empire called the “Young Turks” implemented the systematic genocide of the Ottoman Armenians and other ethnic groups of the empire in 1915.

“What if this was instead the ‘The Neo-Nazis’ or ‘The KKK’ coming to speak and broadcast live from Annenberg to discuss global climate change?” Zohrabyan said. “For USC to give a platform to an organization that glorifies a government killing its own people is degrading to this University’s reputation.”

Uygur explained that the show’s name “has nothing to do” with the historical reference.

“Young Turks means young progressives looking to overthrow the established system,” Uygur said. “There’s a common English definition of that phrase, and that’s what we’re going for.”

Matthew Yeh, a senior majoring in business, said he has been following the show for more than five years, and felt “starstruck” seeing the journalists he loves.

“Unlike mainstream media, they are very honest and talk about things that aren’t usually talked about,” Yeh said. “They aren’t afraid of taking the position that not a lot of people agree with.”

Despite his following of the show and interest in topics they cover, Yeh said he is not sure if he will cast his vote in the upcoming election in November.

“I’m not well-versed, so I don’t want to make an uneducated vote, but it seems to me that one vote won’t make a difference,” Yeh said. “But the show explained that millennials being involved in the elections is crucial to make change.”

The Young Turks will continue to tape their show from different universities across the country for the next 11 weeks. The show will broadcast from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. next Monday.