Last Updated on February 11, 2020
Google is funding a project by far-left outlet The Young Turks called TYT Academy that aims to focus on the “creation of digital-first local news.”
YouTube, operating under Google’s $300 million Google News Initiative, is paying TYT a sum in the “mid six-figures range,” according to Axios.
TYT has a long and controversial history on YouTube, frequently being made the butt of jokes for what many people see as their public image of naked partisanship, low-grade journalism, and Armenian genocide denial.
TYT also tends to cast itself as a staunch opponent of corporate money in the political system, a stance which seems dubious at best given the recent Google investment.
Google’s investment has raised eyebrows, as TYT founder Cenk Uygur is currently running for a congressional office in California. Uygur’s campaign was disgraced by the retraction of an endorsement by Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) after various statements by Uygur surfaced that appeared to support homophobia, sexism, and beastiality.
Several instances of Uygur voicing bizarre opinions can be seen below.
BREAKING: #Cenk2020 calls for legalizing BESTIALITY where you "are pleasuring the animal" in 2013. (Warning: Explicit Video)
— M. Mendoza Ferrer (@m_mendozaferrer) November 26, 2019
Despite TYT’s scandal-ridden past, Google is apparently eager to partner with the left-wing mouthpiece.
The new class features a two-track video series, with each containing 8 videos. Users will take short quizzes along the way, and must pass a final exam after completing each track to earn a TYT Academy certificate.
- First track: Journalism tactics and responsibilities.
- Second track: Best practices for online video production across many online platforms, not just YouTube.
For now, the course is in a trial period. TYT plans to expand the program more broadly after first testing it with 10-15 people.
- The goal of the class is to get everyday people engaged in digital media so that they can help report on their local communities.
Yes, but: While TYT takes a strong progressive position as an outlet, Steven Oh, TYT’s Chief Business Officer and the creator of TYT Academy, told Axios on a phone call that TYT is “not interested in cranking out journalists who share our political viewpoint whatsoever.”
Axios says the videos “appear to be non partisan,” but a cursory investigation by National File found one video called “Getting Sources” that features a female TYT employee offering up politically charged rhetoric against “straight white dudes” roughly ninety seconds in:
And also pay attention to the power dynamics in the story you’re doing. Is the institution dominated by straight, white dudes? Your story should reveal that kind of inequity, not reflect it. Find knowledgeable sources among groups that have been disenfranchised by the institutions you’re covering. They know stuff.
The course is currently in a “trial period,” and the production quality and effort put into the 16-episode series seems noticeably low given the prodigous amount of funding involved.