Young Turks Founder Cenk Uygur Mocked After About-Face on Defunding Police

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 25: Cenk Uygur, Founder and CEO of TYT attends The Young Turks (TYT) 20th Anniversary Celebration at YouTube Space LA on May 25, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for TYT)
Anna Webber/Getty Images for TYT

The Young Turks founder and failed Democratic congressional candidate Cenk Uygur was ridiculed for slamming “defund the police” after having expressed full support for the rallying cry following the violent George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020.

Uygur, who founded The Young Turks network, posted a tweet on Tuesday attacking the “counterproductive” defund the police slogan, becoming the latest figure on the left to distance themselves from a policy they previously cheered.

“Will people who came up with ‘Defund the Police’ slogan admit they were wrong? It was wildly counterproductive framing,” he wrote this week. 

“You don’t speak for the left,” he added. “And neither do people pushing the counterproductive ‘Abolish Prisons.’ Polls show that almost no one on the left agrees with you.”

However, it was Uygur himself who had come out in support of defunding the police in 2020 when the issue was gaining popularity in the wake of the George Floyd riots.

“I’m done. I’m now supporting #DefundThePolice 100%,” the leftist YouTube commentator wrote. “I already largely agreed with the substance of the argument & now I’m down for the framing, too.” 

“There is no reform or transformation that can fix this,” he added. “We have to start over and completely rebuild policing in this country.”

As a result, many took to Twitter recalling his previous message expressing support for defunding the police — both the policy as well as its “framing.”

Podcaster Mikhaila Peterson posted a screenshot of the 2020 tweet.

“Mugged by reality looks like,” wrote freelance writer Rav Arora.

“Do you really not know you’re a hypocrite or are you just unclear of the definition of the word itself?” asked former NHL player Dustin Penner.

“What happened, did you get mugged? Defund the police is a normal result of the grotesque white privilege rap you’ve been drooling out for years,” wrote former congressional candidate Nicholas Tutora.

“Now the hate you speak has turned into violence towards everyone and you protest. Ignoramus,” he added.

“Seems like two years ago you had [a] much different perspective,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Stop backpedaling. Own it that you burned down the country during an election year to make some kind of point, and accept the fact that we do not need to engage with destructive and violent people like yourself in future discussions,” wrote another.

“Kinda telling on yourself to admit that your guiding principle is what polls well and not what is morally correct,” another user wrote.

“Hypocrite, thy name is Cenk,” wrote another Twitter user.

“Did you think we’d forget it was your friends who came up with that slogan?” another wrote.

During the 2020 anti-police riots — the most costly in U.S. history — many leaders in blue cities caved to BLM’s call to “defund the police,” which became popular with Democrats during and after the 2020 presidential election season. 

However, crime has surged nationwide after progressives campaigned endlessly against police, leading to eroded confidence in law enforcement, sunken police morale, and an officer exodus.

Following the defunding of police in many Democrat cities, murder rates rose 16 percent in 2021 across major U.S. cities, a trend that has bled into 2022. 

Big cities also continue to see an upward trend of violent crime in places such as Los Angeles and New York City — both of which defunded their departments and employed soft-on-crime “bail reform,” which allows career criminals back on the streets.

However, with a continuing crime wave across America’s big cities, poll after poll after poll has shown that a majority of voters do not support defunding police, with many expressing their belief the policy has hurt public safety and contributed to rising crime.  

In response, Democrats have begun to distance themselves from the policies they pushed, at one point even attempting to blame Republicans for defunding police. 

More recently, both President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) denounced the idea, with Pelosi proclaiming that defunding police is not a policy of the Democrat Party. 

In May, the radical activist group Black Lives Matter (BLM) railed against the “white supremacist” institution of “policing,” decrying its roots in “racism” and “slave patrolling,” while attacking politicians who support “our killers,” in a series of tweets following President Joe Biden’s signing of an executive order on policing reforms.

People walk down 16th street after “Defund The Police” was painted on the street near the White House on June 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. After days of protests in DC over the death of George Floyd, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed that section of 16th street "Black Lives Matter Plaza". (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

People walk down 16th street after “Defund The Police” was painted on the street near the White House on June 08, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

In January, Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury lamented the current state of crime nationwide, accusing BLM activists of having “buckets of blood on their hands” for their role in soaring crime and homicide rates

In December, it was revealed that BLM activists gave a talk to over 150 people, telling students that “crime is made up” and black people are “enslaved” when they are sent to jail.

Last May, Breitbart News reported that since the death of George Floyd, Hollywood has devoted significant airtime to promoting far-left racial ideologies, with one report finding that 127 TV episodes have pushed BLM, the “defund the police” movement and the belief that America is “systemically racist.”

However, this month, the New York Times published an op-ed mourning the apparent “death” of the issue, regretting it had not “caught on broadly enough” and warning Americans will yet “regret” rejecting it.

Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.


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