The Young Turks broadcast live from GW’s campus. Keren Carrion | Hatchet Staff Photographer
This post was written by Hatchet reporter Chase Smith.
The Young Turks opened up with GW students about politics, sexting and gender as they broadcast live around the country from the Jack Morton Auditorium Monday night.
The online news program joined forces with the FUSION TV network in May to bring 12 hour-long live tapings of their show from college campuses across America. The 12 week program began last week at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Hosts Ana Kasparian and John Iadarola were joined onstage by FUSION host Nando Vila and in the audience by TYT political reporter Jordan Chariton. Special guests included Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, as well as Student Association President Erika Feinman.
Here are some of the main takeaways:
1. ‘How much does it take to buy our youth?’
The first segment of the show focused on money in politics and asked audience members how much it would take for audience members to say they thought climate change was not real.
Two of the three audience members asked said it would take $0 and that they wouldn’t “put a price on the Earth.” A third audience member said it would only take $5 for him to change his mind.
Iadarola called money “corrosive from top to bottom,” and his co-host Kasparian pointed to a TYT initiative called “Wolf PAC,” which seeks to pass a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.
Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, said it can be a challenge to get things done in Washington because of the “problem of money in politics.”
“We have an issue right now, which is there’s a Supreme Court Justice seat that is open,” she said. “It’s really just one seat that can make the difference on Citizens United. [Which] is one of the reasons we have the system that we do where you can give unlimited amounts of money.”
2. Sexting candidates?
Fueled by the social media savviness of their young audiences and Anthony Weiner’s most recent sexting scandal, the hosts asked how many students in the audience had sent or received sexually explicit photos. Many in the audience owned up to sending and receiving the consensual photos, including host Jordan Chariton.
“At some point during a presidential campaign, we will see a candidate naked as a result of this behavior,” Kasparian said.
A live poll taken by applause indicated that the majority of the audience believed that a nude photo of a candidate would not have an impact on their vote.
3. Public figures and lies
The hosts played a montage of lies by each of the 2016 frontrunners, featuring clips of the presidential nominees – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – saying lies. When the hosts asked the audience if they thought their government was representing them, the room fell silent, with no one raising a hand.
The hosts placed a large part of the blame on journalists like Matt Lauer, who was criticized for ignoring false claims by Trump during a forum earlier this month.
“The reasons politicians lie is because they can,” Kasparian said. “There’s no one keeping them honest.”
4. Highlighting identities
Feinman, the SA president, was featured as a guest during the program. Kasparian spoke with Feinman about their preferred pronouns as well as what it meant to be the first gender nonconforming student body president.
“Part of what helps me be a success here is that GW is so politically active,” Feinman said. “A big part of GW’s identity is making history and so I think students were really excited about that particular aspect.”
5. Staying politically active.
The hosts brought up GW’s reputation and ranking as the most politically active campus in the nation. Students urged the hosts to talk more about issues such as Puerto Rico and its debt crisis, and for political candidates to talk more about violence in America than focusing on issues like their opponents health.
“The audience was so fired up. It was like being in one of my favorite political science classes,” Iadarola said in a post-taping interview.