Viacom: Purveyors of Cultural Filth

July 20, 2012 - By Trigger  //  Random Notes  //  16 Comments

TV watchers have been crying for over a week now because MTV, CMT, and other channels have been canceled for some viewers in an ongoing dispute between satellite provider DirecTV, and Viacom, the world’s 4th largest media conglomerate. Listen to me, crying at the loss of CMT, MTV, and certain other Viacom properties is the television equivalent of sympathizing with your kidnapper.

I’ve often wondered, why is it always the music channels that get hijacked from their original formats to become the preeminent purveyors of cultural filth? They start off by showing music videos, and somehow that organically translates to showing realty TV that displays the most vile of stereotypes. Every time the story is the same, whether it is MTV, CMT, VH1 or BET. Once Viacom buys a cable channel, they enact a reformatting to pander to very narrow, very obvious demographics of people who identify with corporate culture. I wouldn’t let my dog raise its leg on a television set that was aglow with an episode of CMT’s “Redneck Vacation” or MTV’s “Jersey Shore”. That would be assigning it more dignity than it deserves.

And is it the music programming that Viacom is using to entice its viewers to either switch providers or lobby DirecTV to return the Viacom channels? No, it’s these reality series. Urban culture, rural culture, hip-hop culture; it is all covered here. Check it:

“Whut?” WHUT? Yuck Yuck Yuck! HEEEE YAWWWW!!!

It’s bad enough that for years Hollywood and mainstream media have made Southern and rural America the brunt of their jokes. Now Southern culture is doing it to ourselves through CMT. “Camera’s rolling redneck, dance! Come on! Do something funny for us! Eat a rattlesnake, roll in the mud! Go!”

Many of these music channels started off as small-time operations with good intentions. BET was originally created by black television executives who were tired of the rest of media only portraying people of color in a negative light. But as soon as Viacom gained control, it began showing programming with even worse stereotypes than the regular networks. Viacom turned music channel TNN into Spike TV, and shifted the programming to pander to the young male “PS2 pot head” demographic. Maybe it is not a coincidence that the rise of reality programming and reformatting of these music channels paralleled the lull in the music business we saw in the mid/late 2000’s.

Read: CMT’s “My Big Redneck Vacation” Perpetuates Stereotypes

Some folks are blaming DirecTV for getting in the way of their “Redneck Vacation” or other watching, when it was clearly Viacom who instituted the dispute when they raised the rates DirecTV must pay to carry Viacom channels. DirecTV claims if they were to keep the Viacom programming, they would have to raise the rates of the customers. Of course DirecTV isn’t squeaky clean either with the way they bait and switch their subscription plans, making them super cheap in the beginning and then slowly raising rates and taking away programming over time.

I say good riddance to CMT, MTV, and Viacom. Hopefully DirecTV isn’t the only ones who jettison the Viacom tripe, and hopefully they stick to their guns. I know that not all Viacom channels are awful, and neither is all CMT and MTV programming. And though I’m not a television watcher myself, I know that folks need downtime in life and TV offers an easy opportunity for that. But clamoring for the return of CMT, MTV, “Redneck Vacation”, “Jersey Shore”, or certain other Viacom programming is like clamoring for more pesticides in your food.

Trust, me, you don’t want it.

16 Comments to “Viacom: Purveyors of Cultural Filth”

  • I agree with pretty much everything in this article. My problem is that – as the parent of two kids under six – Nickelodeon is also Viacom and the kids want that back.


  • They announced that they reached a deal today to end the blackout. Honestly, the only thing I watch on any of the affected channels is Spike TV’s Impact Wrestling and Bellator MMA.


    • That’s a shame.


      • i watch tvland , but the only one i really cared about was Spike TV due to Impact Wrestling.


  • dish network recently dropped ifc and amc, among others…i would have gladly given up my “music television” in order to keep channels worth watching


    • I completely agree. My heart sank when I saw IFC had been replaced by HD Net.


  • I don’t see how this is relevant to saving country music. It’s my opinion that we should all get out and support our local and non-local musicians instead of worrying about what’s on TV.


    • Huh? I agree we should all get out and support music, but I can’t understand how in any way this article can be construed as being against that. If anything, it is coming out for that, by illustrating the filth that television has become.

      For country music to be “saved” it is going to take a fight on all fronts, on all formats, including television. Both of us may much prefer going out to a live show instead of turning a television on, and I have posted a myriad of articles on that subject over the years. But corporate TV watchers deserve good music and good programming too. It was my goal with this article to help awaken people to the history of what Viacom has done to music television channels. Saying that people should turn off their TV and go see some music live goes without saying. We all agree on that. No need to be redundant.


      • My point is not that this article is against supporting local and live music. My point is that this in no way affects any of the artists most of us are interested in, or their music.


        • I would respectfully disagree. Filth takes away from substance. I feel it is important to express opposition.


  • crappy semi sorta reality based gawd awful TV shows cost much less to produce than your run of the mill crappy gawd awful regular TV stuff. it’s economics or something. what pisses me off is DISH dumping AMC and it’s series, ‘hell on wheels’, along with IFC.


  • I cancelled my tv service a couple of years ago and I could not be happier. Programming has sunk to an all-time low and the thousands of crap shows far outweigh the dozen good ones. I’m one of those people who think about supply and demand. By not paying for it, I’ve removed my demand for the supply of it.

    What I pay for Netflix and Hulu in a year is a little more than one month of my old bill. Netflix has oodles of music documentaries, and some decent old TV shows. Hulu keeps me up with the times on the decent popular network shows. Then there are one or two shows (like Mad Men and Hell on Wheels) that I just buy off of iTunes or Amazon. I’m still saving a ton of money and my senses are not subjected to the embarrassment that has become modern entertainment.

    So if you’re so frustrated with your craptacular service, stop spending $100+ a month and give it the boot! I did and I can tell you that not only am I so much better off, I’m not missing anything that was actually good!


    • Here! Here! I stand correctly sir! I refuse to watch this filth on television. We are the consumers! The best way to voice your opinion and morals is to not buy the product.


    • When m,y cable provider wanted not only the late payment but a $25 late fee, $35 collection fee, a $50 reconnection fee, a $35 service charge for sending somebody out, and a months fee’s in advance to reconnect my cable after their billing department messed up my statement. I told them where they could stick their DVR box. I have never been happier. The stuff I want to watch I can watch when I want to watch it. And I am not supporting the tripe that populates the airwaves.


  • I certainly concur that MTV and VH1 are purveyors of cultural filth that is consumed by very young people and which helps instill their make the rules as you go values.

    Letting your children watch this trash is like using the local mall for daycare.

    I have never watched CMT or BET.

    I would add NBC to the list of purveyors of filth, though, because its programming and stars are, with rare exceptions (Keith Morrison and Dateline) garbage.


  • Bah, all I missed was Nick Jr. (for the kid) and Comedy Central (for my Daily Show fix).


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