The CMA Had Every Right to Request Media to Refrain from Politics, Just Not to Demand It
Look. You know me, and you know there’s little to no love residing in my cold, cold heart for the Country Music Association, and especially for their annual “High school pageantry, meat parade award show bullshit” that is CMA Awards … to borrow a phrase from an incensed Sturgill Simpson. And where is the epicenter of the “pageantry” and the “meat parade” at the CMAs? It’s at the pre-show red carpet ceremony and backstage hootenanny that harbors the worst of slavish, obsequious celebrity worship that country music evidences all year.
That said, annually I unabashedly exploit the CMA Awards as wholesale recruitment effort to the independent side of country music via conducting a live blog and other exercises. All sense of professional decorum is thrown out the window to rail against what is happening to our beloved genre, harvesting disenfranchised country fans from the gen pop who watch the spectacle transpire on their televisions, and take to Google or social media to ask “What in the everloving HELL has happened to country music?!?,” landing right here on the Saving Country Music’s doorstep, greeted with open arms to find like-minded folks to commiserate with, and to be exposed to healthier alternatives.
In the aftermath of the largest mass shooting in modern history at the Harvest 91 Festival, the CMA asked that reporters who were applying for media credentials to interview performers on the red carpet or in the backstage media center for the upcoming CMA Awards, to please refrain from bringing up those terrible Las Vegas memories when conducting interviews with the performers, and to refrain from political questioning in general. And if not, they may be asked to leave.
A bevy of headlines from numerous country music media sources incensed about the restrictions being put on media emerged in the aftermath, cascading into the internet fury we so regularly see in the current political climate.
Taking the headlines themselves on face value, the CMA saying, “NO Questions About Guns, Politics, Las Vegas” as Rolling Stone portrayed, or “DON’T Talk About Las Vegas, Guns, Politics” as The Nashville Scene characterized, could feel like an unfair burden placed on the media, and perhaps even fall into a 1st Amendment issue. However these headlines mischaracterize the actual language that the CMA used in their requests to keep coverage non political, and also, ironically, illustrate why such a fine print provision was prescient and arguably warranted in the first place.
Now just to establish a baseline, understand that Saving Country Music, similar to any journalistic arm or organization, is strictly opposed to any restrictions put on any media, at any time, in any venue, and for whatever reason. All of this goes without saying, even though some, if not many, will gloss over this point when they voice their vehement disapproval over the opinions to follow. Of course the CMA was wrong for saying what journalists could or could not ask on the red carpet or backstage under threat of removal from security, and this can’t be underscored enough.
But the CMA did not say that the media could not bring up the Las Vegas incident, or even politics and gun control. What the CMA requested, and I quote, was, “please refrain from FOCUSING your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like.”
By saying “focusing,” the CMA was making sure to not discourage a passing question, or even multiple questions. What they were asking is that journalists don’t make politics or the Las Vegas massacre the focal point of their coverage. It is not a “NO” on political/Vegas topics as portrayed by much of the media. They also did not say that if you brought up Vegas, guns, or politics, you would be immediately removed as portrayed by many. What the CMA said, and another direct quote, “…your credential will be REVIEWED and POTENTIALLY revoked via security escort…” if you choose to FOCUS your coverage on Vegas or politics.
The entirety of the fine print media request for CMA red carpet / backstage credential can be seen at the bottom of this article.
What was the reason for this provision? It’s the CMA stating the obvious, which is that this is a music event, and that music should be the focus, not the political agenda of some media member who wants to use a red carpet movement for a political tangent, or who might veer into territory that is very emotionally scarring for the artists who witnessed their own fans being murdered by a homicidal maniac only a month ago, and might be taken off guard by an inappropriate question.
Yes, the CMA could have, and should have worded this so much better, if it was their place to make these requests at all. They simply could have said, “Please keep questions on the topic of music, and be respectful to the performers during this sensitive time.” Threatening to remove people by security seemed unnecessarily belligerent, even though it may have been a requirement inserted by legal beagles, and can also be commonplace in these circumstances (more on that in a minute).
The CMAs underlying mistake was to make these requests of the media in the first place. Anyone who receives approval to cover the CMA red carpet is very unlikely to frag an artist with an inappropriate or pointed question about politics or anything else because you can vet potential troublemakers before they even set foot on the premises. The point of a credential is to prescreen your media pool. By making these provisions (which the CMA has since walked back), they only increased the chances now that pointed questions will be asked of performers, since angry media members will likely test the limits of what they can ask now on sheer principle.
Yet the key to this whole issue, and why it became such a matter of national fervor and import last week that even CNN and Fox News were reporting on it, was by the CMA mentioning the phrases “gun rights” and “political affiliations,” they drew the ire of certain politically-charged and overtly-bias members of the country music entertainment media who’ve already been using their country music coverage to assert a political agenda—some of whom had no intention of covering the red carpet anyway and would never be approved for a credential in the first place—who then turned to social media and their various outlets to seethe about the egregious restrictions they were being asked to sign to, and doing so with misleading headlines which fanned the fervor.
This was never about throwing some innocent journalist off the red carpet if they asked a performer in passing how they were feeling a month after Las Vegas, this was a fine print provision to give CMA security the legal authority to remove someone from the red carpet or backstage area who would attempt to use the event as a moment of political activism or disruption, or to confront artists about their political beliefs, which would not be appropriate in that setting, and is a very real concern in this political climate.
Nobody is saying journalists can no longer ask country artists about politics, as has been asserted directly by scores of otherwise intelligent and rational journalists, artists, and fans. What the CMA simply did was request that media members approved for press credentials in the ceremonial setting of a red carpet event be respectful to the sensitivity of the Las Vegas massacre and keep their questions relevant to music.
The CMA Awards is the Country Music Association’s event. They produce it, they pay for it, they put immeasurable effort out to make sure it goes off without a hitch and is a worthwhile production for their constituents. They have every legal right to say which members of the media can or cannot attend in the capacity of asking artist’s questions, and they are completely in the bounds of propriety to ask people to act in a certain professional manner, and to remove them if they don’t.
Furthermore, the CMA has a right to protect their performers no different than any promoter or organizer. It is very likely these requests of the media by the CMA originated from the artists themselves who have every right to worry in the current political climate of getting dog piled or ambushed in a setting which is supposed to be about celebration and camaraderie, especially after a national tragedy that affected the community directly.
The CMAs are not a governmental institution. They don’t have to allow any media to cover the event if they so choose. Did you know that on Sturgill Simpson’s last tour, no press or photographers were given credentials at all? Far beyond requesting of the media what they can and cannot say, the media is being banned from events now as a very common practice on major tours and from a wide swath of artists.
Similar provisions, including ones threatening forced removal are given to the press at sporting events, film premiers, and other public gatherings. Did you know that to apply for media credentials at South By Southwest, you have to send in your previous press coverage of the event so they can vet it and choose if they want to give you credential again? So imagine if the CMA not only told journalists what they could and couldn’t ask, but then demanded editorial oversight of their work, while dangling the loss of credentials as repercussions for unfavorable coverage, and regularly using those provisions to restrict and deny media members from access as SXSW does. This has been going on for over a decade in Austin, with little to no outrage by the press corps.
SXSW, many major festivals, and scores of venues and event centers all across the country use verbiage similar to the words in the CMA press credentials about being removed for inappropriate behavior that all media must adhere to before they’re given approval. Look at the back of any concert ticket and it’s guaranteed to have a provision about the removal from premises to protect venue owners and promoters from legal repercussions if security must get involved in any situation, for whatever reason.
This was fine print. However due to the misleading headlines—which is what much of the media and public were reacting to instead the actual message from the CMA—it became one of those issues where everyone feels they need to be incited until the echo chamber becomes so voluminous, any effort to give perspective or context is seen as an attack, and any rebuttal is seen as a move towards unconstitutional totalitarianism. It’s torches and pitchforks time.
We’re talking about the CMA Awards. As Saving Country Music has illustrated for the last seven years running, any journalist can cue up a page on the internet and say any damn thing they want about the them, the performers, their stupid haircuts, how much their music sucks, and if they want, rail on them for their political affiliations or misguided stances on politics without fear of any retribution whatsoever.
You don’t want to have your lips cut off? Do the respectable thing and avoid the CMA red carpet dog and pony show in the first place. You really think that the CMA red carpet is a venue for anything more than to lob softballs at powdered-up celebrities? It’s arguably a compromise of journalistic ethics to even attend a CMA red carpet. That said, good on any journalist who has the willingness to crash that party and actually ask an important question. There was a time when being kicked off an awards show red carpet was a rite of passage for any journalist worth their salt.
Nonetheless, if I found myself invited into the CMAs barn for their big annual event, as a gentleman, I would follow their per-apportioned rules and requests. Is it because I’m a media patsy? No, it would be out of a base level of respect we should all have for one another as human beings, and being an invitee to anything, it should command a level of decorum that unfortunately has become too fleeting in the current political environment.
You see, this is the key to this whole fracas: It became so incredibly overblown because there was a political angle to it. Why does politics matter? Because politics is the impetus for people to lose all perspective on reality, and to overreact. Politics is like a contagion, especially now. Hence, the reason the CMA felt inclined to request that media members leave politics on the sidelines of their red carpet event in the first place.
And let’s also not undersell the importance of not triggering very traumatic memories and experiences for many of these artists that attended and performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. Just as the media has the right to ask anything they want, public individuals have the right to decline an interview or to refuse to speak publicly on certain matters, especially if they’re sensitive or polarizing in nature. Seeing a potential issue, the CMA tried to head off any of these inappropriate questions before they happened.
And don’t buy into this self-righteous fervor that somehow this request by the CMA crossed a moralistic red line. Where was country music media when Nelly was accused of rape while on tour with Florida Georgia Line recently? If there was 1/10th of the effort and indignation by the country music media over this ridiculous and overblown CMA media request pointed towards Nelly, he would not have been performing on a mainstream country tour as he fought off pending rape charges and trashed his accuser in the press. He would have been shamed off the tour. But instead, there was absolute silence from country media.
Where is the outrage that not a single country music artist signed to Kirt Webster’s Webster Public Relations roster has come out and rebuked their former associate after countless charges of sexual assault and harassment have come to light? The only performer to come publicly who was signed to Webster is Kid Rock, and he’s not even a country performer. If Kid Rock is the one helping to set the moral example in your community, you know how far your scruples have fallen.
Nashville media, especially The Nashville Scene and the editor Steve Cavendish, played a vital role in the exposure of publicist Kirt Webster, and they deserve great credit for the effort to bring the truth about Webster out from of the shadows. But much of the media is flat wrong to focus on this CMA media provision as anything more than something that was attempting to avoid the ripping of scabs so near a tragedy, and unnecessary conflict in an inappropriate setting.
The simple fact is publicists, managers, promoters, venues, and other industry professionals regularly restrict country music media. Country music is the most restrictive environment in all of entertainment. That is how they’ve molded country media to be nothing more than a promotional arm for the industry and the artists, with little to no true criticism, insight, or commentary making it to publication. How do you think a site like Saving Country Music thrives with no sponsors or underwriting? It’s because there’s an incredibly wide space for people to speak out about what is happening in country that nobody else is filling, and a massive appetite for it.
Politics in 2017 is tantamount to a disease, and an element of online fashion. It is an outlet for the irrational. There is a reason why it’s often disallowed to discuss politics and religion in the workplace, and unwise to do so in personal settings or around the Thanksgiving table. The CMA Awards is country music’s workplace, and artists have a right to not be confronted, or attacked, or asked to explain their political beliefs any different than any other work environment, especially when it’s being posed as a litmus test for personal integrity by bias media members.
Look what has happened to the NFL, and other entertainment institutions that have been unable to keep themselves from becoming politicized? The CMA was wise to try and head off any potential political issues that may arise at the CMA Awards, they were just stupid in how they did it. But make no mistake, there are many in the press corps, including, if not especially the country music press corps, that due to deep-seeded political neuroses, want to see the deconstruction of country music, not as an industry, but as a cultural institution, because they see country music as a haven for racist, pro-gun, Trumpist bigotry, and want to tear it asunder by burying their own bias ideology in country music coverage. That is why these media members were so incensed by the CMA’s red carpet request. It hit right at the heart of their political agenda.
CMA Awards host Brad Paisley said after the CMA reversal, “Bravo CMA awards for doing the right thing & apologizing for this mistake. All are welcome, let’s have a great show.”
Who was unwelcome before? This seems to allude that certain media members were being restricted because of race, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation, when this wasn’t true at all. Saying “all are welcome” to the CMA red carpet is a farce. Journalists are still heavily vetted, and very few get the opportunity to actually ask questions of the stars.
Maren Morris said about the issue, “Country music has always been about the truth. Out of respect for the Las Vegas victims, let’s keep it that way.”
Who was asking anyone to lie? What is the “truth” that is being hidden because you don’t want celebrities caught reliving terrible nightmares by inappropriate questions at a red carpet ceremony? This is imbecilic nonsense dressed up as folksy intellectualism.
Not just country music, but every sector of American society not directly tied to politics, must resist the efforts by politically-charged individuals with little sense of boundaries who are purposely attempting to disrupt every element of society that does not adhere to their political ideal. This is also an effort that it has been proven is being very directly fueled by Russia via social media in an effort to sow disharmony throughout American society.
Politics has a place in country music only if an artist chooses to broach the subject with their music or public persona. And only then do they open themselves to whatever repercussions this may result in. This goes for Toby Keith and Charlie Daniels, and their over-the-top American balladry, or the anti-interventionist sentiments of The Dixie Chicks. But they also have the right to remain silent on political issues, and to privacy about their feelings on the mass murder that recently hit very close to home.
As country music’s biggest governing body, the CMA was right to try and address this subject before it became a big issue. It’s just too bad they did in such a manner where they likely exacerbated the problem instead of mitigating it.
– – – – – –
The Red Carpet / Backstage CMA Request, verbatim:
In light of recent events, and out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved, please refrain from focusing your coverage of the CMA Awards Red Carpet and Backstage Media Center on the Las Vegas tragedy, gun rights, political affiliations or topics of the like. It’s vital, more so this year than in year’s past due to the sensitivities at hand, that the CMA Awards be a celebration of Country Music and the artists that make this genre so great. It’s an evening to honor the outstanding achievements in Country Music of the previous year and we want everyone to feel comfortable talking to press about this exciting time. If you are reported as straying from these guidelines, your credential will be reviewed and potentially revoked via security escort. We appreciate your cooperation in advance. If you have any concerns on your coverage plans, please reach out to the CMA Communications team in advance so we can be a great partner as we celebrate “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.”
November 6, 2017 @ 11:53 am
You’re right, it could have been worded better, but I also get where they are coming from. True jounalusm doesn’t exist anymore. Everyone has an agenda. And I personally don’t trust the media to not try to turn the CMA’s into an opertunity for political posturing.
November 6, 2017 @ 2:14 pm
Ridiculous statement. I can just imagine where you turn for “news.”
November 6, 2017 @ 12:05 pm
No skin off my nose, I wasn’t planning on tuning in anyways 🙂 If I wanted to know Sam Hunt’s take on gun laws…..never mind, I could care less on Sam Hun’ts take on anything.
November 6, 2017 @ 12:22 pm
And just when you thought it would be much ado about nothing,along comes another Mass Shooting.
November 6, 2017 @ 12:28 pm
Why would they want to limit politics? Last year was a great example.
November 6, 2017 @ 12:30 pm
My take is very different about these events. The media restrictions were put-in at the request of the artists to shield them from answering questions about the second amendment, because a few country artists recently walked-back from their previous stance about gun control after Vegas. It also saves the CMA – an industry in bed with the NRA (which was very well documented by SCM) – from slandering the NRA.
If I were a media member, that would be my only question to artists on the red carpet: In light of the recent events in Vegas and now Texas, what is your current stance about gun control? If country artists’ views about gun control are changing, that’s the story. And it a huge story.
The fact that Paisley (the freakin poster child of the CMA) and Morris came out against the restriction request, tells me there is more to this story than we know. Like who (what artists) made the request to the CMA?
November 6, 2017 @ 2:58 pm
I have little to no doubt that these requests by the CMA came from specific artists or their management, and they were just passing them along.
The influence that the gun lobby has in country music is a real issue, just as the influences major corporate advertisers like Ram Trucks have is a real issue. But the red carpet of an awards show is not the place to discuss these matters. Country artists, just like the rest of us, have absolutely no obligation to share or publicize their political beliefs.
There is no sweeping change in the stance on gun control in country music, despite certain elements of the media really really wanting there to be. And even if there was, there is no way asking journalists to refrain from focusing on that topic in the very specific context of the red carpet of the CMA Awards would in any way impinge on that reporting.
Remember, it has been confirmed that Russians have paid to sow disharmony in America specifically on the gun issue through social media, just as they have done with the NFL. There must be some firewall between sheer political rancor, and everyday cultural institutions that are meant to be enjoyed by everyone regardless of political affiliation.
November 6, 2017 @ 4:36 pm
I would say the artists who have a clue. Look at the example of the Dixie Chicks to see wading into the political arena is a no–win situation and some artists get it. Some of them realize that they are there to make music and that’s what their fans want. They don’t want to be put on the spot and I can’t say I blame them, either. They also realize there will be members of the press there for the very reason to trap some of them in a no-win situation. Imagine the celebrations and high-fives some of the “reporters” would get if they could somehow trap an artist like, say, Reba McEntire into coming out for gun control. This is neither the time nor the place for it.
November 6, 2017 @ 1:29 pm
The media intentionally misrepresenting something? Tell me it ain’t so.
November 6, 2017 @ 4:05 pm
Hey, it’s a free country.
The CMA has a right to make its request and journalists have the right to follow them or ignore them.
Somehow, I doubt that the CMA’s would eject a reporter from the Tennessean–or the NYT or the WSJ, for that matter, but if they do–it’s no big deal. The only effect it would likely have would be provoke other reporters into asking MORE questions of the type that the CMA is attempting to discourage.
November 6, 2017 @ 5:43 pm
…because getting into political statements has worked out so well for the NFL…
November 7, 2017 @ 2:04 pm
The NFL is not losing viewership solely because of the social statements of its players. It is losing viewers because the league is comically bad and it is a boring sport to watch. Add in cord-cutting growing to record numbers, CTE, and oversaturation of the marketplace….those factors play a much larger role in why the league is struggling versus players taking a knee.
The CMA’s will likely have low ratings again not because the show is political or not political, but because the younger Country music fan base could care less about award shows and consume the majority of their television content via Netflix, Prime, and Hulu.
November 9, 2017 @ 11:45 am
Prior to the 2016 season the sky was the limit for ratings according to USAToday and SI.com. Cord cutting, concussions, oversaturation, and hurricanes, were all in place then. It was only when Kaperneck started taking a knee that ratings declined. They were rising before then. Maybe all a huge coincidence.
But also a few weeks ago the most popular selling item in the NFL store was the jersey of the player who stood for the anthem. All evidence points one way. And the NFL still seems committed to its losing ways
November 6, 2017 @ 5:48 pm
Trig this is a book, not a blog post. I’ll shorten it:
F**k the CMA.
If Jesus Christ came back on the Last Day and the CMA’s were scheduled the day after, they’d make religious talk off-limits, that’s how f*ing cash-obsessed they are.
Thank God for fireplaces, guitars, booze, and foreplay. A million things better to do than watch industry blow-hairs fawn on each other.
Disgusting, dude. I recommend avoidance behavior.
November 6, 2017 @ 6:15 pm
CMA has the absolute right to do whatever it wishes.
This is its show.
This issue has zero First Amendment issues whatsoever, because the First Amendment applies to governmental institutions, which doesn’t include the CMA.
Speech, including that by the CMA in this matter, has consequences, and they may be severe.
Perhaps it’s gag order should have serious consequences.
I was actually enjoying the article until you quoted the Rolling Stone, which, from a journalistic perspective, ceased to exist several years ago.
It printed a completely false, defamatory and fraudulent narrative, because the storyline was so good that it forewent any type of story verification whatsoever.
It should soon be co-owned by a college fraternity and a U Va provost or vice dean.
It’s complete illegitimacy as a reliable source of accurate news has been forever forfeited as a consequence of its fabricated speech.
And, most recently, it’s foremost writer, Matt Taibbi, appears to have admitted to some incredibly perverted and violent behavior toward Russian minor young ladies.
He now denies it, but I don’t buy it a bit.
It would take a truly sick person to even write about the instances he bragged about in his book.
Trig, I apologize for spending so much effort on RS.
It’s not a credible source anymore,
After putting the Boston Marathon bomber on the cover a few years back, I won’t miss it.
I agree with you that the CMA shouldn’t impose a gag order on journalists for its odious annual awards show, I just disagree that it doesn’t have the right to do so.
November 6, 2017 @ 8:49 pm
The panic began when Associated Press’ Nashville-based entertainment video journalist, Kristin M. Hall, upset the CMA with an article she wrote referencing Meghan Linsey’s refusal of a National Rifle Association partnership offer.
Hall segued from Linsey’s spurning the NRA to the Las Vegas shootings to indicating that country artists were divided on the issue of gun control; that those who favored it (like Linsey, who also took a knee) lacked Linsey’s courage to speak out, due to the backlash from those who wrap country music in all things symbolically patriotic, or otherwise, including the NRA’s interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.
Linsey proclaimed that she felt censored, invoked the Dixie Chicks, while Hall responded by resurrecting the Natalie Maines’ remarks about “W.” and discussed the popularity of the NRA Country brand and the artists associated with it. Hall then revisited Tim McGraw’s Sandy Hook controversy, reverting to several country artists’ reaction to the Las Angeles shootings, throwing in Rosanne Cash’s New York Times’ pro-gun control OpEd for good measure.
Then, to top it all off, Charlie Daniels’ was accosted by a TV reporter during a book signing to discuss, arms crossed and voice stammering, the dissolution of Webster PR.
The CMA generally revokes the press passes of the media it doesn’t need if any subject is broached that, on its watch, could be controversial, embarrassing, or both.
Had the AP been the Podunk Press, the CMA would have privately reprimanded and/or pulled her credentials.
Instead, the Country Music Association took what it thought was the high road. Instead of making the artists’ publicists play “bad cop” and avoid “distractions” on “the biggest night in country music,” the CMA issued its now-famous media guidelines so as to muzzle the AP (and brazen lesser lights) without the very reaction that resulted in the CMA’;s eventual about-face.
The apology, like the edict that preceded it, was not issued in the name of Sarah Trahern and/or the CMA Board.) Rather, it fell to the more expendable Amber Williams, the CMA’s Vice President, Communications and Talent Relations to take the fall.
Over the years I covered the CMA Awards backstage, during the course of the telecast, we were able to see on the screen, that was brought in for that purpose, the sound muted when a presenter or award-winner would come backstage to speak with us, questions were to be confined to what we had witnessed on the show to that point. Questions were of the innocuous “What was it like to win…?” variety until there weren’t many content-related about the show left to ask.
That was as it should be and, as a matter of courtesy to the artists, we complied. It was generally understood at the point questions about the show had run their course- but not until then- it was perfectly permissible to ask about an upcoming album, to provide an opportunity to address a rumor, etc.
During either one of the Q & As, it was not unusual for questions to be preceded with comments like “I love your hair,” “I’m such a big fan of yours,” and the like.
CMA never complained about any of the fawning statements that, of course, weren’t even questions.
I received my first CMA Awards press pass in 1972. It was handed to me for the asking, so grateful was the organization for any media it coverage it could get. That changed over the years to the point where it was a constant battle/waiting game to become credentialed for any CMA events where room was limited.
Most often the reason given was the reach of the publication(s) I represented. The reasons given were clearly not the real reasons, which I cannot give without being accused of playing the victim, so I will just say I never had trouble conforming to the CMA’s expectations of how reporters were to conduct themselves.
The year I received a writing assignment for US Magazine the CMA could no longer complain about the size of the publication. Dutifully, I asked or otherwise waited through the topical questions expected of CMA Awards credentialed media.
Once those questions had been exhausted I asked the question, of Randy Travis, if memory serves, US instructed me to ask. US wanted several celebrities of different genres to answer the same question.
I don’t remember what my question was, but it was something on the order of “What is your favorite color?” That would not have been the question I wanted to ask Randy Travis, but, without the opportunity to say anything more than that (one question to a person), I was inquiring on behalf of US Magazine but, not really being heard in that regard, I was bounced from the press room, never to return.
Even when given the opportunity to explain my assignment, for which CMA should have been grateful as it was really hard to get coverage in mass media publications at that time, unless you were, say Evelyn Shriver, CMA played the bully card.
All of which is to say you can’t win for losing, and that Brad Paisley should only be appreciative of the CMA’s issued apology, if CMA no longer continues to discriminate against reporters who are just doing their respective jobs.
I wouldn’t bet the farm. I gave Sarah Trahern- with whom I have never spoken, let alone ever met- a courtesy call in order to clarify any misunderstanding I might have about any of those, but, neither Sarah nor anyone on her behalf, deigned to return the call.
Should that change, I will publicly eat humble pie.
November 7, 2017 @ 6:27 am
If the CMA was an ‘honest’ organization, then this event could be a true rallying point of support for ‘the events in __________.’ As it is the organization has no soul itself and thus cannot speak for the true spirit of American country music. Its effort to do so tomorrow will be sad, scripted, and superficial–just like the playlists on most ‘county’ radio stations.
Tune in to the SCM blog tomorrow for proof.
November 7, 2017 @ 7:05 am
It’s true CMA has no soul. And nobody knows if it’s a reflection of the organizers. But the CMA itself absolutely does not have a soul. Whether or not the performers do is another question. We’ll just have to tune in and decide for ourselves because the journalists aren’t known for having souls either. Not since Woodward and Bernstein era of journalism have there been souls in journalism. I need another drink.
November 7, 2017 @ 9:07 am
A private organization can tell the media whatever they want, and can restrict what questions they ask however they want.
The 1st amendment only prohibits the government from regulating speech.
This article is more shameful, political ignorance by a music writer.
November 7, 2017 @ 9:21 am
“A private organization can tell the media whatever they want, and can restrict what questions they ask however they want.”
“This article is more shameful, political ignorance by a music writer.”
These statements make it patently clear you did not get the moral of this article.
November 7, 2017 @ 5:40 pm
Quick question Trig- With all the good albums out there that you haven’t time to review (Your comment back when folks ask if you’ve reviewed this or that) why do you take the time to even listen to radio country? Opportunity to keep the slam fest going? Which is fine with me- but if you’re going to post an album review and have not an idea, and reach for Blake, shoot me an email first. I’ll boot scoot ya in the right direction of an album that needs attention. LTRFTP (Long time reader first time poster) #KeepItDirtRoad
November 7, 2017 @ 6:46 pm
Thanks for reading.
1) The point of Saving Country Music is not to be a music recommendation site. When I started the site, I didn’t even do album reviews. The point is to attempt to save country music by influencing the marketplace through criticism and commentary. A lot of people use Saving Country Music for music recommendations and that’s great, and I’m glad those people are here and I try to offer that service as best I can. But that is not the goal.
2) Writing and posting album reviews does not help satiate the appetite for reviews, it exacerbates it, and we’ve seen that over the last few weeks especially as the amount of reviews has increased. I post more reviews, and longer reviews than any other major country music periodical, and I do so as a one man operation. But I will never be able to review everything, and there will always be someone out there criticizing me for what I have NOT reviewed, instead of appreciating the reams of review copy I have posted, and for free. You have no idea how many submissions I receive, how many hours I spend simply sorting submissions and recommendations, let alone listening to music, and writing reviews, which tend to be the most time consuming content I create for the website. There is a very, very intricate system I have in how I vet material. I always appreciate people’s recommendations, but it’s very rarely ignorance that goes into not covering a project. It’s because I am not inspired to write about it, or I don’t have the words to say. And just because I don’t post a review doesn’t mean I don’t think a record is good. And often the best stuff I eventually get around to.
3) The largest concentration of Saving Country music readers is on Music Row. It’s not independent country fans looking for recommendations. The biggest obstacle to saving country music right now is radio. Ignoring radio will not make the problem go away. This is elitism. The vast majority of “country” fans still listen to the radio. That is why there is not only a need to pay attention to radio stars, there is a need to focus on them to attempt to influence the marketplace in the right direction.
November 8, 2017 @ 10:58 am
I would have never guessed that the largest concentration of SCM readers is on Music Row.
In a way, it’s good that you have the ability to communicate with them as an advocate for authentic country music.