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.
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.