MTV, BET, and the war

Derek S. derektheredrebel at
Thu Feb 20 19:10:04 MST 2003

I just got done watching a half hour primetime special
on MTV about the war on Iraq. The first 2/3rds of it
was a pretty simplistic overview of the
administrations argument for war, with doubts of the
latter nudged in here and there. There was a whole lot
of Saddam-demonizing, always there to appeal to one's
emotional vulnerability rather than than their

However, the final third of the special focused solely
on the anti-war movement, and was extremely honest and
friendly to our perspective. Most of the segment
carried clips and interviews from the protests,
including interviews with Gulf War vets and 9/11
families who are fighting against the war. They
focused also on, interviewing the web
editor from his living room. I was extremely pleased
with coverage.

At the same time, BET (Black Entertainment Television)
was having an hour long "open mic" special with Colin
Powell, where highschool students get to ask him
questions about the war. While most of the questions
were slow lobs thrown right the middle of home plate,
a few students really tried to nail him. One brought
up US intervention with the Pinochet coup, one
confronted him on the sanctions, and another brought
up oil. Of course, Powell was able to eliquintly parry
them all off, but at least people were able to hear
these issues brought up.

So, the big honchos of youth TV are tackling the war
issue-- mostly spitting out an implicitly pro-war
line, but giving some good antiwar coverage as well
(The latter is especially good with MTV, seeing the
domination it has over much of youth culture).

The progressive rapper Mos Def also has antiwar ads
running consistently on both networks, where he holds
up a graph showing how much we spend on the military
as compared to domestic social needs. He ends by
saying that he thinks we have more important things to
do than wage war on Iraq (a website then comes on the
screen, I haven't checked it out

Lastly, MTV reported the results of their poll on the
war: only 19% of the youth they asked support the war
(without UN backing). For me, this attests to the
intuitive progressive and critical nature of young
people, even if we get a bad rap these days. Gives me
just a little more hope.


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