VMAs Dead Wrong on DNC

Writing for TheRoot.com, The Burton Wire‘s editor-in-chief Nsenga K. Burton, ponders why MTV’s Video Music Awards (VMAs) would counter program against the Democratic National Convention.

Last week the Democratic National Convention kicked off in the Queen City, Charlotte, N.C. The much-anticipated event had a lineup of political rock stars, namely former President Bill Clinton, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and, of course, President Obama and his wife. Actual rock stars Foo Fighters, music icon Mary J. Blige and actresses Kerry Washington, Scarlett Johansson and Eva Longoria lent their celebrity to the DNC on Thursday, the last day of the convention.

Imagine my surprise to learn that CBS/Viacom had scheduled the broadcast of MTV’s 2012 Video Music Awards on the same Thursday evening that President Obama was scheduled to accept the Democratic Party’s nomination for his candidacy for the 2012 Democratic presidential ticket.

You may recall that 20 years ago, Rock the Vote launched a movement to “engage and build political power for young people in our country.” The Rock the Vote campaign has been wildly successful, registering more than 5 million young voters through grassroots organizing, the innovative use of technology and leveraging pop cultural and celebrity connections to mobilize and motivate young voters. Rock the Vote became a household name through public service announcements featuring celebrities that played routinely on MTV, VH1 and BET, all stations currently owned by CBS/Viacom.

How is it that a network that has done so much in the past to help young voters could do so poorly now by counterprogramming against the final night of the DNC in which President Obama accepted his party’s nomination? What happened to helping to inform young voters about the election process and motivating them to register to vote? Since when does MTV air the VMAs on a Thursday night, anyway? What message does it send to potential young voters when an awards show is scheduled at the same time as the convention of a major political party two months before Election Day?

Read the post in its entirety on TheRoot.com.

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