MTV blows its street cred

A network that once professed a social conscience pushes its usual trash as a genuine youth movement grows.

Stephen Deusner in Salon:

Mtv-ows1-460x307MTV is eager to cover Occupy Wall Street; it just doesn’t know how, at least not in any substantial or meaningful way. MTV News’ “True Life: I’m Occupying Wall Street” debuts today, following a protester named Bryan who works on the sanitation team and fights to keep the city from evicting the occupiers. And as part of its O Music Awards — which have noting to do with Oprah — MTV plans to bestow former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with a special award for Best #Occupy Wall Street Performance, for his strolling rendition of “This Fabled City.”

This is how MTV covers OWS – with a reality-esque documentary and an awards show. Which is fitting, since that’s about the only thing the network does anymore. It reveals a network that is clueless about the principles that inspired the movement and — perhaps even worse — exploitive in the most blatantly corporate sense of the word. Its first response to an important and possibly defining moment was to retrofit OWS to a format that’s easily as old as many of the demonstrators themselves. How long before we see JWoww and The Situation carrying picket signs? Could there be a “Teen Mom” at the protests?

Ever since the synthy strains of “Video Killed the Radio Star” introduced the network in 1981 — it’s been easy sport to bash the channel for its vapidity and youthmongering. MTV is like “Saturday Night Live” — you can’t kill it or embarrass it, no matter how bad it gets.

More here.