If you are my age you remember a time when MTV actually played music videos. Today the channel is much more active in running reality TV and award shows that feature the most provocative acts aimed to gain the most post award show attention. (At what point do people like Brittany Spears and Miley Cyrus become cliché?)
Spike TV stereotypes juvenile male behavior. BET is entertainment for African Americans. VH1 is for the more sophisticated (meaning older) partakers of entertainment. Comedy Central teaches us how to see the world. CMT is for the good ol’ boys. Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. are for the kids and TV Land is for the older folks. And all of these are owned by the media giant Viacom with direct access into our lives and homes from the cradle to the grave.
Naysayers will protest but to believe this conglomerate has not impacted our society’s understanding of right and wrong, and standards of good and bad seems pretty blind in my opinion. When we see the VMA awards ramp up the levels of excess and provocation every year (The Most Controversial Moments in the History of the VMAs), and we see Spike TV consistently portray and cater to men at the level of fraternity parties we should not believe these efforts are too separated. Why would we believe Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon are any more differently managed in their efforts and successes to shape social norms and standards as their sister channels.
This is a reality our political leaders understand. A recent Politico article revealed how President Obama relied on Comedy Central’s recently top rated act Jon Stewart, to move the public toward his side of the 2012 elections and the 2011 budget battles. Entertainers move our society and the leaders of these brainwashing efforts in the 21st century are not the individual actors but the puppet masters behind the curtains – the media conglomerates.
Next time you set your toddler in front of Nick Jr. you might think twice.