Send the RIGHT Message: MTV is Not a Diversity "Champion"

The Walter Kaitz Foundation has announced that on Wednesday, September 13, 2006, it will honor MTV Networks with the Diversity Champion Award during its 23rd Annual Dinner at the Hilton New York in Manhattan.  Historically MTV Networks has been criticized for its lack of programming diversity and its promotion of content that is below community standards.  The Walter Kaitz Foundation choice in honoring MTV Networks is perplexing and Industry Ears encourages all concerned citizens to Take Action by signing a petition to let the Walter Kaitz Foundation Executive Director, David Porter know that MTV Networks is NOT the model for programming diversity and we hope that this is not an exemplar for other cable networks to emulate.
MTV NETWORKS A DIVERSITY CHAMPION?
Kaitz Foundation Cites MTV Networks a Model Network for Diversity Programming (stop laughing)

The Walter Kaitz Foundation has announced that on Wednesday, September 13, 2006, it will honor MTV Networks with the Diversity Champion Award during its 23rd Annual Dinner at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. 

A press release by the Kaitz Foundation describes MTV Networks as promoting “culturally relevant programs [that] are the most outward demonstration of their dedication to diversity.”  Additionally, the Foundation cited that MTV Networks provides its viewers “with content that has global appeal” and emphasizes their programming that “strives to meet the needs of diverse audiences". 

As a think tank group that focuses on the impact of media on children and communities of color, Industry Ears is perplexed by the Kaitz Foundation’s choice for this award.   The following programs are a few current examples of MTV Networks diversity programming:

•           Where My Dogs At? – a Saturday afternoon cartoon show on MTV2 with an episode in which African American women are portrayed as dogs on leashes (i.e., “bitches”) and who defecate on the floor.
•           Yo Momma – a tasteless and insensitive show on MTV pitting teens against each other to spew racist and hate-speech insults for crowd reaction.  MTV refers to the pitted groups as “rivalries.”  
•           Flavor of Love – A VH1 show that proffers exploitative and demeaning images of women through what is described on the VH1 website as “sensational, raunchy and outrageous” entertainment. 
•           Music Videos – According to some researchers, MTV networks consistent airing of narrowly focused music videos are particularly damaging to children’s self-concept and social attitudes.

Do these examples reflect the action of a “diversity champion”?
  Historically MTV Networks has been criticized for its lack of programming diversity and its promotion of content that is below community standards.  The Walter Kaitz Foundation choice in honoring MTV Networks is perplexing and Industry Ears encourages all concerned citizens to Take Action by signing a petition to let the Walter Kaitz Foundation Executive Director, David Porter know that MTV Networks is not the model for programming diversity and we hope that this is not an exemplar for other cable networks to emulate.

About Industry Ears
Established in 2004 by co-founders Lisa Fager and Paul Porter, Industry Ears (www.IndustryEars.org ) is a new generation think tank focused on media’s impact on children and communities of color. IE is dedicated to addressing and finding solutions to negative and harmful content through media education, research, advocacy, public policy and continuous dialogue with industry stakeholders.
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