Politics & Policy

MTV’s Own Biases

A scene from MTV’s “True Life: I’m a Gay Athlete”
The network sees bias in others but ignores its own prejudice against Christians and conservatives.

Last week MTV aired a special True Life episode titled “True Life: I’m a Gay Athlete.” The program follows two college athletes as they come out to their teams and their families. It debuted as part of the launch of MTV’s new multiyear “Look Different” campaign to expose “hidden racial, gender, and anti-LGBT bias” among Millennials.

The goal of the “Look Different” campaign, which already features a fully functioning interactive website complete with an “Implicit Bias Quiz” and a seven-day “Racial Bias Cleanse,” is to educate Millennials about their alleged biases and to purge them.  

So let’s get this straight. The network that aired the television shows Jersey Shore and Buckwild, which thrived on perpetuating caricatures of Northeastern “Guidos” and “white trash” West Virginians, is going to lecture Millennials on ethics, objectivity, and bias. Not to mention the fact that MTV is the same network that ran a full season of the highly controversial show Skins, which cast underage actors in various sexual situations. Some legal experts thought this bordered on violating child-pornography laws.

#ad#MTV is anything but a model of virtue and impartiality. But if it hadn’t disqualified itself by its programming alone, consider who else is behind this campaign. According to MTV, the campaign will be co-sponsored by, among others, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

This is the same Southern Poverty Law Center that lists the conservative Christian Family Research Council on its website’s “hate map” (with crosshairs as the cursor), along with neo-Nazi and black-separatist groups.

On August 15, 2012, Floyd Corkins II entered the Family Research Council’s office in Washington, D.C., and opened fire, injuring a security guard before the guard subdued him. He was carrying almost 100 rounds of ammunition and 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He later told the FBI that he wanted to kill as many anti-gay individuals as possible and that he found the “hate group” via the SPLC’s website. He planned on smearing the Chick-fil-A sandwiches on the victim’s faces. To this day the SPLC still lists the Family Research Council as a hate group on its website.  

Then there’s the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, was an open supporter of Hamas. CAIR has extensive and well-documented ties to Islamic extremism.

Recently, CAIR campaigned heavily against the award-winning documentary Honor Diaries, which profiles nine Muslim women (several of whom are devout Muslims) who suffered through terrible practices, like genital mutilation, attempted honor killings, and forced marriages, in Islamic societies. CAIR called the movie “Islamophobic” and lobbied to have college-campus screenings canceled. Eventually, the University of Michigan and the University of Illinois succumbed to CAIR’s pressure. Censorship trumped the intellectual freedom of the university students and these Muslim women’s free speech, something we in this country value very much.

CAIR also succeeded in compelling Brandeis University to withdraw the honorary degree it was going to award Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born women’s-rights activist who was subjected to genital mutilation and escaped from a forced marriage. Ali, who was involved in the Honor Diaries documentary, has spoken out heroically against Islamic societies that allow these horrible practices. And yet, CAIR released a statement calling Ali an “Islamophobe” and claimed that giving an award “to a promoter of religious prejudice such as Ali is equivalent to promoting the work of white supremacists and anti-Semites.”  

We’re one step ahead of you. Nowhere on the SPLC’s website is CAIR listed as an anti-woman or anti-Muslim hate group.

It’s no secret where the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) comes down on some of these issues. GLAAD publicly supported the boycott of Chick-fil-A after CEO Dan Cathy’s remarks in support of traditional marriage, and it backed the ousting of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich for having donated $1,000 of his own money to support the pro-traditional-marriage Proposition 8 in California in 2010.

And then there’s the NAACP, which doesn’t exactly have a sterling (pardon the pun) record either. In 2009, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP gave Clippers owner Donald Sterling a humanitarian award, and it was scheduled to give him a lifetime-achievement award on May 15 until tapes of Sterling’s racist remarks were leaked.  

It should come as no surprise that missing from MTV’s list of co-sponsors is any conservative or Christian advocacy group. If MTV truly cared about objectivity, it would allow people of all stripes to present their respective beliefs and then let its audience decide. In fact, if MTV truly cared about protecting minority views it would go out of its way to represent conservative Christians, who MTV wants us to believe are increasingly becoming a minority in America today.

Instead, MTV has its own one-sided secular agenda, as do all of its co-sponsors, in their attempt to portray conservatives and Christians as racists and bigots who must be cleansed of their biases. They would be in congenial company with HGTV, which recently showed its hand by canceling the Benham brothers’ show, Flip It Forward, because of their religious beliefs. The show focused on the brothers’ helping deserving families turn their fixer-upper homes into dream homes. But because of their pro-life and pro-traditional-marriage views, HGTV deemed them “anti-choice and anti-gay.”

We’re not calling for the suspension or even boycotting of MTV’s Millennial programming. Rather, we’re suggesting that TV networks cease hiding their own biases behind the virtuous labels of tolerance and diversity when they have no real interest in promoting such ideals. MTV, don’t hide your evangelical secularism. Call yourself what you are. Isn’t that the very thing you pretend to advocate?

Chris Beach is producer of Bill Bennett’s Morning in America. Alison Howard is communications director of Concerned Women for America.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been amended since its initial posting.

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