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Programming Sensitivity

Memo leaked from MTV Europe about programming during the war:

    In the light of the outbreak of war in Iraq in the last 12 hours, our recommendations for the scheduling and content of videos and programmes are as follows:

    1. Video recommendations

    Obviously, there will be heightened public sensitivity to representations of war, soldiers, bombing, destruction of buildings and public unrest at home. The ITC Programme Code requires us not to broadcast material which offends against good taste or is offensive to public feeling. We therefore recommend that videos featuring the following are not shown at the moment:

    war
    soldiers
    war planes
    bombs
    missiles
    riots and social unrest
    executions
    other obviously sensitive material

    Examples include:
    System of a Down “Boom!” – anti-war video containing facts and figures about, amongst other things, the projected casualties in the war in Iraq.
    Aerosmith “Don’t want to miss a thing” – contains footage from the film “Armageddon”.
    Manic Street Preachers “So Why So Sad” – contains footage of soldiers being killed and man throwing a hand grenade.
    Passengers/U2 “Miss Sarajevo” – contains missiles, guns and buildings being blown up.
    Bon Jovi “This ain’t a love song” – contains war scenes and victims in distress.
    Iggy Pop “Corruption” – contains wars, riots, guns and captions “we love guns” and “we love rifles”.
    Paul Hardcastle “19” – contains war footage.
    Radiohead “Lucky” – contains war footage including injured children.
    Billy Idol “Hot in the City” – contains an atomic explosion.
    Armand van Helden “Koochy” – contains an atomic explosion and ships being blown up.
    Trick Daddy “Thug Holiday” – contains soldiers being killed at war.

    Furthermore, videos with words such as “bomb”, “missile”, “war” or other sensitive words in the artist or song title should not be shown at the moment.

    Examples include:
    Outkast “B.O.B (Bombs over Baghdad)” – song title may offend.
    Radiohead “Invasion” – song title may offend.
    Megadeth “Holy Wars” – song title may offend.
    Gavin Friday “You, Me and World War Three” – song title may offend.
    B-52s videos.

    Also, please note that some evergreen tapes contain sensitive videos e.g. until recently, the MTV2 evergreen contained the Outkast “B.O.B. (Bombs over Baghdad)”. We therefore recommend that music programmers ensure that inappropriate songs are removed from the evergreen tape for the duration the war.

    Please note that this is not a definitive list of videos. Please use the ITC video restrictions database to check each song before broadcast. If you are aware of any other videos featuring the above images, titled with the above words or which may be unsuitable for broadcast in the light of the outbreak of war, we recommend that these are pulled from your schedules.

    2. Programme recommendations

    Under the ITC’s rules, we have two main obligations regarding programmes:

    (a) Not to broadcast material which offends against good taste or is offensive to public feeling.
    For example, no programme should contain:
    (i) images of war, bombs, missiles, etc that are likely to be seen as insensitive or offensive at this time (see above for further guidance).
    (ii) jokes about the war, about bombing Iraqis, about the American, Iraqi or UK troops.
    (iii) comments about the war that are likely to be seen as insensitive or offensive.

    Furthermore, the content of each long-form show should be considered before scheduling. Scripts for presenters and news pieces must also be treated with great sensitivity.

    (b) To ensure that our programmes treat the issue of war in Iraq with “due accuracy” and “due impartiality”.
    Therefore, we need to ensure that any programme which deals with issue of war in Iraq:
    (i) deals fairly with each opposing view. It cannot be one-sided. Both sides of the argument need to be dealt with, and dealt with fairly.
    (ii) does not give the view of MTV or the views of MTV presenters.
    (iii) does not give facts, or opinions based on facts, that are incorrect e.g. an anti-war argument that states the war is bad because 50 million Iraqis will die (the official estimates are much lower than that), a pro-war argument that states Saddam Hussein should be toppled because he is going to invade Israel (there is no evidence of this). You need to ensure that any facts included in your programmes are accurate, and verified by an official source e.g. an Amnesty International report, a UN report, Reuters news service.

BEcause we all know how unbiased both Amnesty International and Reuters (“no such thing as a terrorist”) are.

Also, what exactly IS the other side in this conflict? That Saddam Hussein is not a mass-murdering, torturing, baby-raping totalitarian thug who has attacked two of his neighbors and gassed his own people?

Sometimes there IS no freaking other side – not that reasonable people can’t believe that invasion was not the best course of action, but is there any sane person who defends Saddam’s regime? Even the French voted for uncompromising disarmament of the Iraqi regime, they just felt it should take another 12 years.

Why the sudden sensitivity anyway? This is the MTV of Jackass, decadent “cribs” of the stars, the staged interpersonal trash of the Real World, Christina Aguilera videos, and just generalized tasteless shit. I guess war is different.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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