One of TV's most offensive teachers is pumped into 54.5 million homes in the U.S. Yours is probably one of them." Plastered across an envelope I received from Donald E. Wildmon, president of the American Family Association (AFA), the above warning prepared the reader for the plan of action proposed inside.
Claiming that MTV "is on a mission to sell our youth the values of drugs, violence, sex, and hedonism," Wildmon's call to action takes the form of a petition drive. The petition, which provides space for nearly 20 protester's names, is enclosed and is to be sent to local cable companies. It reads: "We, the undersigned, ask that you remove MTV from our local cable system. If that is impossible, we ask that MTV be offered as a 'premium' channel available only by request. If that is impossible, we ask that MTV be scrambled so that we cannot receive either the picture or sound in our home. And if that is impossible, we ask that we be disconnected from the cable system."
The petition goes on to state the undersigned agrees with entertainer Eddie Rabbit whom they claim said, "MTV promotes the most violent of acts in front of our children" and also compared MTV to peddling hardcore pornography to children. Even West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd (an ex-member of the KKK) on the floor of the U.S. Senate warned parents of the message most music videos send. "If we continue to sow images of murder, violence, drug abuse, sadism, arrogance, irreverence, blasphemy, perversion, pornography and aberration before the eyes of millions of children, we should not be surprised if the foundations of our society rot away as if from leprosy", he cautioned according to the AFA.
Once again it must be said that these pseudo moralists will not settle at merely controlling what their own families view. Instead they whine that even if they don't allow MTV in their own homes, they "...must live with people who watch and act out the lessons they learn on MTV."
AFA also asks the readers to mail protest letters to Ralston Purina and Pepsi Co., two leading sponsors of MTV.
What we must ask ourselves is "do petitions work?" Indeed they do. Cable companies throughout the country are quietly dropping MTV with little or no media coverage. Sammons Communications, Inc., a Dallas-based cable company with about 920,000 subscribers in 19 states has chucked MTV from it's 50 cable systems. And TCA Cable, also in Texas, dropped MTV from their 53 cable systems affecting 420,000 subscribers. After a storm of protest (I want my MTV) TCA decided to return the channel to the line-up. Modest, locally-owned cable companies are buckling under the pressure also. They are, after all, more of a target than the larger, corporate owned companies.
If we are to learn anything from this it is to know that yes, anti-MTV petitions are working. But also know we have the power to rattle a few chains and demand that MTV not be censored. MTV is being attacked by the same sons-of-bitches that are labeling and censoring records, picketing convenience stores that carry mags like Playboy and Metal Maniacs, boycotting Saturday Night Live and pressuring their commercial sponsors, harassing abortion clinics, and so on. These fascists learned early on that their wars could be won much easier when they take on local non-conformists.
Often MTV is just one of many channels in a package, so call or write your local cable company to let them know you like MTV and how disappointed you'd be if it were dropped. Give it some support! Then (and this is important), in the future if the company is ever considering dropping MTV get your ass to the phone and tell them you will drop cable entirely if it is (and mean it!). Make sure they know you currently subscribe; give them your name.
That the censors are attacking MTV comes as no surprise to us at R.O.C, that so many viewers are setting idly by with their thumbs up their asses does. We've been sounding the alarm from the start, but few could hear it. And now all some are hearing is the sound of dead air where MTV used to be.