MTV VMAs Dead Wrong on DNC

Was televising the show during the convention contradictory to the network's voter-outreach efforts?

Kevin Hart hosting VMAs (Kevin Winter/Getty Images); President Obama andMichelle Obama at the DNC (The Washington Post)


The 2011 VMAs aired on Sunday, Aug. 28, and drew more than 12 million viewers. This year’s VMAs drew only 6.1 million viewers. Since MTV programmers clearly don’t do calendars, then hopefully they do math.

President Obama’s DNC convention speech set a Twitter record with 52,756 tweets per minute. However, MTV did manage to have huge numbers on social media, as well: The VMAs’ hashtag (#vma) was the top hashtag on Thursday night, followed by two VMAs-related hashtags (#voteonedirection and #votebieber) with #dnc2012 coming in fifth place.

Yes, it’s possible to be interested in politics and pop culture — Rock the Vote proved that. Just because young people often text, tweet and watch TV and listen to music at the same time does not mean that they should be left to their own devices. (Pun intended.)

I won’t join the conspiracy theorists, but I will say that political conventions are major events that should receive deference from awards shows. Young people deserve better, and MTV should do better because it knows better.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., is editor-at-large for The Root. She is also editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire, a blog dedicated to world news related to the African Diaspora and global culture. Follow her on Twitter.