Opinion Brief

MTV's 'regrettably uninformative' True Life: I'm Occupying Wall Street

Did MTV capture the freewheeling spirit of the youthful protesters it followed, or just make them look like twerps?

On Saturday, MTV aired a special episode of its True Life documentary series that examined what it's like to be one of the young Occupy Wall Street protesters at New York City's Zuccotti Park. The youth-oriented cable TV network focused on two individuals: Bryan, a 23-year-old full-time protester from Massachusetts who's also a dedicated member of the sanitation squad; and Kait, a 20-year-old student who protests by day and returns to her university dorm room at night. Did MTV successfully shed light on the movement?

No. MTV blew it: True Life "was regrettably uninformative," says Emily Cheever at Ology. Instead of letting Bryan express his political views, the show made it seem as if he's "too busy cleaning up after dirty hippies" to even ponder why he's there. And the show completely ignored the point-of-view of the police officers assigned to keep the peace and prevent the demonstrations from getting out of control. Some documentary.
"TV Review: True Life?: I'm Occupying Wall Street"

If you think Occupy is a joke, you'll love this: MTV portrayed the movement "as summer camp with protest signs, a rolling festival of exasperation and naïveté," says Mike Hale at The New York Times. It's easy to imagine viewers rolling their eyes when Kait says it's "empowering" to yell at bank buildings. Instead of producing something "sympathetic to young people's feelings," MTV confirmed the suspicions of old cranks who think Occupy Wall Street is a juvenile circus.
"Wall Street protests, person by person"

This failure says more about MTV than Occupy: "MTV is eager to cover Occupy Wall Street; it just doesn't know how," says Stephen Deusner at Salon. Back in the heyday of Rock the Vote and Choose or Lose, MTV at least appeared to have a conscience. But now it seems "clueless" about what motivates young protesters, and seems content to just exploit them. "How long before we see JWoww and The Situation carrying picket signs?"
"MTV blows its street cred"

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