Is It Real or is it MTV?
By: Paula M. Sherman
I've always be an inquisitive person, and I like to know the facts especially when it comes to music. But through the years, with all the hype and opinions surrounding rock n' roll and all the roads in-between; the facts seem jaded somehow. It really comes down to this, who are we really suppose to trust when we want information or answers about our favorite music or bands?
There are many sources for our eyes and hears to depend on: top leading music magazines, underground publications, newspapers, fan clubs, radio stations, and Internet newsgroups, bulletin boards, chat folders. And then there is Music Television. Yes, I'm referring to MTV. You'd think that MTV would be the most reliable source of information pertaining to music. Well, guess again. In the past year, I've witnessed more concrete reliability in consist well-rounded fact regarding music surging from fan clubs, underground publications and newsgroup resources. Thank god for fan clubs! I'm glad the underground grass roots enthusiasts are still around, and with the ever expanding potential of the Internet; I feel more at ease knowing that I will eventually find out the truth about something I need to know. These avenues seem to have no agendas and harbor no contempt to the many bands that are either making their way to the spotlight, or are already there and trying not to melt. The information is honest, although you have to filter out opinions. But that is easy to do, since there are no hidden queue cards or palms that need to be painted.
Presently, the music media is vast. It's bigger than it ever was, and it's starting to uncover some glitches and gray areas that are becoming much clearer now. This is my opinion, but I feel that radio and newspapers are fed by higher levels; such as top leading music magazines and music television. It has been my experience that let's me feel comfortable with making that statement, after hearing radio stations quote magazines and music television stations, and newspapers doing the same thing. In the past, things that were printed in these influential magazines and broadcasted over cable television pertaining to music was considered gospel. The word has been handed down, per say. Well, excuse me for being blunt, but that's load of crap! It may very well have been a load for of crap for a long and we just didn't know it. I hate being deceived or mislead about anything. But when it comes to music, which is an art form that shouldn't be masked like politics; I get pretty pissed off when the whole picture isn't being presented properly. It's music for crying out loud! It's not the Spanish Inquisition! And it's definitely not a soap opera!
Let me explain why I came to this conclusion. My example is the recent Pearl Jam concert in Dallas. A situation occurred at this concert that was out of the norm. Dennis Rodman made an appearance at the show, and was on stage with the band for a while. I thought to myself that this was going to be a media free-for-all, and I was right. Friends of mine attended that concert, and those people informed me that the concert was a wonderful experience. I read reviews in the newsgroups, and saw a controversy growing over opinions about Rodman. But regardless of the opinion war, fans who attended that concert remarked that they had a great time. Some fans even went as far to minutorially document the concert and post their experience to the Pearl Jam newsgroups. I love reviews with excessive detail without extraneous wrappings, because it makes you feel like you were there. Some newspapers have a great knack at doing this as well.
But then I watched MTV, and immediately witnessed misleading information being aired about this particular concert. Regardless of the fact that whenever Eddie Vedder and Dennis Rodman are seen together, the gossip flies. But this is MTV, a station that is supposedly dedicated to offering their viewers the facts about music. Well, they took a fact, one fact, and ran with it. That fact became the most misinterpreted hype of the whole event. As posted by fans who witnessed the concert, they noted that Stone Gossard asked the audience if they wanted Rodman to leave the stage or if they wanted him to stay. And yeah, according to many, the word fuck was gloriously embedded within Gossard's statement. To the fans in attendance, it was a comical and nonabrasive comment on Gossard's part. But MTV made it sound like he wanted to throw Rodman off the stage. So who are we to believe? I believe the fans. I strongly believe that a joke was taken out of context here, and that's damn sin! Personally, I feel the "joke" was more appetizing than the "circus event" that MTV led it's viewers to believe. Not one fan came back with a negative word to say about this concert. The speculation that arose about future concerts was broached and discussed, and that's fine.
MTV isn't the only source that blew this situation out of proportion. But I'm not getting into that, because my focus is one the leader of the pack. If you can't rely on MTV to give you honest, accurate, complete, and nonbiased information; then what's the point of having MTV News? Hey, the videos are great! The reviews can be taken with a grain of salt. The programs are adequate. I'd like to get into their misleading programming schedule, but I want to keep my point centered. As far as I'm concerned, and I hope there are more people out there who give a damn about this; media coverage is a way to pass along the facts to those who are less informed. And those facts should be represented with the same sentiment that caused them to occur!
I've held a suspicion about MTV's reporting techniques for some time now, and after putting two and two together on this one, I felt to the need to draw attention to it. My opinion about MTV is leaking through in my words, but please remember it's my opinion. You form your own opinion. I appreciate MTV for what it is; a network that provides bands with the opportunity to share a creative outlet to make their music visual, and a connection for the fans to appreciate whatever they wish to view. That's entertainment. News is NOT entertainment. When it comes to news, there is no room to play the devil's advocate. It's a waste of OUR time. Explain the complete picture or don't say anything at all.
I really miss the days when MTV first went on the air. Everything was so fresh and exciting, and the music news was portrayed with enthusiasm and clarity. I want my music news to be represented without the opinions of those who report it. Save your opinions for your reviews! And work your agendas into the Celebrity Deathmatch, where we can laugh about and know it's not real.