PTC Pans MTV VMA 'Controversy'

A clearly exercised Parents Television Council president Tim Winter used MTV's Video Music Awards telecast to take aim against the cable network, but more specifically against how the program was rated and the extent to which viewers had to support it through their cable bills.

The awards drew some criticism and raised some eyebrows with content including Rebel Wilson's "joke" about the police and Miley Cyrus' non-wardrobe malfunction.

In the wake of that, Winter said that the show’s sexual themes and "celebration" of drugs should not have been rated for teens as young as 14.

“It’s also unfortunate that the VMAs were underwritten by the vast majority of Americans who were forced to pay for MTV on their cable bills, but who don’t give a damn about the VMAs," the group said. The PTC has long advocated for a la carte programming as a way to allow parents to choose not to pay for channels they (both PTC and parents) think are inappropriate for their kids.

The PTC did not call for any ad boycotts of the channel or Federal Communications Commission intervention. The latter would be problematic anyway, since the FCC does not have the same authority to regulate cable content as it does for broadcast content.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has also suggested giving viewers more control over their cable channel lineups, but primarily as a way to control cable prices.

Winter said both MTV and Cyrus could be forces for good, but in this case, not so much.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.