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Parents Television Council's Dan Isett on MTV, Miley Cyrus, and Why They Object to Condom Commercials

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Today I watched MTV for the first time in a long time to get ready for this interview, and at 4:55 in the afternoon, they were showing the Video Music Awards in its entirety, so they don't seem to be running from it.

They typically replay it about 20 times before they cut it.

What do you think is the worst-case scenario of kids coming home from school and watching this?

I'm not sure I understand the question.

My question is what is the Parents Television Council's concern of what will happen if kids see this program?

It speaks for itself. This is highly offensive for a great number of people. I don't think there's any question of that. That's why this has garnished so much attention. I think that's the bottom line of this whole discussion.

Obviously, you think kids shouldn't be seeing this, correct?

I think we've been pretty clear about that too.

What do you think will happen if kids do see this?

Again, I'm not sure I understand your question. This is sexually explicit content clearly not appropriate for the age group MTV has marketed it to and distributed to. I don't think it's that hard to figure out.

OK. I also saw in your press release you were unhappy about a condom commercial. What do you find offensive about condoms?

If you're going to rate a program as appropriate for a child, then I want to make sure you put the context of that statement under consideration before you address it. We also highlighted that there were rated-R movies advertised, something that was rated as inappropriate for a 14-year-old child. Theoretically a child can't go to a rated-R movie by themselves. So they were marketing products not intended for children on a show they rated as appropriate for children. That is the issue.

So the Parent Television Council's goal is to have the option not to have MTV on your cable plan. Are there other networks you'd like to not have?

That goes for any other network, not just MTV. The problem that you have with expanding basic cable is in order to get access to networks you do want to watch, you're forced to purchase an awful lot of content you don't want with content that's not appropriate for the family. So what we're saying is let the free market decide and let us pick and choose to pay for exactly what you want.

You watched the Video Music Awards?


Were there any parts you felt OK about? Were there any parts you enjoyed of the broadcast?

I think that's irrelevant to the discussion what I think about something.

I'm just asking for this to be an interesting interview for people to read.

Like I said, I think it's completely irrelevant what I thought was entertaining. That's not the purpose of why I was watching.

Why were you watching it?

(Awkward silence.) To see what MTV would actually broadcast on the show. This has been a pretty problematic program over the years, so it's my job to keep an eye on it.

So not for the twerking?


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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland

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