CNN reported today that MTV has decided to ban the airing of the music video for Lady Gaga and Beyoncé's "Telephone" on its network. The most shocking thing about this is that MTV still believes its decision matters. Video inside.
The ironic thing about this is that MTV, through years of cultivation of reality programming that infested its schedule so deeply, barely even airs music videos anymore—a quick look at the network's programming schedule for today reveals no time slots devoted to music videos, yet seven hours set aside for its docudrama program, True Life—yet still feels the need to issue a ban on one it deems too provocative. Even more ironic is the fact that the network is alienating probably the only artist out there who still actually cares about making a good music video in an age when dancing a little ditty in front of a green screen, or splicing together footage of a live performance and dubbing the studio version of the track over it, seems to be the norm.
This is classic MTV: desperate (and obvious) attempts to hold onto the relevance it once had—and lost on its own accord—by doing anything and everything it can to drum up publicity through manufactured controversy. (Remember this?). The fact that the network still, somehow, believes that its music video-related "decisions" matter is just another piece of the WTF puzzle.
As mentioned above, the "Telephone" music video has amassed more than 13 million YouTube views in under three days. When was the last time MTV had 13 million people watch anything?
Update: Tuma Basa, who runs the @MTVJams Twitter account, has denied that the network banned the video, twittering that it will air "on some MTV networks." Basa also called CNN's report "unfuckingbelievable!" and said, "this shit's already aired." It should be noted, however, that Basa's Twitter Bio line states, "The opinions, comments and disses expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of MTV."
Second Update: In an email to me, Melissa Barreto, publicist for MTV, says, "The information released by CNN is completely false. The Beyonce/Lady Gaga video "Telephone" has been airing on MTV since Friday morning."