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MTV's Michael Jackson hypocrisy

MTV, seeking a link to its glorious but long-gone days as a music channel, has all but declared itself the Billiejean Official Network Of Michael Jackson. It's running nothing but Jackson videos and documentaries Friday and Saturday. MTV and Jackson were virtually childhood friends, proclaims the network's website: "By a stroke of luck (or, perhaps, fate), MTV was fortunate to launch just before Michael Jackson went supernova... Whether it was due to luck or fate, MTV was there for that meteoric rise and everything that followed."

Maybe, but only because MTV was dragged along, kicking and screaming. The first two years it was on the air, MTV didn't run videos from black artists -- any black artist. Even when Jackson's Thriller album started going nuclear in early 1983 -- and Columbia Records began submitting stunning Jackson videos with the production values of mini-movies -- MTV stuck to its racist guns. It was only when Columbia threatened to pull all its other videos if MTV didn't air Jackson's Billie Jean that the channel reluctantly agreed to end its musical apartheid.

If Jackson's death triggered a spasm of duplicity unusual even for television at MTV, it seems to have caused Cincinnati Bengals Chad Ochocinco to bang his head on a wall hard enough to loosen the wiring in his brain. Here's his Twitter tweet upon hearing the news Thursday:



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Thank you for getting the truth out about MTV's early racist all white video policy. I was in high school then and first watched MTV hours after it premiered on cable. In those nascent days MTV was only playing groups like Def Leppard, Duran Duran, Aha, Billy Idol, and Dexy's Midnight Runners. Columbia, as you stated, had to force feed them Michael Jackson because MTV believed young suburban white boys like me just wouldn't get him. It was marriage made in musical heaven. MTV was playing the Thriller video every hour, propelling the network and Jackson into the stratosphere. Funny how revisionist history is so prevalent these days.


Money talks. Still does. So not surprising MTV trying to cash in on Michael Jackson again.


ok, I remember the first days of MTV - they were a rock, not pop, outlet for videos.

I think that they decided early not to be a pop venue. At Columbia's instance, Jackson (king of, oh yes, POP)was forced upon them.

In the end, it worked out for both of them.


Wow. Thanks to Mr Jackson, MTV finally realized their big mistake. Surprisingly, it didn't seem as if they were that interested in promoting him.

Rest in peace ,MJ.


Did MTV Conspire Against Michael Jackson?

What really happened that night 7 years ago for MTV's Video Music Awards. Was Michael really full of himself? Did Sony conspire with Music Television to embarrass Michael Jackson? Was it all just a big misunderstanding? Or was MTV reluctant to give Mr. Jackson his trophy? Read on and decide for yourself...



Not true/urban legend. Garland was the man who made the decision to air Billie Jean, though it didn't fit the formula. "There was never any hesitation. No fret," says Garland, dispelling the "myth" that Jackson's record label threatened to pull all of its videos if Billie Jean was not shown. "I called Bob (Pittman, MTV co-founder) to tell him, 'I just saw the greatest video I've ever seen in my life. It is off the dial it's so good.' We added it that day. How (the myth) turned into a story literally blew our minds."


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