Enjoy Summer!

As the crisis unfolds in Tripoli and the deaths climb to over a dozen–threatening to move the country into a wider war– MTV tweeted the clip above this afternoon with this message:

We know that the weather is really hot today so check out our fresh new clip, keep calm and enjoy summer on MTV… fb.me/23lBB6OhH
— MTV Lebanon (@MTVLebanon) August 22, 2012

So what is MTV saying here? It feels a lot like: “Hey, forget about the pending implosion of your country’s second biggest city. Break out your bikini and cocktail mixers!”

Ironically, MTV Lebanon claims that “more Lebanese get their news from MTV than any other source” on its website. Never mind that this is actually a long-time ABC News slogan (replace Lebanese with Americans).

Furthermore, in a message from its chairman, MTV claims to have displayed:

a fervent commitment to acting as the fourth power, disclosing the untold about abuses of power and corruption, and speaking the mind of a suffocated public opinion, being consistently and unswervingly objective and responsible…” 

But how “responsible” is it to air carefree fun-in-the-sun clips when at least 12 citizens have been killed in one day and your second largest city has been overtaken by militias and street fighting?

Clearly the “suffocated public opinion” MTV speaks about does not cover the voiceless of Tripoli.

A frequent refrain in the above clip’s jingle says “MTV is with you… MTV resembles you.”

But who is “you”? In fact this clip does not resemble some 90 percent of the Lebanese population who can’t afford the expensive beach resort featured in the video. Neither does it resemble a huge swath of the population that would not wear bikinis and have drinks there, even if they could afford it.

It’s too bad the broadcaster doesn’t try to come up with a more inclusive message, embracing the rich diversity of lifestyles that exist in this country–or at least having a little respect for those that are suffering/dying.

If MTV’s mission is to “serve the public interest” it may consider ways to bring the country together by looking ambitiously at the multitude of challenges the nation faces. Instead the only interest MTV has chosen to serve here is a very narrowly defined, if not blatantly arrogant one.

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