MTV a medium for political education

By Ashlee Lensmyer
February 12, 2004

Krista Angeloni

MTV is something that most young people look to for our music videos, reality TV shows, and more recently, presidential campaign news, which happens through their program called Choose or Lose. These days most people will do anything to get young people to vote and that is just what MTV and some other organizations are doing.

Rock the Vote is a non-profit organization that focuses on responding to a line of harassments on freedoms of speech, as well as many other freedoms that Americans are supposed to have. This organization aids programs such as Choose of Lose to run other programs such as “meet-ups.” By doing this, they connect young people in the communities to learn the political processes.

MTVs program is trying to change the common misconception that young people are not being involved with the political processes. Choose or Lose, along with the “20 Million Loud” campaign and programs like Rock the Vote, are trying to inspire, inform, alert and bring to the polls a diverse group of young people to the election in November.

In the year 2000, the youth vote was just about split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats, so although the pop culture is trying to change the way things happen, it is eventually up to the political parties and politicians themselves to appeal to this large group.

Part of the campaign is MTV partnering up with other organizations, such as Rock the Vote, to help arrange “meet-ups” with other people in the local area. These meetings happen each month on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m., to help inform young people in the local process of politics, to help register voters, and to discuss the issues going on at the time. Choose of Lose 2004, along with its many partners, will run a series of on-air, online, and off-air events, including many MTV news specials.

Both of these programs do these things by incorporating entertainment and the culture of the youth into their activities. Comedians, athletes, and cutting-edge trends of pop culture are what Choose or Lose and Rock the Vote are hoping to use to get these young people involved. Sophomore religious studies major Chris Friel said, “I definitely think that young voters are paying more attention to the elections because bands and pop stars are making politics a part of their visible lives, and inspiring people to realize that the power is in the hands of those who vote.”

Each year, Rock the Vote holds events such as “America Rocks the Vote” and “Who says young people don’t belong in politics.” “American Rocks the Vote” is a forum along with the presidential candidates especially for young voters. It is being held in Boston, Mass., where this year the Democratic candidates come together to talk to the young people on their level. “Who says young people don’t belong in politics” will be held in Baton Rouge, La. where high school and college students across the country get together to find new ways to get involved with politics.

All of these things are to get young people involved with the one thing that they are criticized for–not voting.

Rock the Vote and Choose or Lose are looking for young people to participate and make a difference. For more information or to go online to register to vote, see MTV Choose or Lose at or see Rock the Vote at

Posted to web by: Scott Fobes

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Ashlee Lensmyer

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