By Bob DeMoss
January 1996 – Unless your family has lived on Mars for the last ten years – or your name happens to be Rip Van Winkle – you’ve probably watched Music Television at one time or another. After all, MTV is in more than 230 million houses around the world. If you’ve watched for any length of time, you know MTV is not particularly friendly toward issues like sexual abstinence, unborn babies – or how to respect parents.
Recently, I had an exclusive interview with MTV’s Kurt Loder. Kurt is 49 years old, has a 15-year-old son, and is the primary anchorman for MTV News. I asked Kurt about these topics along with a number of other issues that appear to receive little attention on their network. I’m confident that you’ll find his comments insightful into the philosophy of those who manage the world’s largest youth network.
BD: Are you familiar with the “True Love Waits” campaign?
KL: No, I am not. Oh, wait a minute, yes, I am.
BD: Upwards of a million pledge cards were signed by teens who have made the commitment to wait to have sex until marriage. Isn’t that something that would be newsworthy for your viewers?
KL: Well, we have reported on, uh, on…I think whenever we do anything on like condoms or on sex in general, we always point that abstinence is another way to avoid various kinds of diseases.
BD: But, can you think of anything in the world that’s happened in recent memory where one million kids rallied around any one theme? I mean, wouldn’t that bear more than just a mention in passing?
KL: It might. The standard take on this is that kids can have sex anyway, but not all kids are gonna have sex. Yet I think a lot of them are. I think what you’re getting at, too, is that, Christianity has an uphill battle with the media these days. That is certainly true. Um, should more be done about it? Perhaps so.
BD: A couple of things that I’ve noted that viewers rarely – if ever – see on MTV; and that would be married people celebrating sex within marriage. I can’t name a video that does that. Can you think of one?
KL: No I can’t. I can’t. There is definitely a feeling in the media today, that, you know, that marriage is square, it's over, and we should really be talking about non-traditional marriages or something. Again, the straight heterosexual marriage is a thing that is sort of frowned upon.
BD: Positive parental roles: I don’t see too many of those either.
KL: No, you don’t, but I think rock-and-roll has always been sort of anti-parent.
BD: I’m curious. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 33,000 new cases of sexually transmitted diseases reported every day in America, and as I understand it, there are 43 million Americans that have a permanent sexually transmitted disease.
BD: Why, in an era of that type of statistical craziness does MTV continue to include a lot of videos that are sex charged, like “Bump and Grind” and “Whoop, There It Is.” Why does that stuff go unchecked?
KL: Well, there have always been sexual diseases around. People are still interested in sex anyway. Um, and especially with young people, which is the most sexual active portion of the population. We do a lot of work trying to point out that you should be responsible, that there are options; that you don’t have to have sex. We’ve done interviews with kids who said, “I’m not having sex until I get married.” I remember one girl we talked to and we had that on the air. So, that point of view does come across. Perhaps, not as often as it should, I don’t know, but it is there, at least occasionally.
BD: One last question: You’ve got a lot of promotion on MTV for Save the Planet, Save the whales, the dolphins, the forest, the environment; and you have Rock for Choice. I wonder why not a “Save the Babies” campaign?
KL: Uh, that’s a good question. Yeah. Um, that stuff should be covered more.
As I conversed with Kurt Loder, I couldn’t help but think about this disturbing statistic: According to the Barna Research Group, Christian baby busters were more likely to have watched MTV during the past week (42%) than their non-Christian counterparts (33%). Given the twisted perspectives that dominate MTV, is it any wonder many Christian teens waver in their commitment to sexual purity, have a casual attitude about abortion, or adopt the moral code of the MTV generation?
Academy Award winning composer Al Kasha said “MTV is a very destructive force in society primarily because, for many, it plays a surrogate parental role. MTV is raising a generation of young people.”
Bob Pittman, one of MTV’s founders and past chairman, puts it this way: “The strongest appeal you can make . . . is emotionally. If you can get their emotions going, [make them] forget their logic, you’ve got ‘em. At MTV, we don’t shoot for the 14-year-olds,
we own them.”