In what seems an unthinkable move, MTV — the network that hosted a youth town hall last October called “A Conversation With President Obama” and made “Rock the Vote” famous — has reportedly declined a request by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign to help the president connect with young Americans. What’s more, the network allegedly did so on the grounds that it does not get involved with political campaigns.
According to the New York Post, Obama’s Get Out the Vote campaign, run by Buffy Wicks, feared that the high unemployment rate among millennials will turn young voters off to the president.
The Post adds that the campaign called MTV’s internal ad agency, MTV Scratch in mid-August:
MTV Scratch, run by Ross Martin, former MTVU boss, and Anne Hubert, who was a policy adviser to Jon Corzine when he was a US senator from New Jersey, works across all the MTV Networks and helps marketers such as General Motors and Dr. Pepper understand the mind-set of young people.
The re-election effort wants to reconnect with youth, which were among its most fervent supporters in 2008.
“The youth initiative is having trouble with big donors and youth votes,” said a person familiar with the discussions.“They asked, ‘Can you tell us how we should be talking to them?’ ” one source noted.
But the Obama camp’s efforts were evidently a nonstarter, as after several weeks of deliberation, Viacom’s unit reportedly declined their request saying it does not do political work.