Everybody knows that reality television rarely bears any resemblance to reality, so when MTV's "True Life" decided to profile three "right wingers" for a recent episode, many probably took it with a grain of salt. And according to one person profiled on the show who spoke exclusively with TheBlaze, skepticism may have been the best policy.
"Amelia, Caleb and Andrew are three right-wingers who despise the very thing that holds our country together, the U.S. government," the episode's description reads.
17-year-old Caleb Yee started the first high school Tea Party in the nation and explained over email that even the show's title, "True Life: I Hate the Government," is inaccurate and was changed without his consent.
"I started filming with True Life 3 years ago when I was 16. Filming lasted for about a year and a half, but the show wasn't released until last week, which was strange since a lot of the information on it was outdated," he began. "We filmed a lot throughout the year and a half, but like most shows, more than half of what I said was taken out. Even though it wasn't scripted, I could easily tell that the director wanted me to go down a certain path, especially when I basically had to paraphrase some lines at some points."
High school Tea Party founder Caleb Yee speaks at a public event. (Photo: MTV)
When asked specifically how MTV misrepresented his views or took his remarks out of context, Yee elaborated in an email:
The first major concern I had was the title of the show since it is extremely misleading. Up until it aired I had believed the show to be called "I Distrust the Government" because that was what I had been told by the producing company. However, I was not notified of this title change until I found out for myself on the MTV home page that just put out the schedule. I understand that the producing company (separate from MTV) doesn't have much power over title shows, but I would have appreciated it if I was notified of it. I definitely do not hate the government, but instead I believe in limited government.
Secondly, I thought the introduction was very biased when the narrator said, "What would it be like if we despised the very thing that's supposed to hold our country together?" and later claims that we distrust government so completely that we're obsessed, making us seem like radical anarchists. I believe that the people do not exist because of the government. However, the government cannot exist if the people do not exist.
In terms of selective editing, I am not too discontent with it since most of what I said was what I truly believed in. However, there were multiple times when I talked about how both sides need to work together, cut down the debt, and limit government spending regardless of party lines. I also stressed the importance of the youth getting involved through education and information, but they only put in my criticism about the Obama administration, making me seem very partisan. [Emphasis added]
Caleb Yee and friends holding what appear to be pocket Constitutions. (Photo: MTV)
It should be noted that Yee had no interaction with the other two "right wingers" profiled-- one who opens up the show calling for "revolution" and yells at strangers that those who support abortion will be prosecuted, the other struggling for respect as a female member of a Florida militia-- and therefore can't comment on whether they were inaccurately portrayed as well.
"I believe that MTV might have tried their best to make us all seem like odd radical right wingers," Yee cautioned, "but the two characters also had the right to share their own set of beliefs and I saw nothing wrong with that."
So what's one of the strangest takeaways from Yee's sudden shot to stardom? When asked if he had anything else he'd like to add, Yee noted how many racist and belittling responses he received for his work.
"I thought it was funny how the very people who called us racist, wrote racist comments themselves on the comments page online," he said, including this comment from PopTart03: "I don't understand why the asian kid is so right wing? They need to subtitle his scenes. His parents are probably off the boat immigrants.... I'll never understand why people are against the side whose beliefs would most benefit them..."
"And then there was a person who called me out for being unable to vote even though the present clearly defines our future," he concluded. "There were plenty of young people who couldn't vote and ended up fighting in wars and fighting for our freedom."
TheBlaze reached out to MTV, but the network declined to comment on the story at this time.