At times like this, I can’t help but feel the same way Malcolm X felt when a reporter asked him how he felt about the JFK assassination.
While JFK was a cool guy with a hot wife, and one of the less racist presidents, for what it’s worth, Malcolm X could hardly be surprised that he was assassinated, because white people are naturally violent.
Similarly, I couldn’t be too upset to hear that the recent “woke” iteration of MTV News was coming to an end, both because, like literally everyone else on the Internets, I had no use for the site, and also because, come to find out, it was wildly corrupt.
It was announced yesterday that MTV is overhauling its news division, dropping all of the writers like a bad habit and replacing the longform content they’d been publishing, i.e. 800-word think pieces on gender issues, with videos designed to appeal to young people (but presumably not pornography).
At least 12 people were let go. The two people who’d been in charge of the site had already left earlier this year, at which point it became obvious that MTV was about to do some “restructuring.” The few people who were capable of finding work elsewhere did so. The rest of them will probably have to go on unemployment or sign up for one of those sites where you date older men for money.
When the news hit the Internets, yesterday, there was an immediate outpouring of grief from kids who must know the kids who worked there. The departing MTV News staff was said to be so brilliant. Editors from other sites were encouraged to hire them up before Burger King or Complex could get to them.
This was a nice thing to say about people who’d just lost their jobs, but were those articles really that good? I can neither confirm nor deny. The only two things I can recall reading, er, consuming, were that time they let some young fruit shit on De La Soul’s Three Feet High and Rising, and the infamous White Guy Resolutions.
I’m surprised White Guy Resolutions didn’t make it into Jordan Sargent’s informative article on the MTV News layoffs in Spin. Sargent must not read Infowars.
A few things that did make it into that Spin article:
1) The time Chance the Rapper threatened to never work with MTV again, upset about an article about the “emotional disconnect” someone felt at one of his shows. Execs at MTV had the article pulled from the site, and as Chance’s manager pointed out, he’s on an upcoming episode of Wild ‘N Out.
2) The time the MTV News staff was informed that, because MTV was trying to do a deal with DJ Khaled, they wouldn’t be allowed to do any articles on DJ Khaled unless they were articles about how brilliant he was.
3) The various times when the two people in charge, Dan Fierman and Jessica Hopper, refused to go to bat for their writers in a dispute with management, which is expected of any credible editor.
4) The time they ran a BS article about a potential new Kanye album, which was picked up by several other sites, and then deleted it without issuing a notice that the article had been removed, which is frowned upon.
5) The time Fierman told a girl from the old MTV News staff, “Why would I trust you to report, when I can hire Wesley Morris?” Arguably, this was sexist, in the true meaning of the term sexism, since I can’t imagine him saying that to another guy.
Also, if this site was so woke, how come they had a white guy in charge? You’d think they would have a black woman or a cripple function as nominal figurehead, even if she wasn’t really running the site, to keep up appearances. I don’t buy the argument that he used to be the editorial director at Grantland because, as the Spin article pointed out, Grantland failed miserably. Similarly, traffic to MTV News was down something like 60% since Fierman took charge.
Hopefully, this will serve as a lesson to any other media outlets considering running a lot of articles about the lack of transgender themes in Kings of Leon albums or whatever. In fact, they might consider keeping a list of names of MTV News staffers posted in HR, like a list of names of people who are no longer allowed to pay for Chinese food with a personal check.
Take it easy on yourself,