News outlets have often been criticized for having an agenda, but MTV may have taken things to new levels, according to one local man.
Mark Palos grew up watching MTV back when the channel showed music videos. But Palos is furious with a recent article posted on its website. In the article, Palos feels MTV makes a recent slam poetry night held at Milly’s Tavern seem like a Ron Paul event. But in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth, according to Palos.
Palos of Slam Free or Die routinely organizes a Thursday night open mike at Milly’s. On Thursday, Milly’s manager Rob Weintraub got a call from MTV asking if Milly’s would host a slam poetry night on Sunday, Jan. 8, with poems that were written in response to Saturday’s debate. Weintraub reached out to Palos and Sam Teitel of Slam Free or Die who interested, according to Palos. He said MTV was going to film the show and put it on an episode of MTV Docs, a documentary show.
Palos said he went into overdrive organizing the event and a bunch of poets gathered at Milly’s on Saturday night to watch the debate and take notes, which is something they normally wouldn’t do.
Palos said MTV was supposed to arrive around 5:30 p.m. on Sunday night and the show was to start at 7 p.m. But by 7 p.m., there was still no sign of MTV. There was a good crowd of around 100 people, which is about 40 more people than normal. One table of this crowd was occupied by a group of Ron Paul supporters. The organizers pushed back the start of the show to 7:30 p.m. Palos said MTV arrived at 7:25 p.m. Palos said the MTV reporter only talked with the Ron Paul supporters in the crowd, ate food and then left before the night was over.
Palos woke to find an article with the headline “Ron Paul Inspires Poetry in New Hampshire.” He said some of the lines in the article were taken out of context from poems that weren’t favorable at all to Ron Paul. And while the story in its current form doesn’t label the event as a Ron Paul event, Palos feels MTV focused just on the Ron Paul supporters and ignored the rest.
This was particularly upsetting for Palos because he has worked hard to preserve the reputation of Slam Free or Die, which supports an “open mike” concept, which means they are accepting and respectful of everyone and every opinion that steps up to the mike. He said in 2008 they were approached by the Obama campaign and asked if they would like to host a slam poetry night in collaboration with his campaign. Even though many of those involved supported Obama, Palos said they declined because they didn’t want to alienate any potential poets or audience members.
But perhaps Slam Free or Die will laugh last. At next Thursday’s poetry night, poet Bill Macmillan is offering a prize to the person who writes and performs the best anti-MTV poem on the open mike.