Thousands of students walked out of schools across the country Wednesday, protesting against gun violence on the one month anniversary of the shooting in Parkland, Fla. Viacom announced that all of its television networks — including MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central — will suspend their programming in solidarity with the walkout, and endorse anti-gun measures in general.
“At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14, all Viacom networks and platforms will suspend regularly scheduled programming for 17 minutes. This pause will coincide with the National School Walkout, a tribute to the 17 lives lost in the Parkland shooting, and to all young victims of gun violence,” the company announced. “Students across the country will take over MTV’s social media accounts during the walkout.”
True to its word, Viacom’s MTV network has pushed video of the walkout on Twitter.
— MTV Look Different (@LookDifferent) March 14, 2018
— MTV (@MTV) March 14, 2018
Viacom did not just stop there, however. The company and its powerful networks have decided to support the “March For Our Lives,” a protest in Washington, D.C., on March 24 explicitly directed towards gun control activism.
The “March For Our Lives” petition outwardly calls for a ban on “the sale of assault weapons,” a vague characterization used by gun control activists. The petition declares that “no civilian should be able to access these weapons of war, which should be restricted for use by our military and law enforcement only. These guns have no other purpose than to fire as many bullets as possible and indiscriminately kill anything they are pointed at with terrifying speed.”
Ironically, the petition also says, “We support the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, as set forth in the United States Constitution.”
That right explicitly links the ability to bear arms to a militia — the idea that citizens should be prepared to fight a war if called upon to do so. The framers also set forth the idea that citizens should be able to defend themselves against an oppressive government.
Viacom did not only pledge to “drive awareness of March For Our Lives through extensive on-air and digital coverage,” but also pledged that MTV and Comedy Central would “change the color of their logos to orange … for the 10 days leading up to the event.”
As if this activism were not enough, Viacom’s networks also launched initiatives “against gun violence” from a gun control perspective. “For example, MTV has set up a website where people can learn how to take further action, BET will award DISARM pop-up grants to youth activists with innovative ideas about addressing gun violence and mental health issues, and CMT will work with the country music industry on its efforts to support gun safety.”
As the national walkouts began, students in Washington, D.C., turned their backs on the White House, despite President Donald Trump’s multi-faceted approach to addressing gun violence.
Does Viacom really wish to alienate half the country?