Would MTV risk upsetting some sensitive parents? Perish the thought. As Matthew Feeney noted in the morning links, MTV, which once upon a time could've been described as a subversive media outlet, censored Miley Cyrus appearing to light a joint after accepting an award at the EMAs, which were held in Amsterdam yesterday, and aired in the US on MTV last night. Deadline helpfully explains that "[h]ad MTV opted to leave the smoking stunt by the 20-year-old Cyrus in, the network most certainly would've gotten into hot water with watchdogs and parents."
Cyrus, whose latest album came out last month, previously attracted controversy and attention to herself by performing a sexually provocative number with Robin Thicke at this summer's MTV Video Music Awards. The FCC received more than 150 pages of complaints about Cyrus after the award show aired, even though the agency has no jurisdiction or authority over cable networks like MTV. Peter Suderman argued that the blurred lines between cable and broadcast networks mean the FCC should withdraw from the business of censoring broadcast networks, just as it's hands-off with cable.
MTV's self-censorship of an act that, even if it were an actual joint, would be basically legal in the country where it happened as well as in two US states and several local municipalities and that a majority of Americans believe ought to be legal, further suggest that cable network, and others, don't need the FCC's meddling to make silly censorship calls. Cyrus pointed out how bizarre MTV's censorship policies can be by noting they let her twerk at the VMAs but felt the need to censor her mention of Molly (MDMA). They are a music channel no one is forced to watch or pay for, and should be comfortable not censoring either.
Read Nick Gillespie on Miley Cyrus, MTV, and the "blandification of pop culture" here.