Is MTV unfairly profiling Obama’s town hall audience?

Posted by STARR KESHET

A recent MTV casting call for an upcoming President Obama town hall meeting is prompting heated allegations of discriminatory profiling and screening.

Shocked? Don’t believe it? 



Well, as Ben Smith of Politico points out, the casting call description (jointly issued by MTV, BET and CMT) asks potential applicants to clearly state their political views and provide a recent photo.

Is MTV unfairly profiling Obama’s town hall audience?However, Viacom spokesperson Kelly McAndrew denied that the network was in any way discriminating against individuals based on their political perspectives, looks or ethnicity.

"We’re just trying to get the broadest, most diverse audience possible," she said, emphasizing that neither Republicans nor ugly people would be screened out.

"We want to have divergent points of view - we’re not looking for a single-view audience.

"[And] we’re going to have a very diverse looking audience. We want gender diversity, we want ethnicity diversity, we want religious diversity, we want political view diversity. We want diversity of all kinds."

Admirable sentiments, indeed.

However, true diversity can't and won't be achieved by cherry picking audience members based on gender, ethnicity, religion or political views - especially for a supposedly "open" town hall meeting.