Do Appearances on BET & MTV really engage young people in the Election process?

This afternoon had the opportunity to sit in on a conference call sponsored by the Mobilization, Change and Political and Civic Engagement Project (MCPCE). They took the opportunity to reveal their findings from a national survey which examined the changing attitudes of blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos regarding race, politics, immigration and more. The chief researcher Dr. Cathy Cohen served as the moderator. If you are interested in reviewing the research you can do so at A number of issues were discussed, but one that I would like to explore is the effectiveness of using networks like BET and MTV to reach young people. President Obama made an appearance at a town hall event last week that was televised on both networks. This was done in an effort to reach out to young people, but one of the speakers on the call made an excellent point. The president has been speaking to college students, but not all young people go to college so how do you cross that divide? The show that came on MTV immediately after the president was Teen Mom. How do you reach the voting age teen mom, how do you reach the minimal wage young worker? Who is talking to them? One of the speakers talked about how this generation is the “wired” generation and they use social media to get the word out. Almost all politicians have a Facebook page and a Twitter account but do they know how to use these tools effectively to reach young people? Young people came out in 2008 and the people that were a part of this discussion believe young people will come out for the midterm elections. The stakes are equally as high. Do you believe the president has been effective in getting his message out to young people? Does he need a surrogate to help take the message to the streets? Tell me what you think.

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