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A Superbowl peep show

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, February 3, 2004

Like it or not America finds itself at war. Many have criticized our actions abroad as threatening America’s “moral authority” around the world. Regardless of one’s political views on the War on Terrorism, Iraq, etc. I would like to approach this lapse in “moral authority” in a different light. On Sunday, 140 million people in the United States and millions more worldwide watched this year’s Super Bowl as well as the Halftime Show, which will go down as the most controversial ever. Justin Timberlake, while finishing his song with the lyrics “I’ll get you naked by the end of this song” proceeded to expose Janet Jackson’s bare breast. While Timberlake claims it was a “wardrobe malfunction,” CBS and my generation’s beloved MTV (both owned by Viacom) have apologized “to anyone who was offended” by the “unrehearsed, unplanned, completely unintentional” actions. Yet MTV’s own Web site produced an article entitled “Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl Show Promises ‘Shocking Moments'” posted last Wednesday, four days before the embarrassing moment. Meanwhile, MTV has pulled the article from its website (although you can still access it using Google). It is a sad day when the Super Bowl can no longer be a family show.

All of which brings me to America’s standing around the world. With millions watching the Super Bowl internationally, what message does the Justin-Janet peep show send to those around the world who wonder for what America is fighting? Are these the ‘values’ for which the brave men and women of our armed forces are shedding their blood daily? When we talk about the ideals that serve as the cornerstone of this blessed nation, how do we expect to be taken seriously around the world when the perception is that we fight for the right to televise a worldwide peep show? Worse yet, the executives at MTV and CBS do not have the courage to take responsibility for their actions. No wonder public opinion of the media is at an all-time low.

Michael Derocherjunioroff campusFeb. 2