Brent Bozell
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Television is getting a little unreal. First, the idea that Al Gore would sell out to Al-Jazeera sounded like an April Fools' joke. Then the Oxygen network -- that supposedly uplifting women's channel founded in 2000 by Oprah Winfrey -- announced it was producing a reality show called "All My Baby's Mamas" starring an Atlanta rapper and former drug dealer named "Shawty Lo," alongside his 11 children and their 10 different mothers.

This story didn't originate on a satire site like The Onion. Oxygen promoted this videotaped puddle of stupidity with a YouTube highlight reel featuring the rapper (real name: Carlos Walker) unsuccessfully attempting to name his 11 kids as quiz-show music plays. Rush Limbaugh suggested this sounded like New York Jets football star Antonio Cromartie, who had trouble naming his nine kids by seven women on HBO's "Hard Knocks" documentary series in 2010.

This plot was so objectionable and senseless that the entire political spectrum has united against it. Leftist Boyce Watkins called it "a platform for ignorance." Liberal Clarence Page asked "Lincoln freed us for this?" Upset with the black stereotyping, citizen activist Sabrina Lord posted a petition on Change.org demanding "Shawty-Lo Must Go," and the Parents Television Council and their grass-roots army joined in that effort.

Conservatives smell the decline and fall of Western civilization in this kind of "reality TV" sensationalism.

As the criticism and petition signatures piled up, Oxygen locked down. They sidestepped the show at the winter press tour with TV writers in favor of touting their other new programs, like one called "Fat Girl Revenge." They lamely claimed their YouTube video was "hacked" instead of official, and claimed it was very early in the development process, although it was expected to air this spring. They insisted it was a special, not a series.

But when pressed hard enough, a network publicist didn't back down with Fox News. "Oxygen's one-hour special in development is not meant to be a stereotypical representation of everyday life for any one demographic or cross section of society ... It is a look at one unique family and their complicated, intertwined life. Oxygen Media's diverse team of creative executives will continue developing the show with this point of view."

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Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
 
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