According to Politico.com's columnist Ben Smith, MTV, BET and CMT are casting the audience for a town hall meeting with President Obama in Washington, D.C. next week.
The casting form, which can be found on this website, lists the qualifications for audience members.
While all the networks mentioned are seeking males & females, 18+ -- only MTV requests a recent photo of potential audience members.
Seeking—Audience Members: males & females, 18+.
To apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Town Hall” in the subject line. To ensure that the audience represents diverse interests and political views, include your name, phone number, hometown, school attending, your job and what issues, if any, you are interested in or passionate about. Also, provide a recent photo and short description of your political views. Submission deadline: Oct. 14. No pay.
Ben Smith theorizes that MTV (and Obama) prefer an audience made up of pretty people who reflect MTV's "Teen Spirit" idealism.
But I'll take his theory a step further and say that MTV (and Obama) are seeking to control not only the 'look' of the audience, but the number of blacks in it also.
Kelly McAndrew, a spokeswoman for Viacom, which owns MTV, denies that MTV is screening out ugly people, blacks or Republicans from Obama's Town Hall meeting.
"We’re just trying to get the broadest, most diverse audience possible," she said. "We want to have divergent points of view – we’re not looking for a single-view audience."
"We’re going to have a very diverse looking audience," McAndrew said. "We want gender diversity, we want ethnicity diversity, we want religious diversity, we want political view diversity. We want diversity of all kinds."
I'd be interested to know how many black applicants are turned down based on their photos.