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MTV Sought out ‘Lighter Questions’ For Obama Town Hall

October 14, 2010

In a live television town hall event sponsored by MTV, BET and CMT, President Barack Obama set out to reach out to young voters. Questions were chosen from a variety of audience members and solicited via the social networking site Twitter. The president fielded a variety of questions reflecting young people‘s frustration over the country’s lack of jobs and concerns over social issues such as the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Prior to the event, a writer for the gay advocacy blog AMERICAblog Gay reports that his application to participate in the discussion was turned down after MTV representatives told him they were looking for a “lighter question.”

After asking what topics I was personally interested in, they asked what question I’d want to ask President Obama if I were in a room with him. I gave a sample question to give them a sense of where I’d go, but not anything specific (something about the role that federal policy plays in preventing bullying in light of the recent attention to suicide). The next question was: What lighter question would I ask the President — something related to pop culture perhaps. I hadn’t given any thought to this because, really, what moron blows this opportunity by asking the President “Mac or PC?” I gave them some light question and it was the one note that was made during the interview. I was not invited to attend.

When asked about the incident Thursday, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told the Washington Post that “in hundreds of town halls, the president has always gotten questions that weren‘t ’easy.’ And the questions Obama was asked during the town hall were by and large very substantive.”

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