First came Bud Light. Then Target. Now, it’s Country Music Television (CMT).
After the music video network pulled the video for Jason Aldean’s “Try That in a Small Town,” leading conservatives are calling for a boycott of CMT.
How that might work, given the channel is typically part of a cable bundle most consumers have little to no control over, is yet to be seen.
CMT’s decision came after the video for “Try That in a Small Town,” which was released on Monday, was accused of being racist and secretly pro-lynching. The Maury County Courthouse in Tennessee, where Aldean chose to film the video, was the site of an infamous lynching in 1927, and Aldean’s song alludes to the virtues of vigilante justice.
Aldean denied the song had any hidden, offensive undertones, claiming it simply promoted the values of living in Small Town, USA.
In the face of backlash and recriminations, conservatives online rallied around Aldean and the anthem. According to reports, it shot to the top of the iTunes charts as fans flocked to purchase it.
The video, still available on YouTube, now has over 5 million views.
And given the success of boycotting Bud Light, which saw Anheuser-Busch’s sales of the beer plummet as conservatives were able to sustain their outrage over its partnership with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, prominent Republicans called on CMT to receive the same treatment.
“The iTunes charts have spoken—Jason Aldean’s ‘Try That In A Small Town’ is number one. Whenever they try and censor us, we only go stronger. Time for CMT to get the Bud Light treatment,” wrote Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) on Twitter.
“Shame on woke CMT. I hope they get the BudLight and Disney treatment. The leftists have released songs about killing police, women being whores, and other vile lyrics and yet @Jason_Aldean gets censored for singing about a patriotic America. #BoycottCMT#JasonAldean,” said
“Leftist @CMT Cancelled music video by @Jason_Aldean about the Antifa-BLM riots. Time to BudLight#CMT,” added one user.
Ignoring the claim that a country music television channel is somehow “leftist,” CMT is a cable channel, which means it comes pre-bundled as part of a package.
Viewers could refuse to turn to it, but CMT would still be seeing revenue from the subscription fees people paid and have locked themselves into. Unless they were to quit cable entirely, it’s unlikely CMT would see any kind of short-term hit.
Some online have tried to note the difficulties with that.
“You just cannot ‘boycott’ CMT. They program cheap crap as it is. Cable providers pick up CMT to fill up their schedule,” one user wrote. “You have to contact your cable provider and tell them you’re switching to streaming services because of the Jason Aldean situation.”
In other words, a boycott like this isn’t likely to achieve anything. In the wake of Morgan Wallen’s use of a racial slur in 2021, CMT announced it would stop airing anything related to him, prompting calls for a boycott.
CMT seems to have endured that just fine.
But conservatives do appear more organized and resolute these days. If the CMT boycott succeeds in taking down the cable cartel, it would be an even more impressive achievement than bringing down Bud Light.
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*First Published: Jul 20, 2023, 1:10 pm CDT
David Covucci is the senior politics and technology editor at the Daily Dot, covering the nexus between Washington and Silicon Valley. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]