The 51st annual Country Music Association Awards is coming up, and you know what that means!! Or maybe you don’t because who watches the CMAs (except for when Beyoncé joined the Dixie Chicks last year to perform “Daddy Lessons”). The CMAs aren’t exactly known for being the most politically aggressive awards shows, but this year they’re going all-out, even threatening to kick our journalists who ask questions about some of the biggest issues this year.
According to the AP, while hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley want to honor the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting, journalists will be banned from asking questions about the massacre (which happened at a country music concert). Journalists have also been discouraged from asking about gun rights, and/or political affiliations. Via Page Six:
In media guidelines for Wednesday’s 51st annual CMA Awards held in Nashville, Tennessee, the association said the restrictions were “out of respect for the artists directly or indirectly involved” and they wanted everyone “to feel comfortable talking to press.” Media who strayed from the guidelines could have their credentials “potentially revoked via security escort.”
The guidelines are so ridiculous that even Paisley called them out.
When it comes to other industry award shows like the Grammys, it seems like the issue is that celebrities are too quick to pat themselves on the back for doing the bare minimum to keep politics in the conversation. But at least they’re talking about it, not actively deterring journalists from discussing it. It’s clear the CMAs doesn’t want to run the risk of alienating viewers, particularly in Donald Trump’s America. But threatening journalists for trying to ask important questions of celebrities that millions of Americans look up to is a pretty lamentable tactic, and one that most likely won’t work out for long.
UPDATE: The CMAs released a statement saying they changed their mind:
CMA apologizes for the recently distributed restrictions in the CMA Awards media guidelines, which have since been lifted. The sentiment was not to infringe and was created with the best of intentions to honor and celebrate Country Music.