The Right Opinion

No Oxygen, Please, for This Show

By L. Brent Bozell · Jan. 11, 2013

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.”

Critics can't say this familial mess isn't reality in the sense that Walker actually created this twisted trail. The names of the mothers have been changed to make better television – one is nicknamed “Jealous Baby Mama” and another “Shady Baby Mama.” This is odd, because they're can't be anyone “shadier” than our aspiring TV star Shawty-Lo, sneaking around to the point that he dishonorably piled up ten “baby mamas.”

Wouldn't you think that somewhere in this chain that Baby Mama Five or Six would have been warned away by the rest of the roster?

Since he has no shame, 36-year-old Shawty-Lo is now dating a 19-year-old. His oldest child is 21.

No one by now expects “reality TV” to offer us role models. Instead, these shows careen recklessly around the culture and celebrate dysfunction. Sadly, for women under age 30, more than half of their babies are born out of wedlock. Among blacks, the rate soars to more than 65 percent. Oxygen isn't making this show as a morality play, some kind of “Scared Straight” documentary. Like almost every other reality show, this network surely will just set a stage for outsized drama and squabbling and yelling and crying.

Early in the controversy, Oxygen Media senior vice president Cori Abraham hoped that the show would provide “over-the-top moments that our young, diverse female audience can tweet and gossip about … leaving the man of the house to split his affection multiple ways while trying to create order … but sharing your man with several opinionated women is bound to create issues.”

In short, they see this as a black edition of TLC's “Sister Wives,” without the actual lobbying for polygamy. For this show and this format to fly, viewers will have to embrace the characters and root for them to succeed – which means the stars will be celebrated for ruining their children publicly. There's nothing like national humiliation.

This ridiculous concept should be dumped by Oxygen, and Oxygen should be dumped by cable systems. But Oxygen is now owned by the cable giant Comcast, so a very large wave of public shame is the only hope we have that this show gets cancelled. The fact that people are having to write petitions about this train wreck only proves that the TV industry will always “think” its way to an idiotic-sounding new low.

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12 Comments

India in GA said:

"the stars will be celebrated for ruining their children publicly."

My thoughts, exactly. What is entertaining about exploiting fatherless children? If you want to make a fool of yourself on cable TV, have the decency to leave the kids out of it!!

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA said:

I can't believe any sane person would find this crap entertaining but I must be getting senile because I keep forgetting the liberals are not sane. They see nothing wrong with this idiot fathering 11 children by 10 different women and would make him out to be some kind of hero. I noticed they didn't say how many of the "babymama" were on welfare. Most young black men don't take responsibily now for fathering children and this will just be another reason to brag about how many kids they fathered. Shawty-Lo is a slimeball of the highest order and Oprah should be ashamed to be accociated with this idiocy. But again I forget, liberals aren't rational or sane.

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Ed Watts in Near Palm Springs replied:

I brag about how many children I fathered, and that number is eight -- all from one marriage. Further, my dear wife never had to work beyond being a wife, mother, and homemaker. The children are grown, and none of them depend upon Big Brother for their support.

So there.

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Torp44 in Ione, Wa. said:

Fortunately, we have black people like Bill Cosby, Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Clarence Thomas, & many other prominent black spokesmen, AND women to counter the hip-hop ghetto garbage lifestyles and public displays of black cultural rot being featured in the U.S. these days, courtesy of our immoral media enablers. Unfortunately, they seem to be in a small minority, however, & are overwhelmingly outnumbered by their ignorant, antisocial black "brothers & sisters" who prefer to do their "thinking" with their sexual organs or trigger-fingers,....to whom I proudly offer both of my upraised middle fingers!

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 2:23 PM

rippedchef in sc said:

wonder what Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson think-wait for it-ah yes,nothing but the silence of race hustlers

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:32 PM

MikeEcho in Orting, WA said:

While all this is going on Rome burns and Nero fiddles...MARANATHA! Come Lord Jesus!

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Jim in Western NC replied:

I'm with you MikeEcho. I know that is the only real solution.

Friday, January 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM

JJStryder in realville said:

This show is definitely unreality. Anyone born before yesterday knows that you can have as many"baby mamas" as you want and never have to have any further contact with them knowing that the "nanny state" will take care of your little bastards by fleecing the productive American public. Thanks Democrats!

Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Alex in NJ replied:

If the father stays, no money for the mother. If he goes. The state pays.
It destroys the family by design.

Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 8:21 AM

Tod the tool guy in brooklyn ny said:

"Sixteen Marxists, it's an ugly sight, raiding our Treasury, all day and all night. Oh you ignorant Capitalists, you are too blind to see, the beauty of Marxism and Bankruptcy!" (Sing to the tune 16 candles) v2 "16 Marxists, on Capitol Hill, I'm workin' two jobs, in Obamaville!!

Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 6:57 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Tod, I love the song! Gets right to the core of the problem.

Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 9:36 AM

OKBecky in Ponca City, OK said:

What tee's me off is in reading other articles about this, and all these activists protesting this "stereotyping" of the Black community. But it's not a stereotype - this is what 2/3 of Black children are born to - unmarried parents, dysfunction, etc. That's the worst of it. But the complaints and criticism are for the TV producers, for presenting this family dysfunction, instead of for the people and communities (loosely termed) who produce the dysfunction.

Furthermore, this is the end result of promiscuity without judgment: we end up with polygamy in all but name, but without the responsibility to care for the women (as wives) or their children. It's left for the outside world to provide the food, housing, clothing, education, health care, and other support for these women and children, because Big Mister can't be bothered to think beyond his own gratification. And this underclass culture is spreading to all parts of society, and we're told to accept it as "normal." Yet depicting it on TV is "exploitation" and the perpetuation of "ugly stereotypes." It seems that (1) it is not the facts that are offensive, but the depiction of them, and (2) any evidence that does not support the leftist narrative is condemned and disappeared.

Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 9:41 PM