As Convention Season Arrives, Trio of Viacom Brands Crank up Political Coverage

The U.S. is scheduled to elect a new commander in chief in less than four months. The next president will likely impact legislation regarding, among other issues, LGBT rights, gun control, and climate change. There’s a lot at stake—not just for Americans, but for the entire world.

Viacom’s immense footprint gives us a special responsibility to encourage people to participate in the electoral process. Voting is one of the best means citizens have for achieving goals of social justice and equality.

With this goal in mind, three Viacom brands—Comedy Central, MTV, and BET—are prolifically covering the presidential campaign. Each network has its own political concerns, but the predominant message is simple: just vote.

Here’s a look at what they’ve done so far.

Comedy Central: The Daily Show With Trevor Noah takes us through the convention chaos.

Trevor Noah and his news team are providing unprecedented live coverage of both the Republican and Democratic Conventions.

The news team hit the RNC first, broadcasting a week of shows directly from Cleveland, Ohio beginning Tuesday, July 19 and ending Friday, July 22. The Daily Show summarized the madness of the campaign cycle with a special that aired Monday night called The Road to “The Road.” You can watch the full episode here.

On the Daily Show’s July 19 episode, Noah critiqued the RNC theme “Make America Safe Again” with a segment called “Make America Fear Again”. Check out the video below.

Here’s Noah’s take on Melania Trump’s controversial convention speech:

On the final night of the RNC, the Daily Show telecast live as Trump gives his acceptance speech.

Watch the full episode here.

Starting Tuesday, July 26, The Daily Show will head to Philadelphia for a week of DNC coverage. And although Clinton is a much different kind of candidate, like John Stewart before him, Noah spares no politician from his jabs. Stay tuned for his clever commentary, live from the City of Brotherly Love.

Visit Comedy Central’s website for more campaign clips.

Elect This: MTV captures the zeitgeist of the 2016 election through the eyes of millennials.

MTV has championed the interests’ of youth voters for decades. They partnering with nonprofit organization, Rock the Vote over 20 years ago, energizing the electoral process with a burst of pop culture.

Here’s Madonna draped in the American flag for MTV’s 1990 Rock the Vote campaign:

During the 2004 presidential race, MTV’s Choose or Lose campaign partnered with rapper P. Diddy’s election initiative, Citizen Change. Citizen Change pledged to educate and empower the most disenfranchised groups of Americans—youth and minority voters. Diddy’s campaign also promised to “make voting sexy.”

Remember those “Vote or Die” T-shirts?

Don King, Zipp, Sean P.Diddy Combs and Craig Jones (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

Don King, Zipp, Sean P.Diddy Combs and Craig Jones (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

This year’s Elect This campaign continues MTV’s rich history of informing and engaging young voters. The initiative focuses on turning the conversation back to the viewers to let them decide which issues matter most.

MTV introduced Elect This with a jarring PSA, highlighting pivotal matters such as police brutality, student loan debt, and addiction in short, choppy clips. It is intended to incite outrage among young voters and encourage them to take action.

MTV Insights bolstered the campaign with research on millennial opinions throughout the election cycle. They found that young voters care less about the candidates, and more about the issues—including social justice, immigration and refugees, healthcare, the economy, national security and climate change.

MTV delivered this research to their viewers in the most millennial way possible—a series of vivid, pop-art infused infographic videos.

Here’s their techno take on gun control:

Here’s their somber compilation of sexual assault statistics:

The full series, Infographica, is available for streaming on YouTube.

Visit the campaign website to learn more the issues and how you can help solve them. Elect This also partnered with Change.org for a page dedicate to millennial issues this campaign season. It currently has over 440,000 supporters and 25 petitions, including this one about ratifying gun legislation in Orlando. You can start your own petition here.

Follow MTV News for the latest election coverage.

BET encouraged their fans to speak up—with a silent PSA.

BET’s Vote Your Voice campaign  sent a powerful message without adding a decibel to the raucous election season. A featured black celebrities and cultural influencers staring solemnly at the camera. It reminded viewers that silence is not an option.

BET’s Vote Your Voice campaign has used social media to promote its cause throughout the primary season, and will continue to do so for the rest of the election. Engage in the conversation with the hashtag #VoteYourVoiceBET.

Vote Your Voice partnered with Democracy Works, a nonprofit aiming to simplify the voting process. It offers an app called TurboVote which sends users text and email reminders about registration deadlines, upcoming elections, and more.

BET is also working with Higher Heights, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Black Youth Vote and Election Protection. These groups share a common goal of increasing political and civil engagement in the black community, particularly for young people.

BET takes on the unconventional convention:

BET Cleveland GOP Wont Show

The Cleveland the GOP Won’t Show You. Courtesy of BET News.

Like Comedy Central, BET News is currently on the campaign trail at the RNC. BET correspondents are posting live updates to the website, examining germane events such as the Black Lives Matter protest on Tuesday, July 19. On Wednesday, July 20, BET published a think-piece offering a unique perspective on the “real Cleveland” that GOP candidates tend to ignore.

Next week the news team will attend the Democratic National Convention and deliver similar coverage.

BET will air recap specials for the RNC and the DNC on Sunday, July 24 at 11 a.m. and Sunday, July 31 at 11 a.m., respectively. BET hosts Melissa Harris Perry and Dr. Marc Lamont Hill will lead these specials.

Voice your opinion on Twitter during the conventions with the hashtags #BETxRNC and #BETxDNC.


This is the first in a series of Viacom election recaps. In the following months we’ll keep you updated with what our brands are doing to further Viacom’s mission of voter engagement and social justice.

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