Joe Manchin objects to MTV’s ‘Buckwild’ reality show

December 7, 2012
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W. Va.). ( AP)

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) isn’t too wild about MTV’s new reality show, “Buckwild.”

The show is scheduled to debut next month and follows a group of nine twenty-somethings living in and around Sissonville, W.Va., a town of just 4,000 residents. The program has been described as “The ‘Jersey Shore’ of Appalachia,” referring to the now-canceled reality show that earned the ire of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and state lawmakers.

In the case of “Buckwild,” Manchin said he’s only seen previews for the show — but that the teases that staffers showed him were enough to compel him to send a letter Friday to MTV President Stephen Friedman asking that the network “put a stop to the travesty called ‘Buckwild.’”

“As a U.S. Senator, I am repulsed at this business venture, where some Americans are making money off of the poor decisions of our youth,” Manchin wrote. “I cannot imagine that anyone who loves this country would feel proud profiting off of ‘Buckwild.’”

“Instead of showcasing the beauty of our people and our state, you preyed on young people, coaxed them into displaying shameful behavior — and now you are profiting from it. That is just wrong.”

In an interview Thursday before sending the letter, Manchin repeatedly called MTV’s decision “just awful.”

“I have no problem with people in this country trying to earn a profit, but I would ask them: Would they do this to their own children, in their own neighborhood, in their own home state?” Manchin said.

The senator, clearly playing to the home state crowd, touted what he said are West Virginia’s strengths.

“This show plays to ugly, inaccurate stereotypes about the people of West Virginia,” he said. “Let me tell you: People have given their all for this great country. They’ve done the heavy lifting to produce the energy that is needed to produce the steel that builds our factories and cities,” he wrote. “The proud veterans of our state have shed more blood and made more sacrifices than most other states to keep America free.”

An MTV spokesman declined to comment on the senator’s letter but said the reality show is slated to run for 12 episodes beginning in January.

Manchin, a moderate Democrat, succeeded the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D) in 2010 and won his first six-year term last month with 60 percent of the vote. Since the election, he has become more visible on the Hill, now often stopping to speak with reporters in the halls that he avoided for most of his first year in office.

Some news reports this week suggested that Manchin is slated to earn a plum assignment on the Senate Banking Committee, but he declined to say Thursday whether he’s joining the panel, noting that those decisions will not be announced until early next year.

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Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Ed O'Keefe · December 7, 2012