Gates named MTV-U’s Man of the Year
Published: December 23, 2010
WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Robert Gates couldn’t drop a hot hip-hop track even with the help of Auto-Tune , but that didn’t stop MTV-U from naming him their man of the year this week. The network called Gates “a beacon of reason in a sea of polarizing soundbytes” and “a model public servant” for their college-aged audience.
“The only Republican in President [Barack] Obama’s cabinet, Secretary Gates was bigger than played out partisan politics, making bold, reasoned choices to address gender bias, fiscal restraint, reinventing the military for the 21st century and overturning ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” the network said in their announcement.
“He inherited two wars that have deeply divided college students nationwide, but Secretary Gates and the college audience have always been in lock step on a critical principal: doing what’s best for our troops and a new generation of veterans.”
Gates’ honor comes on the heels of GQ magazine picking Adm. Mike Mullen as their Man of the Year, indicating a surprising level of street cred for the graying military leaders.
The network, broadcast to more than 750 college campuses nationwide, also named Nicki Minaj as their woman of the year. The fluorescent-haired rapper actually boasts similarities to the defense secretary, according to the network: Her own gay-rights agenda included participation in the “it gets better” anti-suicide campaign and a public push “for an end to homophobia in hip-hop,” although her efforts didn’t include arguing with Sen. John McCain on the possible effects on morale and readiness.
For the record, the network’s better-known parent company, MTV, named rapper Kanye West and performer Lady Gaga as their people of the year for 2010.
If Gates is willing to wear a meat dress to his next “don’t ask, don’t tell” press conference, he might be able to land that honor in 2011.
UPDATE: As video game expert Sam Laney pointed out to me, MTV-U was incorrect in saying that Gates is the only Republican in Obama's cabinet -- Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is also a Republican. Please keep that in mind when relying on music television researchers for your political science papers.