According to The Boot, the Country Music Association distributed the guidelines for the approved media covering the red carpet and media room access. The 2017 Awards were not going to cover anything controversial.
Of course, there were the usual guidelines and details about logistics. But this year’s journalists received a different warning: do not ask questions about any of this year’s hard-hitting issues. This included avoiding questions about the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival tragedy, politics, and gun control. Pretty much anything culturally relevant, but controversial.
And they weren’t kidding around. The CMA’s media guidelines were also clear that those who did not adhere to the rules would have their credentials reviewed. Even worse, they might be “potentially revoked via security escort.”
The backlash was immediate and severe.
Apparently, there was concern that artists involved in the Vegas shooting might feel uncomfortable discussing it. But a social media blitz followed the guidelines release, including pointed comments from artists such as Ryan Adams, Maren Morris, and Margo Price.
In an interview, Brad Paisley (who is co-hosting with Carrie Underwood for the 10th consecutive year), initially said that they would try to strike a balance: “We have to make sure we honor those we’ve lost, but we also [have to] celebrate this music, which lives on, and do a good job having the heart we need to have on that night.”
However, Paisley later called the guidelines “ridiculous and unfair” on social media.