Lorenzo Zarate sits on a couch and plays an Xbox game while a cameraman films him. Mr. Zarate, an aspiring rapper, thinks he is being featured in an MTV news segment.
Then Kanye West comes to the door. Once the surprise subsides and the two men settle down in the living room, the talk turns to "before I went" and "when I got back." Mr. Zarate, 24, is a veteran of the Iraq war who suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. He is also a member of MTV's core young demographic of teenagers and 20-somethings.
A recent MTV survey showed that nearly 70 percent of that demographic knew someone who had served in Iraq. "In some ways we think it's the defining issue of this generation," said Ian Rowe, vice president for public affairs and strategic partnerships at MTV.
With that in mind MTV is reinvigorating its get-out-the-vote campaign, "Choose or Lose," even though it has scaled back its news and documentary programming in recent years. MTV plans to cover the 2008 election largely by spotlighting a few of the roughly 1.6 million Americans who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Zarate's story will be featured in "Homecoming," an hourlong special about veterans presented by "Choose or Lose" and Mr. West on Monday night at 10.