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Another commentator argues that MTV, Viacom etc are not really listening to teens as a means to help create new and innovative material, but instead they simply use their marketing research as a way to market what they have to sell.Teens are only being listened to as customers and not really as people with their own thoughts and ideas.
It might mean looking into their own minds and hearts. They do surveys on kids, endlessly looking for the "typical" American teenager, as if there could be such a thing in a country as diverse as the United States.They want to know what music he or she listens to, what they eat, what they wear, what interests them, where they go, what do they do for fun, and what do they like to watch.If middle-aged men throwing themselves into pools of excrement is what these teens and early twenty-somethings regard as entertainment, than the likes of MTV will provide it.But if they are given nothing other than junk entertainment, how can kids possibly demand something of higher quality?These items are put together like a laundry list and sent back to the studios where producers put together programming based on these results. Or simply marketing, not unlike a political campaign or a laundry detergent.
They are also looking for the "leader kids", young people who will point the way toward the new "thing", which could be music, fashion trends, film, etc, when it is still underground.
The correspondent suggests that if all the media is being driven by profit-hungry corporations, teens become nothing more than consumers with nothing that they can call their own.
If all that matters in art and entertainment is appealing to the lowest common denominator purely for profit, then true teen expression will cease to exist, which is possibly the main point of PBS Frontline's "The Merchants of Cool".
According to "The Merchants of Cool", music, television programs, and movies are rarely made by singular artists who have a vision.
They are contrived packaged products assembled by committees in board rooms at the behest of the large media corporations.
If the kids are exposed to nothing other than silly mook shows like Howard Stern, overly sexually-explicit programming like "Spring Break", overly violent movies and television shows, like wrestling, and endless Hip-Pop groups with violent and derogatory messages, they will reflect back these ideas through behavior that may have damaging consequences in the long term.