Opinion Brief

Are girls getting pregnant to audition for MTV's 'Teen Mom'?

Critics of MTV's teen-pregnancy series say that some teens are so desperate for Reality-TV fame, they're willing to change their lives forever

According to USA's Today's Celebrity Heat Index, Catelynn Lowell and Amber Portwood — stars of MTV's "16 and Pregnant" and its spin-off "Teen Mom" — are garnering more media exposure than Angelina Jolie and Prince William. This isn't so surprising: A whopping 2.8 million viewers tuned in to October's season-two premiere of "16 and Pregnant" and some of the show's expectant young stars (reportedly paid upwards of $60,000 a season to have their lives obsessively documented) have since become tabloid fixtures. Now, MTV is on the hunt for new teen moms, and some commentators worry that young girls may be getting pregnant just for the chance to audition. Is MTV culpable? (Watch a "Teen Mom" promo)

MTV needs to check itself: MTV "is doing our society a disservice" says John Cave Osborne in Babble. "Even if the intent of [these] shows is to discourage teen pregnancies," it seems there's a pretty good chance they might "accidentally" be encouraging teens to get pregnant. That's not defensible, "not even for all the ratings in the world.""Sure fire way for teens to get on TV: Become pregnant"

Reality TV has gone to far: Reality TV has always been about "exploiting people's problems" and "assuming they would do anything for fame," says Rabbi Shmuely Boteach, as quoted in PopEater. But inspiring teens to get pregnant as a route to celebrity? This type of television is no longer just "exploiting problems. It is now creating the problems." "Teens becoming pregnant to get on 'Teen Mom'?"

The tabloids, not MTV, are too blame: "Teen Mom" executive producer J. Morgan Freeman insists the tabloids, not his show, are glamorizing teen pregnancy. "It's a challenge to stay focused...  on the real challenges in all of our girls' lives with this sort of larger cloud of the tabloids, the media circus, the glamorizing and glorifying aspects of it," he tells the Chicago Sun-Times. And, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy's chief program officer, Bill Albert, thinks the show is actually doing good, calling it "the best public service announcement I have seen for preventing teen pregnancy in decades.""Teen moms delivering for MTV"

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