Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 20, 2006 / 24 Tamuz 5766

TV's bad-guy businessmen

By Clarence Page


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Prime-time TV is largely run by self-hating businesspeople.


That's the implication of a recent study by the Business and Media Institute, a conservative watchdog group, that finds America's most popular evening entertainment shows portray businessmen as posing "a greater threat than the mob."


Titled "Bad Company," the study looked at the dozen top-rated TV dramas during last year's May and November ratings months and found almost all of the businesspeople were usually doing something unethical, cruel or criminal.


Put another way, the businesspeople were committing so much mayhem on shows as diverse as "Law & Order" and "Desperate Housewives" that there was hardly anything left for terrorists or mobsters to do. Out of 39 episodes that featured business-related plots, for example, 77 percent advanced a negative view of the world of commerce and its practitioners.


Businessmen turned up as kidnappers and murderers 21 times, almost as often as the 23 times totaled by drug dealers, child molesters, serial killers and other hardened criminals put together.


The study tends to confirm what the institute has long maintained is Hollywood's bias against one of America's most maligned and misunderstood minority groups: business folks.


"In the real world, is the average businessman a murderer, kidnapper and/or philandering backstabber?" the report asks. "If not, why is this the way the businessman portrayed on television?"


Why? I'll tell you why: It's good for profits.


How many people would have watched "Dallas" if J.R. Ewing were an "average businessman"? A nice, ethical, self-sacrificing father who volunteers in his spare time to work with the Boy Scouts is hardly the stuff of gripping crime dramas.


It is not that the people who run TV hate businesspeople but that they love the profits that plots about bad-guy businessmen, among other villains, attract.


It's more fun to watch the cops and prosecutors bring down a pompous rich guy than bring down a common criminal who's already down. Bigger audiences tune in and, the ratings soar and the sponsors who also happen to be businesspeople want more shows just like it. That's what the business world calls a win-win situation.


In a telephone interview, I posed those possibilities to Dan Gainor, director of the Business and Media Institute and author of the study. I proposed that maybe the story lines he views as anti-capitalist plots are really good old-fashioned morality plays, warnings that even the rich and powerful are not above the law and other ethical behavior. Alas, Gainor wasn't buying it.


"If they were morality plays, they would work their way around to showing businesspeople who do good as well as evil," he said. "At least be fair. Sometimes businesspeople do something good."


Gainor may have a point when he observes that TV networks would not dare offend racial and ethnic minorities these days the way they stereotype businesspeople. Hollywood increasingly has demonized businesspeople since the end of the Cold War. We lost the Commies as an all-purpose enemy and viewers from just about every minority group but the business community complained about ethnic stereotyping of terrorists and other criminals. Yet, Gainor notes, "you don't see businesspeople getting angry about that."


No, we have yet to see the business equivalent of civil rights groups protesting the negative images broadcast by the TV shows that businesses sponsor. But, what would they call it? Maybe the "National Association for the Advancement of Already-Advantaged People"?


I'm trying to picture Donald Trump and Paris Hilton on a picket line with other patrician protestors. It's not easy.


Indeed, if wealthy businesspeople are a "safe" target, it is also because so many bad apples have spoiled life for the rest. We're delighted when Warren Buffett or Bill and Melinda Gates make headlines with their generosity, but then we're appalled by the criminal greed of a Ken Lay, Jack Abramoff or Jeffrey Skilling.


If I were a screenwriter, the dog-eat-dog world of business with its shiny cars, big money, Machiavellian schemes and elastic ethics, whether in the service of stockholders or one's own personal kitty, would offer a mother lode of story material. A few business folks in the audience might complain. Others would be taking notes.


That disturbs Gainor because television plays a powerful role in shaping social attitudes, especially in children. Over time, he said, "our children will think you have to lie, cheat or murder to get ahead."


Let's hope not. Take it from me, kids. You don't have to cut corners or break rules to get ahead.


But, beware of your classmates who think that they do.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Clarence Page's column by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006, TMS

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles