Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Much-Maligned Magnates: The Wall Street Journal carries one of its periodic complaints about the negative stereotyping of CEOs in film and television, picking up on a study by the Business & Media Institute that details the unflattering portrayal of businessmen. The study looked at the top 12 TV dramas during May and November in 2005, “ranging from crime shows like CSI to the goofy Desperate Housewives. Out of 39 episodes that featured business-related plots, the study found, 77 percent advanced a negative view of the world of commerce and its practitioners.”

The Journal makes an explicit comparison between poor, oppressed billionaire CEOs of today and the poor, oppressed minorities of the past (referencing Amos & Andy and the Frito bandito in an attempt to elicit sympathy for the downtrodden business leaders). I suppose some of their especially self-pitying readers might buy it. I’m sorry to say I don’t.

I am not for a moment suggesting that the majority of CEOs are violent criminals. But I will say that the percentage of major corporations that have been convicted of some crime over the course of their lifetime is astonishingly high compared to even the most recidivistic demographic. If they want more favorable portrayals I’d suggest they change their behavior rather than—as the Journal would apparently prefer—forming some sort of victims’ rights groups and whining to the press.

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