Businessman get negative portrayals on primetime drama

For American Businessmen, Primetime is Crimetime:

The classic family man like insurance salesman Jim Anderson (played by Robert Young) on “Father Knows Best” has turned into the ruthless CEO. Entertainment television now shows businessmen as cheats, liars, philanderers and criminals. In a study of top-rated dramas during the “sweeps” months of May and November 2005, the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute (BMI) found that the networks advanced a largely negative view of both the American businessman and the very idea of business.

Along with widespread crime, the workplace was little more than an expensive Monday-to-Friday dating service. The 40-hour workweek was rife with immorality and dishonesty. And it didn’t stop with the openly negative. There was little positive, as well. Businessmen rarely helped solve society’s problems through their skill or dedication. Of the 12 shows BMI studied, only one, NBC’s “Las Vegas” – set ironically in the notorious “Sin City” – offered narratives in which businessmen confronted challenges with skill and creativity instead of murder or sex.

These 15 episodes shared a common thread. Each fit a dramatic template that pitted detectives, district attorneys and other agents of a just government against vulgar businessmen willing to do anything or kill anyone to gain power. With the exception of NBC’s “Las Vegas,” no major plotline in the study sample featured businessmen furthering the interests of society through their work ethic or creativity. On primetime television, the presence of businessmen ran counter to ethical behavior, almost at the same pace as hardened career criminals.

Really, I can’t imagine why anyone would think that the presence of a businessman is counter to ethical behavior. Where ever could such a stereotype have come from? Certainly, I can’t imagine one single instance of a corporation or businessman going against the interests of society in the real world. Obviously, these primetime dramas are just making shit up wholesale.

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