Prime Time TV Shows Capitalists as a Criminal Class

Mark Twain once said, "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native criminal class except Congress."

Today's Hollywood TV executives would beg to differ. To them there's no distinctly native criminal class except American businessmen.

The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute is out with our latest study, the first of a three-part series looking at the media's bias against businessmen.

Almost 10 years ago, the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute published “Businessmen Behaving Badly,” which found that businessmen on TV committed more crimes than any other demographic. In this new study, BMI looked at 129 episodes from 12 top-rated dramas on the four networks: ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. These broadcasts were picked from two “sweeps” months in 2005 – May and November – when networks try to attract the largest audiences to maximize ad dollars.

In this look at primetime, BMI found:
  • TV Overwhelmingly Negative toward Business: Negative plots about business and businessmen outnumbered positive ones by almost 4-to-1. Of the 39 episodes that included business-related plots or characters, 30 (77 percent) cast businessmen and commerce in a negative light.

  • Businessmen Are Villains, Not Heroes: When businessmen appeared on TV, they were up to no good. Only NBC’s “Medium” and “Las Vegas” featured businessmen in a consistently positive light.

  • TV Businessmen a Greater Threat to Society than Terrorists or Gangs: According to primetime TV, you are 21 times more likely to be kidnapped or murdered at the hands of a businessman than the mob. Businessmen also committed crimes five times more often than terrorists and four times more often than gangs.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.