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Is it true? Portrayal of Business on TV and Film

The television and film establishment hasn’t been overly friendly to the business world lately.

The Business & Media Institute studied 129 episodes of the top 12 Nielsen-rated network TV dramas airing on ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. Only 39 episodes featured plots alluding to commerce or primary characters who were businessmen. Of those, 30 (77 percent) were anti-business – almost four times as many as were graded pro-business. Only nine episodes (23 percent) were graded pro-business for the actions of the characters or the nature of the plot.

On primetime television, victims were 21 times more likely to be kidnapped or murdered by businessmen than the mob. Businessmen also committed crimes five times more often than terrorists and four times more often than street gangs. They were nearly as prolific villains (21 felonies) as hardened criminals like drug dealers, child molesters, and serial killers put together (23 felonies).

Businessmen and women killed their associates and slept around the office, while their corporations were painted as big, faceless and evil. While one character on CBS’s “Without a Trace” accused drug companies of “doing experimental drug trials on kids, seldom did any business-related characters produce honest work or benefits for society.”

Film, especially documentaries, aren’t angling to become business’ best friend either with a slew of documentaries bashing corporations. Filmmakers have exposed the concept of the Corporation, Enron, Walmart and McDonald’s. This is just the tip of the iceberg (which maybe melting as we speak) of what’s out there in the business NegativLand.


  • Is this perception right on?
  • If so, what can we and our businesses do to alter that perception?
  • Is the rise of a conscious corporation possible?
  • What can we as individuals do to be a part of that movement?


As I sit, write and ponder the global transformation of business, I am overwhelmed by the long road ahead of us. How can I be more of a catalyst for a change towards a more conscious triple bottom line approach (profit, planet, people) to business? Is it even possible? I am reminded that revolutions happen one person at a time. Revolutions are fueled by the passion of a few individuals that are able to ignite the belief of others and incite them to action. I want this revolution and I want the whole world to want it. I am now more inspired then when I began writing this post. I feel more connected to my mission of helping entrepreneurs create conscious businesses and prosperity for themselves and beyond.

What can I do today? What can I do to align my belief system with my actions now?

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