“No CEO dares say it, yet it must be said: The shaming [of business] is over,” wrote Fortune senior editor-at-large Geoff Colvin. His article cited polling data to indicate business is once again trusted and noted that applications to business schools are back up again.
But why has the shaming come to an end, according to Fortune? Because business has gone liberal, endorsing national health care, environmental regulation and other media-approved causes.
Colvin wrote that corporate America is now “respectable” again thanks to examples like these:
“The Business Roundtable, comprising the CEOs of America's 200 biggest companies, in January joined with AARP and the Service Employees International Union to propose universal national health care.”
“In late January, for example, ten major companies called for firm limits on carbon dioxide emissions and for a system of trading carbon credits. The companies included big utilities like Duke Energy and PG&E, plus giant industrial firms like Alcoa and Caterpillar, all with strong and not necessarily congruent stakes in carbon regulation.”
There was great irony in Colvin’s piece. The editor cited government incompetence during Hurricane Katrina compared to companies like FedEx and Wal-Mart, which responded quickly and selflessly to the natural disaster. Yet despite big government’s failure to care for people as quickly and efficiently as the private sector, Colvin praised businesses’ endorsement of bigger government, such as a national health care system.
The Fortune editor did make it clear, however, that while companies “have rebounded in public esteem, CEOs generally have not,” and quoted one expert who said “CEOs [still] seem greedy and bad.”
And that perception isn’t going away any time soon, as long as journalists have their way. ABC’s “Good Morning America” gawked at CEO salaries and called them “staggering” on the May 4 program. “It has us saying, ‘Come on, you must be kidding,’” said co-host Robin Roberts. (Check out Newsbusters for the full record of the latest CEO-bashing exercise.)