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'World News' Cites Anti-Corporate Flicks in Banking Report

     All three broadcast networks have reported on the banking crisis that is threatening the stability of financial markets and the overall economy. But on September 22, the ABC “World News with Charles Gibson” used the crisis to take a swipe at the wealthy.

 

     “In just six months, five major investment banks have now vanished from the landscape, ending an era of aggressive deal making and spectacular profits,” Stark said. “These masters of the universe immortalized by Hollywood have been humbled.”

 

     The two movie examples Stark used in her report –“The Bonfire of the Vanities” from 1990 and “Wall Street” from 1987 – portrayed businessmen as greedy and immoral.

 

     Charles Geisst, author of “Wall Street: A History: From Its Beginnings to the Fall of Enron,” backed up Stark’s claim, adding his analysis that this was the end of the so-called excesses of Wall Street.

 

     “I think the new Wall Street is going to be a little less gilt-edged and a little bit more dressed in everyday wool,” Geisst said. “Driving around in your Ferrari with an expensive $100 cigar in your mouth is probably going to become a symbol of excess rather than wealth.”

 

     Geisst predicted nearly a year ago on “CBS Evening News” that the U.S. economy would have suffered a recession by now, but it has avoided meeting the traditional definition of recession: two consecutive quarters of economic contraction. That’s the definition all three broadcast networks have used.

 

      “It’s telling us if history is of any use to us at all, that we're probably facing a recession within the next – within the next year, if not sooner,” Geisst said on the Oct. 28, 2007, “Evening News.”

 

     A year-long study by the Business & Media Institute, “Bad Company III,” showed positive coverage of business leaders was uncommon in the news media. News outlets showed businessmen as criminals one-and-a-half times more often than they did as philanthropists.

 

     The 2006 BMI report “Bad Company II” outlined Hollywood’s hostility toward businessmen and free enterprise. Half of the year’s top Academy Award-nominated pictures portrayed businessmen negatively. Only one major character out of more than 70 across all 16 movies was depicted as successful and ethical while actively engaged in business. The movies included attacks on the oil, mining and pharmaceutical industries.