Friday, August 27, 2010

American Greed

Can you believe it?  There is a television program on CNBC titled “American Greed.”  I ran across it in the TV listings while searching for something else. 

I could write an entire posting about greed as an American affliction but many have already done that.  Since I focus on communication in this blog, I am more interested in what this program, or its existence, is communicating.

  • First, if one is greedy enough, one will be featured on a television program devoted to the behavior.
  • Second, greed is so prevalent in our society that the producers feel there is an audience for this programming.

Searching for more information, I learned that the program is a six-part series produced by Kurtis Productions.  Bill Kurtis is a Chicago journalism legend and is well-acquainted with political greed.  Now he is focusing on monetary greed. He is undoubtedly fascinated by what drives these people (primarily men) to lie, cheat, and steal their way to fortune and fame.  Since all great societies have suffered from the illness, I am not surprised that we have succumbed but I leave it to the sociologists to analyze why success breeds greed and why great nations ultimately become so avaricious that they create their own downfalls.

The network program directors and the producers of American Greed could claim this program is a deterrent. They might also say they are attempting to understand the behavior. I don’t buy that. All television programming is designed to attract viewers and thereby earn advertising dollars.  Bottom line, they are in for the money.  By itself, that is not a bad thing.  Like any other businesses, television programming provides jobs and income for those associated with it.

However, in a sense, those who produce and air American Greed are as greedy as the men they showcase.  In electing to celebrate the behavior, don’t they condone it and subsequently reward it?

What does that say about them...and those of us who watch? 

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