Topic: Sports & Entertainment

Fox and Time-Warner: Ethics Polluters

For those who seek confirmation of Ralph Nader’s low opinion of corporate motives and social responsibility, it is only necessary to look to the Fox network, which is a reliable magnet for other companies who place making a buck above any collateral damage to the culture, society, or the nation’s human capital. The latest example is the Fox-Time Warner alliance to produce the televised Teen Choice Awards, a promotional device for Time’s junior version of People Magazine, Teen People. The program, which will air August 11, will be hosted by those lovable stars of Fox’s hit “reality show” The Simple Life, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie.

Or let us put it another way. A show called “Teen Choice,” aimed at the members of our families and society who are in the most vulnerable stages of the transition to responsible adulthood, is glorifying two women who are famous because one or both of them are spoiled, irresponsible, ignorant, sexually promiscuous, immodest, crude, foul-mouthed, lazy, apathetic about anything of substance, narcissistic, self-centered, and none too bright. One, Richie, was once arrested for heroin possession. The other, Hilton, gained her greatest celebrity from a graphic videotape of her engaging in sex. They have revived their reputations, in a manner of speaking, by packaging themselves as comic bimbos. Their reward is to be held up as role models for our teens.

Yes, I know…but there are not a lot of ethicists in their 20s. And if there were, I suspect even they would see the folly of this. Teens will naturally gravitate to rotten role models on their own; it is the responsibility of adults to counter-act that tendency with wisdom and persuasion, not to aid and abet it. Is there one single productive value that Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie represent to make them appropriate celebrity hosts of a teenage program? They do not even have discernable talents. It is not as if other young celebrities are not available in abundance for the job: Aaron Carter, Frankie Muniz, Raven-Simone, Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Scarlet Johansson, Amanda Bynes, Michelle Wie…and not one of them have been arrested for heroin possession.

It is time we paid as much attention to ethics pollution by corporations as we do to environmental pollution. It would be the crowing irony if we achieve a nation with clean air, pure water and green forests, only to have it populated by shallow, self-centered and unethical people. We need to tell Fox and Time-Warner, and the inevitable next corporation that blithely sends out destructive messages to our young, that we notice, that we don’t like it, and that they had better cut it out.

If we don’t, we have only ourselves to blame when our kids turn out like Paris and Nicole, only without the millions of dollars, the agents, and the TVshow. That is to say, losers.

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