May 11th, 2012

Kids Are More Than Data Points

By James Steyer
The Atlantic

Fifteen years ago, Ken Auletta wrote a fascinating book called The Highwaymen, which offered a remarkable insider’s view of the various media moguls who were competing for control of the global media and entertainment industries. The book revealed a great deal about their basic psyches and world views. It essentially showed them to have split personalities and to be industry leaders who bifurcated their personal and professional lives.

During his research for the book, Auletta asked a very simple but pointed question to these powerful media and entertainment-industry leaders, “What won’t you do?” What Auletta discovered about such media moguls of that era as Disney’s Michael Eisner, News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch, and GE/NBC’s Jack Welch was that they somehow disassociated what they did at work from what they permitted in their own homes. They would not let their kids watch certain shows or movies at night. Yet by day, their networks and studios would go and make the very same shows and movies that they would not let their own kids watch. These media executives simply didn’t take responsibility for the consequences that their programs and content might have on other people’s children. Their focus on profit trumped all other concerns.

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