Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Should Criminals Host TV Shows?


Criminal record checks have become all too common as part of the hiring process. Employers want to know that you won’t steal their pencils.

But in some jobs, a criminal record check really does prevent problems for both employer and employee down the road.

Last thing a major television network wants, is to have it’s top rated morning show host taken away in handcuffs.

But if you’ve done the time for your crime, should you be allowed on television?

Television’s perfect home body, Martha Stewart is back on the TV, after doing time for securities fraud.

In Canada, media baron Conrad Black may be following the home body’s lead, as there is talk that he may get his own talk show on a cable channel available across the nation.

Conrad Black served time for fraud as well, just a different kind. His was to do with his newspaper empire, and made headlines in some of those papers, as he continued to write columns while in prison.
Now he may be on the airwaves, broadcasting his thoughts on television.

Which raises the question – should convicted criminals be hosting television shows?

We all make mistakes, and both Stewart and Black have paid for those mistakes by serving out their criminal sentences in prison.

But millions of people are denied even the most entry level of jobs, because of their criminal past.

Such as the teenage mom, that can’t get a job working in a retail store, because her criminal background check shows she was charged with theft. What it doesn’t show is she stole a loaf of bread to feed her kid.

There are other reasons why criminals don’t usually get put on the tube. The last thing any network president wants, is to turn on his station, to see someone telling the world how to break the law.

It’s unlikely Black or Stewart would publicly tell others to do something illegal. But the possibility is always there.
And our television personalities are role models for us all. We get hooked on their energy and drive, and often mimic them.

So putting criminals on television is bad for our kids, and ourselves.

Do we want others to follow Lance Armstrong?

Before the cyclist came forward with confessions of “doping” while competing he was a role model to many.

Now that he’s come out and spoken publicly about his drug-laden past, he’s on television even more – explaining himself and what he did.

Fair enough, television does provide a forum for public debate, and all sides should be allowed to participate.

But if someone were to offer Armstrong his own television show, I’d question that person’s motives.

And you should too.

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