I'm working on a media/political drama, and while my writing group has largely been giving me positive feedback on the plot, there have been some questions about whether my villain could exist in real life. The character is very well developed as I've had her as a concept for close to a decade (I developed the storyline in college but picked it back up this year) - and her character traits are very central to the storyline. However, a reviewer who I respect has insisted that a person with these traits could never, ever rise to the position in which I have installed her. I would appreciate both second opinions and advice on making the character more readable. So, here is the description: Priscilla Davis is the editor in chief of a major cable news network. She has near-total control of all on-air content, and uses her position to heavily influence the political point of view aired on her channel. She is known for being extremely intimidating, having built her journalistic career specializing in blistering interviews where she ripped the bark off of prominent politicians. She became so popular and effective that she was able to successfully demand her editorial position as part of a contract negotiation, threatening to defect to another network unless she was given control. She maintains power not through producing good content, but with the threats against the people who own the network. While calm and collected on the outside, she secretly harbors a deep-seeded rage at anyone who disagrees with her, and routinely uses closed-door meetings to vent her anger at the reporters who work under her - often screaming and engaging in obscenity-laced tirades. Her use of verbal abuse and intimidation is so severe that several reporters under her (some national celebrities) live in fear of her retaliation, and at least one has become alcoholic to cope with the stress. She purposefully peppers her dialogue with obscenities as a way of intimidating both subordinates and interview subjects (she calls it "softening them up".) Having been raised in a devout Catholic family, she deeply resents her father, who was not abusive per se, but highly discouraged her career ambitions and lavished praise on her sister who became a homemaker. This led her to embrace atheism, radical feminism, and militant leftism as a reaction - to the point where she has become viciously bigoted against Catholics and religion in general. She enforces this rigid view on the network - often deriding those who fail to toe her line as "anti-journalistic" and "not telling the truth". She also routinely makes obscene remarks assuming that all priests a pedophiles and comparing nuns to prostitutes. The issue I ran into was that I was told by a respected reviewer (whose son works at a major news agency) that a news editor can only achieve such high status by bringing the best out in their employees. Hence, it is impossible and unbelievable for me to have such a vicious and unstable person in this role. (After I read a scene where the villain tries to "crack" my heroine-reporter by yelling at her, beating her with a newspaper, threatening to end her career, and calling her a "c***" and a "whore"). I want this villain to believable and readable, but at the same time I don't want to violate the character by making her calmer or less vulgar. She needs to be borderline-violent and mentally ill for my plot to work. And while I actually am offended by the level of foul language she spews, I know that she feels that she needs that language as a crutch - and whenever I just "let her talk" she curses out. So, suggestions welcome. Apologies for the length of post and hope it was coherent.