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Well, about "infotainment" that passes for news these days, anyway, and how we wound up where we're at economically:

(Howard) Kurtz: "I don’t fully know. Katie Couric may make $15 million a year, but she grew up in a middle-class family in Arlington. Brian Williams was once a volunteer fireman. Dan Rather graduated from Sam Houston State College. And it’s not just the anchors—the opinion guys, O’Reilly, Rush, Olbermann, Matthews and the like, make millions each year. Does that mean their values change, that they’re automatically out of touch? In some cases, perhaps, but I don’t think that’s universally true."

OK, seriously now - do you really think that someone who makes millions of dollars a year really has any connection with the life that you or I live?

The point of that article is that what top network news anchors are paid exceeds the entire budget for NPR's news shows 'All Things Considered' and 'Morning Edition'.  Together.  And it is a good point:

While doing some recent research on the news business, I came upon this remarkable fact: Katie Couric’s annual salary is more than the entire annual budgets of NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered combined. Couric’s salary comes to an estimated $15 million a year; NPR spends $6 million a year on its morning show and $5 million on its afternoon one. NPR has seventeen foreign bureaus (which costs it another $9.4 million a year); CBS has twelve. Few figures, I think, better capture the absurd financial structure of the network news.

But that quote from Howard Kurtz is what really got my attention.  While I think that the network anchors are probably paid according to the perceived value they bring their network (or, more accurately, the Corporation which owns the network), I just cannot buy the idea that their values and life have much of anything to do with anyone who works for a measly $25k or $50k or even $100k a year.  Sorry, I just don't believe that.  And I think the same is true for Hedge Fund Managers, Congresscritters, CEOs of large corporations, Megachurch Preachers, et cetera.  Sorry, but they can no more understand my life than I can understand the life of a third-world beggar.  That these people are 'in charge' tells you all that you need to know about why things are the way they are.

Jim Downey

(Cross posted to UTI.)

Originally posted to Shadan7 on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 07:57 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's similar to fox news reporting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, snakelass

    http://coonsey.wordpress.com/

    by coonsey on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:02:01 AM PDT

  •  I Do Not Believe One Must Abandon Empathy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, snakelass, DocGonzo, gramofsam1

    ...when they receive prosperity, if that's what you're asking.

    Between Morning Edition and All Things Considered, I'd say NPR has a worse reputation here at DailyKos than Couric and Rather in spite of being paid less.

    I also don't think Hannity, O'Reilly, and Limbaugh were ever NOT assholes, so I don't think "the money" changed them either.

    Free Beer, Hot Wings, Eric Zane, Producer Joe, and Steve For President. OK Not Steve, but he can be chauffer or something.

    by TooFolkGR on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:07:45 AM PDT

    •  Don't buy it. (4+ / 0-)

      Between Morning Edition and All Things Considered, I'd say NPR has a worse reputation here at DailyKos than Couric and Rather in spite of being paid less.

      Do you really think so?  Sure, they get bashed (and deservedly), but the level of reporting is far superior to what the networks do.  

      Read or *listen to* my SF novel for free. (-7.13/-7.33)

      by Shadan7 on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:11:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Really Do Think So (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shadan7

        It's 100% anecodtal, but I have seen WAY more diaries SOLELY DEDICATED to writing off NPR as a right wing shill than I ever have about Couric or Rather combined.

        Free Beer, Hot Wings, Eric Zane, Producer Joe, and Steve For President. OK Not Steve, but he can be chauffer or something.

        by TooFolkGR on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:14:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let Me Clarify (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shadan7

          I don't AGREE with them.  I quite like NPR myself.  I'm just talking about reputation wise in this community.

          Free Beer, Hot Wings, Eric Zane, Producer Joe, and Steve For President. OK Not Steve, but he can be chauffer or something.

          by TooFolkGR on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:14:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Disappointment vs Expectations (4+ / 0-)

          I think that even if your perception of how often each of those media outlets are represented in diaries complaining of their rightwing bias is accurate, it's not a measure of the actual ranking of those outlets in rightwing bias.

          Many more people expect the corporate news to be rightwing biased than we expect NPR to be rightwing biased. So seeing even lower levels of bias from NPR will generate more and whinier complaints. The two kinds of news outlets don't start from the same baseline expectations. And the defiance of each one's respective expectation is what generates the complaining diaries.

          "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

          by DocGonzo on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:20:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Expectations? (4+ / 0-)

        I think it might be a matter of expectations.

        We expect BillO to act like a child bully.

        We expect CNN to rush towards the controversy, not the facts.

        We expect NPR to be fair and factually-based.

        I think it is an expectations thing more than anything else.

        It is curious to see the periodical disuse and perishing of means and machinery, which were introduced with loud laudation a few years or centuries before. -RWE

        by Gravedugger on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:20:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  "the value they bring their network" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, snakelass, luckylizard

    Couric's choice of short skirts while hosting the Today Show has led to her legs being one of the most widely identified aspects of her on-screen persona as well as the subject of many commentaries and tabloid web sites.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

  •  Generally, I agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7

    but there may be some exceptions.

    Ted Kennedy
    Tim Russert
    Barack Obama

  •  Empathy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, snakelass, VClib

    Sorry, but they can no more understand my life than I can understand the life of a third-world beggar.

    I can understand the life of a third-world beggar, even though I'm not one. I have spent time among third-world beggars, and have even tried begging myself (though it was voluntary and very temporary, which is of course a world of difference). But I am capable of understanding the lives of others that are vastly different from my own. Because I have empathy, and at least a little direct experience of the other.

    I don't know if Couric has that, and the other anchors cited didn't necessarily stay rooted in their once humble stations. But it is certainly possible. That's the central part of the human condition: the empathy for others. Corporate spokesmodels do tend to be promoted more the less they're held back by empathy. But that's their own fault. And not having anything like limitless empathy myself, I can relate. Even if I don't make $15M a year.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:15:36 AM PDT

  •  That's kurtz. He's just doing his job (5+ / 0-)

    His job is NOT media criticism (except for criticizing Olbermann and other figures on the left). His job is to build up their reputations, defend them when necessary and defend the honor of the Village media against unfair accusations of bending over for the RW, with a side job of legitimizing the RW rageosphere.  To do these jobs he writes hagiographies of RW figures like hume, malkin and morrisey along with corporate tools like williams and couric and occasionally writing stories about LW bloggers that make them seem insane, like the one he did about Maryscott O'Connor.  He's just doing what the Village expects.

    A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

    by dougymi on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:19:36 AM PDT

  •  TAX 'EM (7+ / 0-)

    Back in the horrible 50s and 60s, incomes like these were taxed at 70% to 90%.  Taxation was so burdensome back then that all we could do was build the Interstate Highway System, establish the Marshall Plan, Medicare, the Great Society, cure polio, fight the Cold War, a few trifles like that.  Limbaugh's values didn't change when he got rich.  He ALWAYS wanted to get rich.

  •   Noam Chomsky makes millions beacause of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7, snakelass, dewley notid

    the sale of his books. His values have not changed and he is still connected or think that he is connected to the folks.

    Don't give a damn a/t each & every politician currently alive in the US. Last time i voted for the top part of the ballot was 1972. Never missed SB election

    by Mutual Assured Destruction on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 08:37:31 AM PDT

  •  The music world confirms this lesson (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shadan7

    How many artists do you know who, after releasing a brilliant album and rocketing to riches, continue to write the same great stuff?

    As Cindy Lauper wryly sang:

    "Money changes everything"

    And she is but one example.

    The thought that millions don't influence commentators is ludicrous.

    Millions influences everything.

    "And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." -JFK

    by RyanBTC on Thu Sep 24, 2009 at 09:12:29 AM PDT

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