Any real debate about executive pay is bound to be a charged issue, and misleading information abounds on such points, but to clear up a few misleading points I will venture to the precipice and risk plunging into the abyss of punditry and rhetoric that waits below. With not a great amount of research one can attempt to compare apples to apples rather than grapes. I will not attempt to refute the pay packages of the stars, or talent as they are considered by some. I rarely ever watch TV and have no reason to obsess over entertainers.
Matt Lauer, NBC $21.5 million
Kelly Ripa, ABC $20 million
Sean Hannity, Fox $15 million
Bill Oâ€™Reilly, Fox $15 million
Brian Williams, NBC $13 million
Diane Sawyer, ABC $12 million
Anderson Cooper, CNN $11 million
Shepard Smith, Fox $10 million
Charlie Rose, CBS $8 million
Al Roker, NBC $7 million
Robin Roberts, ABC $6 million
Piers Morgan, CNN $6 million
Scott Pelley, CBS News $5 million
George Stephanopoulos, ABC $5 million
Chris Matthews, MSNBC $5 million
Joe Scarborough, MSNBC $4 million
Wolf Blitzer, CNN $3 million
However I think it bears out that if the excesses are paid to the personalities we should also judge by the industry such as TV network CEO pay rather than the pay of a small corporations CEO. So very quickly letâ€™s look at a few:
CBS: Leslie Moonves. Moonvesâ€™ $69.9M compensation, a 21% raise, made him the industryâ€™s top paid exec.
Discovery Communications: David Zaslav. Zaslav made $52.4M last year
Time Warner Cable: Glenn Britt. He made $16.4M, a 5.7% drop from 2010.
Disney: Robert Iger. CEO Igerâ€™s compensation was up 12.9% to $33.4M.
Viacom: Philippe Dauman. Last yearâ€™s $84.5M man had to settle for a mere $43.1M in 2011
Among other big paydays:
â€˘Apple’s (AAPL) Tim Cook â€” $378 million, including $376 million in restricted stock after replacing the late Steve Jobs.
â€˘Qualcomm’s (QCOM) Paul Jacobs â€” $50.6 million, including $28.9 million from stock options.
â€˘Tyco International’s (TYC) Ed Breen â€” $68.9 million, including stock and option gains worth $52.4 million.
â€˘J.C. Penney’s (JCP) Ron Johnson â€” $51.5 million, including $50 million in restricted shares after signing on in November.
â€śAh, CEO payâ€¦ that populist pander that, for the news media, rings in every election cycle. But, while the networks are in overdrive telling us that â€śmillionaire CEOs,â€ť are exploiting the masses. But have they looked around their own newsrooms?â€ť
â€śThe percentage of CEOs who will make up to eight million in the next year? Less than 1%. According to published reports (Salary.com; CelebrityNetWorth.com; Forbes magazine; and Equilar executive compensation specialists) the median expected salary for a typical CEO in the United States is $706,600.â€ť
But in fact the debate has been about the 1%. No one has questioned the 37th percentileâ€™s pay scale many of the CEOâ€™s of small corporations are paid in line with the average workers not 300 times more. To promote open and honest discourse the facts should be made clear and discussed in an unemotional and transparent way. Many of the problems our nation now suffers from stem from vested interests who muddle the waters, and inflame the discourse with half-truth and self-serving rendition. People cling to the comforting myth, long after its service is gone.
The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments. Henry Clay (14 March 1834).
Humans tend to always build their next unassailable fortress upon the ruins of the last unassailable fortress, crushed into dust and rubble under the weight of reality, abuses and expediency of the times.
“People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid.”
– Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)