How much was Chris Cuomo being paid?


Two very rare reports: CNN has been going through its latest very bad time. 

A few weeks back, Chris Cuomo got fired from his anchor post. Now, as of this week, CNN's two top executives are also gone, long gone.

We'll call attention to one apparent effect of the canning of Cuomo. We've now seen two (2) news reports describing how much he was paid!

For whatever reason, mainstream news orgs rarely discuss how much such people get paid. Yesterday, the New York Times offered this somewhat fuzzy assessment as part of a front-page report:

STEEL ET AL (2/16/22): Mr. Cuomo’s combative style made him an ideal on-air foil for President Trump. “Cuomo Prime Time” quickly became CNN’s highest-rated show. The success only strengthened Mr. Cuomo’s bond with Mr. Zucker.

After Mr. Zucker underwent heart surgery in 2018, he and Mr. Cuomo spent hours talking during long walks in Central Park.

Mr. Zucker soon signed off on a multiyear contract that paid Mr. Cuomo more than $6 million annually.

We can't say that we would have described Cuomo's style as "combative." But according to the Times, he was being paid more than $6 million per year.

How much more was he being paid? We have no idea. But two weeks ago, the Washington Post said this:

BARR (2/3/22): Cuomo’s legal team made moves to attempt to recoup some of the money he would have earned had CNN not fired him; the anchor made a reported $8 million a year and had a few years left on his contract, according to sources with knowledge of his tenure. 

According to sources, Cuomo made a reported $8 million per year. There's a double disclaimer lurking there, but the Post was willing to place Cuomo's salary at that particular level.

Presumably as a form of professional courtesy, mainstream news orgs almost never discuss how much these people get paid. We're told what a back-up second baseman or an NFL coach gets paid, but we aren't encouraged to think about the pay which gets dished to our giant "cable news" stars. 

Is it really a good idea to pay journalists that much? Long ago and far away, we offered the following framework: 

You can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps.

People will do a lot of things to hang onto jobs like that. In fact, people will do a lot of things to hang onto jobs which pay less.

To see the results of this basic fact, just watch MSNBC tonight. The playlist you encounter will go very much like this:

Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Giuliani

That particular product line has been selling well for years. (Included is the nightly suggestion that he'll soon be frog-marched away.) Presumably, we're handed that astoundingly tedious product line because it sells so well. 

We'll now offer a terrible guess—it also loses elections. But "cable news" is profit based and, for those who can get you to watch, the pay days can be rather large. 


  1. "CNN has been going through its latest very bad time. "

    How sad. Please excuse us, dear Bob, while we go cry ourselves to sleep.

    "the anchor made a reported $8 million a year"

    Who cares, dear Bob. Your liberal-hitlerian cult's sponsors -- global banksters and currency speculators -- have all the dough in the world.

    But, luckily for the normal ordinary humyn beings, money doesn't always decide everything. You can pay your media dembots $8 billion/year each, but only brain-dead liberals will watch them anyhow.

  2. "Presumably as a form of professional courtesy, mainstream news orgs almost never discuss how much these people get paid."

    This is contradicted by the reports Somerby himself cites. But I also recall Somerby griping about how much Rachel Maddow gets paid, and Chris Matthews before that. And how much the ESPN female reporters were paid during that recent conflict Somerby discussed, drawing upon news reports that included salaries.

    Somerby says that presumably there is professional courtesy involved. Is that the same thing as privacy? Or is it because most business organizations do not want their employees to compare salaries and begin asking for raises?

    Somerby hasn't spent much time working for that type of organization, so he may not know how such things work for those who are employees or large corporations.

  3. "Is it really a good idea to pay journalists that much?"

    It is something of a courtesy to call Chris Cuomo a "journalist" instead of an on-air entertainer. Behind the scenes, the talking heads are referred to as the talent. They don't do the investigation or writing that actual journalists do. They are highly paid because they are celebrities with charisma. Somerby needs to rewatch the film Broadcast News.

  4. "To see the results of this basic fact, just watch MSNBC tonight. The playlist you encounter will go very much like this:

    Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Giuliani"

    Somerby liked this bit so well that he cut and pasted it here from his previous essay.

    Somerby pretends that the same people are talking about the same topics over and over on different stations and in different time slots. I doubt that is true, but if it were, what would be bad about that? It would ensure that people heard the news regardless of which channel they chose to watch. What's wrong with that? It isn't as though there aren't alternative sources of information, niche publications to address specialized interests, divergent opinion all over the place. A news channel should present the same news as other news channels, if they are all covering the news properly, I think.

    And isn't it Somerby who complains when the NY Times includes a broad variety of topics in its front and inside pages, covering stuff like fashion, human interest, sociology, and pop culture? Why would this bother him in print but not on TV?

    This is a specious criticism. Any criticism will do in a pinch, and who cares whether it is justified or not, as long as the tone is negative and he gets to knock CNN.

    The only thing that confuses me is why he isn't defending Chris Cuomo and Zucker. These are, after all, men who were pulled down by accusations by women. That's the kind of thing that Somerby generally can't resist talking about here. It would be confusing for him to both complain about Cuomo's salary while defending his right to assault women, so he perhaps had to decide which was a greater priority for him, defending men or attacking the media.

    1. “ You can't run a middle-class democracy with a multimillionaire press corps.”

      This key point was presented in light italics, so perhaps that the reason it’s been completely overlooked.

    2. The press corps includes a lot more people than just on-air cable news readers (hosts). The rank and file do not make millions. They make salaries equivalent to people with college degrees in the areas in which they work -- more in New York and San Francisco, less in the midwest and areas of the country with a lower cost of living.

      In Denver, where I live, the average salary for a reporter is $25-60k/yr on and $26-65k on ziprecruiter. That is equivalent to what teachers make. The average salary for a Washington correspondent is $78k/yr.

      We do not have a multimillionaire press corps. We have a few multimillionaire news hosts/celebrities who are highly paid as on-air talent, and a lot of average salaries supporting what they read on screen.

    3. Within the media, tv news has an outsized reach and millionaire hosts who exercise control over the content of their shows.

      Bob’s point is relevant in that news is now a niche product. That will not change.

    4. The corporations have more of an influence over the content of their shows than the hosts do. Hosts are more concerned about maintaining their ratings, which means paying attention to the show-biz elements of their performance, not the political content of their reporting.

      Somerby doesn't know what he is talking about. He is trying to say something that will influence liberals, such as that the wealthy are controlling our information because hosts are highly paid. It sounds consistent with what he calls narrative or storyline based on a caricature of liberal thought, but liberals aren't that dumb and don't think that all wealthy people are necessarily corrupt. Millionaires fund important political and social progress intitiatives on the left, just as different millionaires fund what the right is doing.

      How many "millionaire hosts" have control over the content of their shows? I'll bet you have no idea. Neither does Somerby.

    5. Oh, it’s the corporate millionaires who have total control. They merely wind up Jake Tapper like a player piano.

      Pay him big for it too, but then they’re selling the hot cakes, so they can. Jake’s in the money as long as the keys don’t get stuck.

      We can rest easy with your formulation. So different and far more reassuring than Bob’s pessimism.

    6. They are too busy living their lives and taking care of their money to micro-manage a news station.

    7. Micro-managing news orgs is taking care of their money, influence, and power.

    8. Actually, that is what they hire other people to do.

    9. They hire a lot of people to help with a lot of things, including cooking. They’re still involved in what we get to see and hear.

    10. The only thing that confuses me is why he isn't defending Chris Cuomo and Zucker. These are, after all, men who were pulled down by accusations by women.

      You are confusing Chris Cuomo with former Governor Andrew Cuomo.

    11. "You are confusing Chris Cuomo with former Governor Andrew Cuomo."

      Yeah, but to be fair, Andrew Mario's Son Cuomo obviously fabricated that pathetic little 'sex scandal' (ignored by the liberal NY AG, of course) to avoid being held accountable for killing tens of thousands of people in NY nursing homes.

    12. Both Cuomo boys have been accused of being goose-goose ganders.

  5. So does CNN pay MORE than Fox? I imagine we can all guess that would be a "no." Has it been about forty years since 60 Minutes proved "news," properly packaged, could be a big money maker? Most junior high students of media affairs could investigate and get to yes pretty quickly.
    So thanks for the scoop Bob. I am going to check out if the sky is blue or has any clouds in it.

  6. And as long as I'm here..... When Bob stopped asking for donations, it was around the same time he was "repurposed" and stopped looking at ring wing outlets almost completely, an odd approach for someone claiming to take a dispassionate look at the Press Corps. Hmmm..... -Greg

    1. And he has a "deep hatred for immigrants".

    2. Ha. Hello Bob.

    3. Hello. I've been reading comments all along, that's right.

      Now that I'm busted I'll probably just have to shut down the blog out of embarrassment.

    4. Please, regular readers know you are beyond embarrassment.

  7. Someone told me a rumor that big pharma wants more variants because they'll make more money. I haven't seen proof of that yet (it's possible there is) but it does fill a gap of information. When you don't tell people what's happening, say with patent fights, they just guess what the truth is.

    And that's how you get...

    1. It's tough to argue that fine line between capitalists causing death and capitalists wanting death.

  8. If Trump was Putin's bitch, why didn't he do this Ukraine invasion when Trump was president?

    1. When did he invade Ukraine? You're starting from a false premise.

    2. Same premise - why didn't Putin threaten to invade Ukraine as he is (is he not?) when Trump was his bitch and president??? WHY????

    3. Because Trump was already doing what he could to undermine NATO.

      Putin invaded Crimea, which was part of Ukraine at the time. That was before Trump was elected.

    4. You should write more clearly if you want people to listen to you. Tearing people down might make you feel better but it's not giving anyone direction in their fight.

    5. If you don't know who is fighting you, it's the rich. They spend your money on war, boats and hookers. They own the radio and tv news. That's everyone's fight.

    6. Duh. That's why the stupidest most ineffective thing you can do is demonize Trump voters as all being bigots since we are in confederacy with them in the fight you described which is the only fight.

    7. Around these comment sections all Trump voters, all Republicans in their entirety are bigots and any econom ic complaints they may have are actually laughed at and made fun of. Liberal propagandists put an idea in their head that any kind of economic complaints are strange and out of the question. All this while people who used to be in the middle class are living in their cars.

    8. "...people who used to be in the middle class are living in their cars."

      Thanks Reagan.

  9. “We'll now offer a terrible guess—it also loses elections.”

    Meanwhile at Fox News: Hillary Hillary Hillary Obama Pelosi Biden Hillary Hillary

    Does that also lose elections?

    Does either one win (some) elections?

    Or does this criticism only apply to msnbc? (Please, no one mention Rupert Murdoch).

    What would a middle-class press corps report on? Not Trump?

    Who would guarantee that they would remain middle class? In a free market, the good reporters would be snatched up by competing news outlets for higher pay.

    Is that necessarily a bad thing?

    As another commenter pointed out, most journalists make very little money. Just the handful of TV presenters and perhaps a few at the NYT are highly paid.

    Somerby doesn’t pay attention to any press except the “elite” press, so how would he know what middle class journalists are covering?

    Is Al Gore still a valid liberal, despite his wealth? Or is Somerby using the old conservative line, attempting to shame liberals by implying that a rich liberal is a hypocrite? Or is it that only journalists must remain middle class, struggling to pay their mortgages or rents, which I hear in NYC are quite high.

  10. Perhaps the NYT should hire homeless people to report on the homeless.
    Don’t pay them anything, though.

    We wouldn’t want them to earn enough to have a home. Once you become middle class, with a house or apartment, you no longer know nor care what it was like to be poor and homeless.

    1. The middle class employees of the media industry deeply about homelessness.

      Not quite so much for the owner of the diner down the street.

    2. The middle class employees of the media industry are given assignments by their editors about what to write about. Whatever they care about, they don't have free rein to pick their stories, especially at large media organizations.

      Why wouldn't the media care about the owners of diners? In fact, I see no evidence supporting your belief that small business has been neglected in the media.

      If you feel like you have seen more written about homelessness, consider this. The homeless inconvenience other residents of cities much more than small businesses do. Homelessness is a problem for both the homeless person but also for those who live in cities and encounter them daily. A small business problem affects only the owner of that business, its few employees and its few customers. A failing diner has less impact on anyone's quality of life than a homeless encampment does.

      The National Restaurant Association estimates that the failure rate for restaurants is 30% and the median lifespan of a restaurant is 4.5 years. We are used to them going out of business, even before covid.

      There is such a thing as the National Restaurant Association. Who speaks for homeless people? What is the relative impact of someone interviewed who runs a diner compared to someone who is homeless in the news?

      These casual quips of yours may seem to make sense, but when you examine them closely, they do not.

    3. Can you quote where I said that no one should care about the homeless or that their status is not as important as that of small business owners.

      You made a comparison as to the importance of those two subsets of citizens. Not me.

    4. As to my quips, Anonymouse 9:20am, it is completely predictable that you seem to have had no clue of mh’s sarcasm that generated my response.

    5. Your phrase "not quite so much" makes the comparison between the caring of the media about homelessness versus diner owners:

      "The middle class employees of the media industry deeply about homelessness.

      Not quite so much for the owner of the diner down the street."

      For example:

      There is a lot of ice cream in this bowl.

      Not quite so much in this other bowl.

    6. Anonymouse 11:34am, when did global enterprise stop being a capitalist endeavor? Liberals don’t hate it all!

    7. Right, Cecelia. Another amusing bullshit quip.

      Yes, of course in your fractured historical understanding of globalization, liberals are the ones leading the charge towards globalization.

      Here, for example, is leading liberal economist, Milton Friedman discussing it.

      Or how about, let's all listen to the well known Marxist, William F Buckley debate NAFTA.

      You really are an idiot, Cecelia.

    8. Any videos of ancient Rome economists, dear dembot?

      ...and as for NAFTA, could you please quote any liberals (Lord thy God Soros, perhaps?) praising The Commander for re-negotiating it? For imposing tariffs on imports from China, from Europe? Any thoughts on the 'Trans-Pacific Partnership', perhaps?

      Please, feel free.

    9. "The Commander", LOL
      You really are a little Nazi, aren't you.
      the orange abomination's tariffs hurt the US economy, jackass.

    10. Anonymouse 3:34 pm, scroll up. I only mentioned a slew of conservative publications that champion globalization.

      One of them being the one William F. Buckley founded.

  11. " Or is Somerby using the old conservative line, attempting to shame liberals by implying that a rich liberal is a hypocrite?"

    Meh. It's actually the opposite.

    A typical liberal -- miserable pencil-pusher who has never seen a single day of honest labor in their entire life -- is a so-so liberal.

    While George Soros, the billionaire, currency speculator, and owner of a major hedge fund, is the model liberal.

    Didn't you know, dear mh?

    ...oh, and as for Al Gore (sorry, dear Bob), whose estimated net worth is $330 million from (according to Michael Moore) burning forests as 'biofuel', he must be real close to model liberal too...


  12. The”handful” who make great money are the most influential.

    They are seen daily on tv. Their remarks, essays, reporting, tv moments, are linked all over the internet.

    Small city media is waning. The regional and class differences, and the social and philosophical imperatives of the national media industry are as pertinent to the middle class workers in their career aspirations as they are to Rachel Maddow.

    There are class and regional trends among the profession that contribute to a tribal mentality in the ENTIRE profession.

    When blogboard sages argue that it’s corporate and therefore “conservative” ideology that’s being pushed, they do it by claiming that the red state middle and working classes are composed of white supremacists who are hell bent on protecting their privilege while they simultaneously support the globalist aspersions of corporate America.

    That’s bunk.

    The argument that middle class news industry employees, while obviously being more advanced than red state folks, are still a mediating local and middle class influence in the high dollar industry is bunk all around.

    Somerby is right to be concerned about the influence of millionaire media hosts, and their board room bosses.

    Where he’s wrong is in thinking that we can ever again have responsible corporate honchos who along with their talent, were gate keepers in protecting an American public that it, at least, pretended to respect because this was their own cultural expectation.

    That culture, largely a narrative, but truer of their ranks then due to the ethos and realities of the time, went out with the advent of technology that has made everything possible.

    These possibilities. The new potential of greed and power in a speed of light world were pushed night and day by National Review, Weekly Standard, the American Spectator, the Heritage Foundation. while liberals were winning the culture war in fighting for an abandonment of traditional mores and the fostering of any sort of group grievance that could be parlayed into power.

    These two forces are in bed with each other now. Liberals embrace corporatist capitalists, corporatists embrace wokeness, politicians of both parties embrace them all and the joys of China’s billion pop market and slave labor force.

    They are joined at the hip. They are the political and social establishment. The inseparable Bushes and Obamas. The FBI and the ACLU. Prestigious private schools and public school boards.

    The leader class and the public expectation that they be predisposed towards national duty and responsibility is gone.

    It’s a mix of millionaires, billionaires, social justice visionaries, neocons, hipsters and fiery working class liberals on blog boards, awaiting their grinding shift at Jeff Bezo’s place. Later tonight, it’s Don Lemon on CNN.

    It’s power. It’s instantaneousness.

    The old liberals and the old patrons are all dead or amalgamated.

    Sorry about this, Bob, but please don’t stop talking.

  13. I'd vote for any politician (even Trump) if they let me over rule corporate boardrooms.

  14. @8:28 am -- that's a coherent statement, but I don't believe Cecelia wrote it. Where did you crib it from? It is customary to cite your source, otherwise you are plagiarizing.

  15. “ Your phrase "not quite so much" makes the comparison between the caring of the media about homelessness versus diner owners”

    I said it, then you illustrated it.

    You went off to races with specious comparisons as summed up in this clueless statement:

    “A small business problem affects only the owner of that business, its few employees and its few customers.”

    You did not mention the families and extended families who earn a living building small businesses.

    What about the employees who work for a salary at small businesses? That revenue is then used to support other small business. Other families.

    The money that small businesses pay to other businesses such as vendors and consultants, which helps their employees and their families families.

    And finally, the taxes that are generated by these incomes foot the bill for current government programs and any that you might champion for the homeless.

    You could be a media member. Or…just a liberal.

  16. I wrote it, Anonymouse 9:10am. I wrote it to an imaginary Bob who reads the comments.

    Not to you.

  17. 1) Bob’s uter disinterest in the election steal illustrates that he is an unserious person, more so than we ever could have guess even four years ago.
    Yes, obviously big money is a problem in our politics and our political media. Fox News lost money for years, but it had the capital to keep going until America’s simple minded could get hooked. Fox pays HUGE salaries. Bob doesn’t care about that.