THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2022
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.