What If We Paid Network Anchors the Same As We Paid Other Reporters?


Eric Alterman has a good question, in light of recent reports of huge staff cuts at CBS News and ABC News that have drawn attention to the giant salaries of their marquee personalities.

I have an idea. Imagine a world in which evening anchors, morning hosts (and even network news division presidents) were paid like journalists instead of hedge-fund managers. How many "resources" would that free up to invest in genuine news-gathering operations? Veteran print editors and reporters at places like the Times and The New Yorker manage to feed and clothe their families without costing their companies a million bucks a month, and they produce a great deal more valuable reporting and analysis than the network news stars do. So, too, do the folks at PBS and NPR. Would any sane person argue that the work of Bill Moyers or Terry Gross is somehow inferior to that of their network counterparts?

There is a difference between the cults of personality that follow a telegenic host like Diane Sawyer and, say, a talented editor like David Remnick, who doesn't have nearly the name recognition or brand loyalty. Diane's worth a lot, to be sure. But what would really happen if she was paid a salary that didn't dwarf that of several dozen of her colleagues put together?

Money for Nothing [Nation]