The New York Times continued the left’s efforts to pit the haves against the have-nots with a business section cover story complaining about CEO pay.
Times reporter Peter Eavis credited the “solid economy” for improving corporate bottom lines, implying that CEOs did not deserve the rising compensation packages they’re getting.
His story and accompanying data on executives’ compensation was published May 26, placed prominently above the fold of the Sunday Business section where it took up more than half the page and three additional, inside pages. That’s some serious newspaper real estate devoted to class warfare complaints.
Yet, the Associated Press noted that compensation is often tied to stock prices and the markets are “still near record levels,” which could explain some of the recent increases.
Even while describing 2018 as “a pretty good year for the labor market,” Eavis complained that CEO pay rose at “almost twice the rate of ordinary wages” despite recent Congressional efforts to “restrain” it.
He cited new data from Equilar, an executive compensation consulting firm, that ranked 200 public companies by the total pay of their current CEOs. It calculated percentage changes in compensation between 2017 and 2018, each company’s median employee pay, as well as the ratio of CEO to median employee pay.
The conclusions he drew were that CEOs are “paid regardless of logic,” “paid extra to do the basics,” paid even if tainted by scandal, “often get paid more than companies say,” and are “paid to invest in their companies.”
If the Times is going to complain about CEO pay as some kind of unfairness, it should take care to highlight its own industry’s behavior.
But Eavis reserved most of his criticism for CEOs outside the media industry, calling out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for earning a “$2.3 billion carrot” as part of his goal to reach a market value of $650 billion for his company. In addition, he chastised Palo Alto Networks CEO Nikesh Arora for earning a package valued at $125,068,836 after investing $20 million in company stocks.
He also directed criticism at T-Mobile’s John J. Legere, Oracle’s Safra A. Catz, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, Disney’s Bob Iger and some others.
Iger was one of the only media executives singled out for criticism. At least seven other media companies were on Equilar’s list. Another media CEO outearned Iger and was mentioned, but Discovery was identified in the story as an “entertainment company,” rather than media or entertainment media company.
The Times story did note that Discovery CEO David M. Zaslav earned $129.5 million in 2018, and ranked second highest, just behind Musk (five spots higher than Iger). Later in the story, Zaslav was mentioned for failing to get all of a $145 million payout in 2014, for not meeting the required performance metrics.
Equilar’s extensive list of companies and executives’ payouts also included James R. Murdoch of Twenty-First Century Fox, Reed Hastings of Netflix, Brian L. Roberts of Comcast, Joseph R. Ianniello of CBS, Robert M. Bakish of Viacom and Gregory B. Maffei of Liberty Media Corporation.
The liberal media is often hypocritical on the matter of CEO pay, since some of the highest paid CEOs were in that industry. In 2015, six of the 10 highest paid CEOs were in media companies including CEOs of the broadcast networks. But ABC, CBS and NBC did not bash their own bosses for excessive pay compared to the rank and file back then.
In 2016, when the liberal media and politicians were complaining about how much CEOs were being paid it turned out that executives in academia made more on average than CEOs according to The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.