Inquiring minds at Variety wanted to know the most recent annual salaries a half dozen of the media realm’s most powerful executives. Here’s what the news organization found, based on proxy statements and reports filed by media companies with the Security and Exchange Commission.
CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves took in $69.3 million in 2017. Simple math with a calculator here at the Inside the Beltway desk reveals that this boils down to $266,538 a day, based on a five-day work week, with no vacation.
Moving right along, Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes received $49 million last year. Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav made $42.2 million; Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., $36.3 million.
“To be fair, the job is fraught with peril. Many of these media chiefs are navigating a rapidly changing world order, one in which movie attendance is slipping in popularity and cable cords are being cut,” write analysts Brent Lang and David Lieberman.”If that’s not enough, there’s a massive wave of consolidation afoot among the traditional media giants, as a way to compete in the direct-to-consumer space with streaming powerhouse Netflix.”
Meanwhile, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer made $35.3 million, Comcast Corp. chairman and CEO Brian Roberts made $32.5 million. Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, made $29.3 million; Netflix chairman and CEO Reed Hastings made $24.4 million, and Bob Bakish, CEO of Viacom, made $20.3 million.
“The story anchoring the editorial package asks: ‘Do media chiefs deserve the lavish pay packages they rake in?’ The obvious answer to that question is: Sorry, it doesn’t matter what you think!” writes Ad Age columnist Simon Dumenco.
STILL WAITING, WAITING, WAITING
It is pretty remarkable that President Trump has forged ahead on his agenda with tangible results — despite some missing personnel.
“The party of obstruction is alive and kicking,” points out Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.
“Democrats continue to undermine this country. They refused to vote for historic tax cut legislation. And they refuse to confirm President Trump’s qualified nominees. Right now, 188 are waiting to be confirmed. On average, it takes 84 days to confirm each one. That’s almost 20 days longer than the previous four presidents. America needs these people on the job, not stuck in the pipeline because of petty partisanship. Democrats continue to work actively against the people they represent,” she told Republican leadership at the recent spring planning meeting of the GOP.
TRUMP TAMES THE MEDIA
He knows just what buttons to push. President Trump recently created plenty of hubbub after threatening in a stray tweet to “take away” press credentials from reporters.
“The press met this obviously inane and idle threat not with an eye roll, but with gasps and whines and cries of alarm. It was an ‘assault on the First Amendment,’ the White House Correspondents Association huffed” writes Matthew Walther, national correspondent for The Week.
“Spare me. Here is the painful truth for the emotional kindergartners who increasingly make up the Washington press corps: Our 45th president was making a joke to rile you up because he thinks it’s hilarious.” Mr. Walther observes.
“But if he did for some reason decide to start denying press credentials to mainstream reporters, he would not be doing anything wrong. Reporters do not have a right to be at the White House. They can say whatever they want in newspapers or magazines or blogs or on the social media platforms of their choice. But the Constitution does not guarantee them the privilege of going to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and posing what are usually pointless bad-faith questions to a put-upon woman whom they make no secret of loathing.”
That is White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, of course.
NASA’S UNEXPECTED HEADLINES
The federal space agency continues to brim with interesting news, perhaps in response to the Trump administration’s new National Space Council, which has called for innovation and robust thinking.
“The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet,” reports NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “NASA has a proud history of firsts. The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling.”
A Texas Republican agrees.
“It’s fitting that the United States of America is the first nation in history to fly the first heavier-than-air craft on another world,” says Rep. John Culberson, a Houston native who believes this wee craft will inspire young people worldwide.
The helicopter itself is small and nimble, weighing in at little under four pounds — with solar cells, lithium-ion batteries and a heater for those “cold Mars nights, NASA says. It’s a real buzzer, too. The copter has with twin, counter-rotating blades going at almost 3,000 rpm — about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth. The only thing missing is a catchy name for the craft, which heads for Mars in July, 2020.
POLL DU JOUR
• 66 percent of the global population say that free market competition “brings out the best in people”; 70 percent of Americans and 55 percent of Russians agree.
• 62 percent believe their outlook on life and opinions “are different from other people”; 66 percent of Americans and 81 percent of Russians agree.
• 52 percent agree that “individual freedom is more important than social justice”; 72 percent of Americans and 53 percent of Russians agree.
• 50 percent overall say at present,”socialist ideals are of great value for societal progress”; 39 percent of Americans and 55 percent of Russians agree.
• 48 percent say socialism “is a system of political oppression”; 61 percent of Americans and 29 percent of Russians agree.
Source: An IPSOS poll 20,793 adults in 28 nations conducted March 3-April 6 and released May 2.
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