Saturday, May 23, 2009

Leftist Media Bias of the Day

March 17, 2009, Chicago Tribune editorial:
Money for nothing?

Last fall, the American International Group Inc. took heat for a $440,000 weekend bash that it threw for its top performers at the posh St. Regis resort, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But that was just chump change compared to the bombshell revelation that AIG plans to dole out hundreds of millions in corporate bonuses for performance in 2008.

The rant heard ‘round the water cooler went something like this: Performance? In an insurance company that just reported the biggest quarterly loss in American history--$61.7 billion in the final quarter of 2008?

How could it be that AIG was paying out $450 million in bonuses to people in one company unit that drove $40.5 billion in losses last year? Shouldn’t that kind of "performance" require those employees to return some of their salaries, if not be fired altogether?
May 14, 2009, Washington Times article:
Bankrupt Tribune gives bonuses after editorializing about AIG

[T]his week, the Tribune Co. -- which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Hartford Courant and other dailies, along with 23 TV stations -- received permission from a Delaware bankruptcy judge to pay out $13.3 million in bonuses to some 700 local and corporate managers.

The payouts come as $2.7 million in severance pay to 68 employees who lost their jobs last year remains frozen.

Tribune Chief Financial Officer Chandler Bigelow III explained the rationale for the bonuses during an appearance in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday, using an argument reminiscent of that used by AIG.

"We need to motivate and incentivize the key people who will implement change. These are really good people we're talking about. They're the best and the brightest in the company," Mr. Bigelow told Judge Kevin Carey.
(via Instapundit)


OBloodyHell said...

Carl, I grant there was a lot of total BS behind the whole AIG bonus thing, but I find this to appear somewhat disingenuous in that it elides one key point that applied to AIG and not to the Tribs -- As far as I know, the Tribs aren't asking the US citizenry to bail their incompetent asses out.

I grant you, there's relevant reasons why the AIG story was total BS in spite of that, but it is a clear and distinct difference.

I think this piece, while it has merit, should also include some acknowledgment of that fact in all fairness, however. The errors and omissions of the AIG story should not be repeated in blogging about the latter story. You need to provide a more direct, observational contrast between the reportage (i.e., the fact that they did not make the same arguments between the two very similar topics) than you do.

It's there, but you have to make the connection yourself. Some will do that, others won't, but will specifically note the "Give us money" AIG issue which was at the heart (however incorrectly) of the outrage over AIG's bonuses.

Carl said...


A fair point. Still, I was reacting to the fact that most of the media coverage of AIG was along the lines of "those capitalist pigs strike again; the rich get richer." The broader issue is that "returns to merit" normally are reported as "increased income inequality," which drives me nuts.

OBloodyHell said...

Oh, yeah, like I said -- *I* know what you mean, but it pays to detail it.

The real problem with the reporting wasn't the outrage or ignoring the fact that the Dems had already signed off on it.

The problem was that the people the complaints were about weren't the ones responsible for the problem, they were the ones who stuck around to help clean up the mess. I grasp that they weren't doing that entirely out of the goodness of their hearts -- they were promised a competitive wage if they did so -- but that's beside the point. They could have jumped ship and gotten work elsewhere at similar wages, and did not, with the bonuses promised for sticking around and continuing to bust their asses cleaning up the mess (and anyone who doesn't think these guys don't bust their asses -- working WAY more than 40 hrs/wk -- is ignorant in the extreme).

What happens the next time there is a mess? Will people stick around to clean it up, or will they go, "Hell no, my uncle was promised a great deal just like this one back in the aughts, and all he got was shafted..."

The media KNEW these facts, but instead played the Envy card.

And that is what the MSM need to get their balls stomped on.