What’s Happening Now, Golden Parachute Edition

Trump Maladministration

(The shooter in Pittsburgh, according to early and possibly unreliable reporting, is so far right that he turned against Trump after Charlottesville because he thought Trump didn’t speak up to defend the neo-Nazis against antifa. It’s said the guy was obsessed with the “caravan is coming” propaganda on Fox News, and he blamed Jews and George Soros for the caravan. Again, though, this isn’t corroborated and might be wrong.)

Megyn Kelly is now officially bounced from NBC. We might reflect on how stupid it was to hire her in the first place. Erik Wemple writes,

Kelly left Fox News for NBC News with a considerable incentive in the form of a $69 million contract over three years. That would be nearly $900,000 per bi-weekly paycheck, before taxes, insurance and whatnot.

There are many problems with this pay level. One is connection: How is a person from the top 0.01 percentsupposed to promulgate coverage that’s in touch with the needs of the poor or even the middle class? When she was hired to her NBC News spot, Kelly was supposed to participate in political coverage now and then. Was she supposed to speak about the anger of the economically displaced with a straight face?

Next is priorities: How many top-tier investigative journalists could NBC News pay with $23 million a year? At $200,000 per year, it could afford 115 such journalists. With such a crew, perhaps the network wouldn’t have needed any investigation into a fumbled Weinstein story.

Of course, network news is all about ratings and advertising revenue, not news reporting, which is one reason Donald Trump is president now. According to Wemple, the fellow who hired Kelly was Andy Lack. Lack also has a history of protecting employees accused of sexual harassment, such as Matt Lauer, and he caught the blame for NBC’s killing Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein, which Farrow then took elsewhere.

Lack claimed he was hiring Kelly because she was such a great journalist, which she isn’t. She’s a bobblehead. Lack possibly believed that Kelly’s audience from Fox News would follow her to NBC, but they didn’t. Wemple wrote a couple of days ago,

Fox News is the “plug-in” network, as this blog has often called it. The genius of Ailes and Rupert Murdoch was to create a programming conceit targeting an entire population of Americans, a conceit that spread across the network’s lineup. Loyalty goes more to the brand, the channel, than to this-or-that anchor. That’s why Kelly didn’t bring her audience with her to NBC News.

It’s also the case that she was a bad fit for NBC. Wemple continued,

While Kelly did indeed conduct many excellent interviews at Fox News, she also — as has been widely noted again in the aftermath of her blackface comments — turned in racially offensive work, including the well-publicized comments about Jesus and Santa (they’re white, kids!), the hyping of voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party and other moments. With the support of her colleagues and Ailes, Kelly had no trouble weathering the outcries that followed these moments.

On the other hand: Had any of those instances occurred under the roof of NBC News, the backlash would have resembled what we’ve witnessed this week. Colleagues would have rage-tweeted; management would have scrambled; apologies would have streamed from the organization. Maybe NBC News executives determined that those Fox News scandals were aberrations, that Kelly wouldn’t pack those sensibilities with her when she moved into her office at NBC News. Whatever the case, they made a mistake. “I didn’t focus on what the Fox sensibility is versus what the NBC News sensibility is,” Lack said after Kelly’s hiring. “I did want to know that I thought she would fit into the NBC culture.”

She clearly did not.

As I have ranted here in the past, most of the people who end up being Masters of the Universe didn’t get there by being exceptionally smart or talented. They got there by being aggressive, by shrewd networking, by being at the right place at the right time. Andy Lack screwed up, big time, by hiring her. Will NBC do anything about that?

Helaine Olen writes at WaPo,

The news of Kelly’s rather extraordinary payday, for what can charitably be deemed a subpar performance, comes the same week the New York Times discovered that Andy Rubin, a high-level executive at Google and the creator of the Android operating system, received a staggering $90 million exit package when he was shown the door in 2014 following credible allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Android operating system is a big deal, but is it a $90 million golden parachute big deal? How is it that one can rise to a position in which one is rewarded by truckloads of money even when one screws up?

There are, it’s fair to say, a lot of things that are eating away at American society at the moment. But one thing that doesn’t get the attention it deserves is how the wealthy and powerful get chance after chance and, even when they fail, get to exit on a generously padded slide — while the rest of us, on the other hand, too often live precarious lives, one lost job away from financial disaster.

Well, yeah. When the Megyn Kellys and Andy Rubins soak up vast sums of money for being a mediocre hack and overentitled technoweenie, respectively, that’s money not being used to expand the company or compensate the cube farm workers who actually keep the place going.

We see this time and time again in American life. CEOs exit with absurdly generous golden parachutes no matter how dreadful their performance, while the employees they downsize or fire receive scraps. Sometimes the situations are all but absurd. At Wells Fargo, former CEO John Stumpf retired with more than $100 million in retirement benefits, apparently a reward for pushing sales goals so intense, the only way many employees could meet them was by opening fake accounts for unwitting customers.

The whistleblowers who attempted to report the scam over the years, on the other hand, were frequently shown the door. In at least one case, Wells Fargo initially refused to hire one former employee back even after ordered to do so by the Department of Labor, and only reached a confidential settlement with the woman in the face of sustained media attention.

And people wonder why the young folks are taking an interest in socialism.

The situation carries over into other areas. In 2008, the banks famously got bailed out, while millions of Americans lost their homes to foreclosure. A 2016 report by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Center for Effective Government found that even as Fortune 500 companies froze pension plans for the vast majority of their workforce, they did no such thing for the men and women in charge, who continued to be offered access to defined benefit packages for retirement.

Then there is Donald Trump, who has skated from bankruptcy to bankruptcy even as he’s stiffed everyone from creditors to small contractors. One reason for this rather stunning track record? Many of those who lent him money decided they would lose less on the deal if they kept him in business. He was too big to fail — at least permanently.

In a sane universe, Donald Trump would have been left penniless in the 1990s and today would be a used car salesman living in a trailer. See also Following Trump’s money exposes the awful truth: Our president is a ‘financial vampire’.

Seems to me these practices are not just bad for their companies; they are bad for the overall economy. At the very least we need much more regulation of executive compensation. No CEO is worth the money they arrange to pay themselves.

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  1. moonbat  •  Oct 27, 2018 @3:36 pm

    Trump would be living out of his car were it not for the Russians, who needed a laundromat. That he could also be a useful asset that could be installed to diminish their rival superpower was an unexpected bonus.

    You focused on media corporate people, and how there is essentially no penalty for screwing up, in fact you could easily retire on Kelly's severance package.

    The same goes for politicians. The people who were wrong about the Iraq War, for example, are still in power.

    This is a system that's only interested in continuing, and can no longer self correct. It's running blind. It's no different than the Soviet gerontology from the 70s and 80s, except the people are relatively young, and life-like.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 27, 2018 @4:51 pm

    Ok, so how do the Reich-Wing false-flag psychopaths explain this bigoted act of FUCKING MASS FUCKING MURDER as a Libtard plot?   


    The kugel was too dry, and Chuck Schumer lied, and told him it was the best?

    Sorry, this fucking anti-semitic tRUMP-a-LOON-PA WAITED.



    And waited. 

    Waited until the time was ripe.

    And it was tRUMP who ripened him.

    Great job, “POTUS!”

  3. uncledad  •  Oct 27, 2018 @7:11 pm

    " so far right that he turned against Trump after Charlottesville "

    And Trump turned against him today, this could slow GOP momentum, something about "dead jews"? 

    Gulag: Don't get too worked up, I'm thinking Trump and Melania will go with:" this mass was more "mental illness" and less neo-nazi". I mean what's he supposed to do quit selling AR-15's to Proud Boys? Let's get real!

  4. uncledad  •  Oct 27, 2018 @7:43 pm

    Bombings, Mass-Shooting, Boy, these October Suprises, Newt must just be crestfallen!


  5. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 27, 2018 @8:50 pm

    Also too:

    Cap CE/F-O "Golden Parachutes" to 2 times their salary!

    The rest of us are lucky to get a few months/weeks –if that!

    FUCK 'EM.

    GET 'ER DONE!!!!!

  6. wmd  •  Oct 27, 2018 @10:32 pm

    Google pays its cube farm workers about $300k a year in total compensation. That puts technical workers on the edge of the 1%.


  7. uncledad  •  Oct 28, 2018 @12:48 am

    "cube farm workers"

    Bit of a generalization , what's your point?



  8. uncledad  •  Oct 28, 2018 @1:44 am
  9. Bernie  •  Oct 28, 2018 @11:30 am

    Fox news developing a programming conceit sent me to the dictionary.  Roger and Rupert loom large in recent matters, and the documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes may send me to the movie theater on or after the day of infamy, the day of it's release.  The movie got a mention from Maureen Dowd in her NYT column today.  It was quite a read and deserving of a tease:

    “Divide and Conquer,” an excellent new documentary produced by Alex Gibney and directed by Alexis Bloom, shows the divisive strategy Ailes used to help elect a succession of Republican presidents, even as he turned Fox News into a sexually transgressive cult where he and Bill O’Reilly and others could get away with any predation.

    For Ailes, and later Trump, politics was a war to preserve a gauzy John Wayne throwback world, patriotic and traditional, to save it from a sneering, contemptuous elite and from the “Other.” Ailes was a student of Hitler propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Sometimes, as with Trump’s birther campaign, the Other needed to be made to seem even more Other. Michelle Obama segments were designed to scare.


  10. csm  •  Oct 28, 2018 @11:39 am

    This is the reason for the constant fanning of the flames of hatred and racism, and the divisiveness in politics.  Those who lost their homes, got fired unceremoniously with nothing to fall back on are not limited to "those people."  White folk get unceremoniously jacked too.  They also paid to bail out the banksters and contribute to their bonuses and golden parachutes through taxes even as many them saw their 401ks drained. And yet, they don’t see it. Back then it was ACORN; today its the caravan. Its Soros, the Clintons, “the left.”

    The wealthy keep the people misdirected from the real reasons for their pain, and fighting each other, as they continue to laugh all the way to the bank.  Its been this way since Reconstruction.

  11. moonbat  •  Oct 28, 2018 @12:34 pm

    "Google pays its cube farm workers about $300k a year in total compensation. "

    The people who work at Google are not average, nor do they live in locations with average costs. 

    I interviewed a few years ago for a job vacated by a young guy who was hired away by Google. I have no idea what he makes, I only say this to say that my skills are similar to those desired by Google, but I don't consider myself elite enough to work there. I'm also way too old for that.

    That said, I live in an expensive tech hub (Orange County, California) and make a decent salary that covers the costs. This is the typical outcome of someone with a STEM degree – whether it's 2018 or 1960 or earlier. We're not in the 1% or even close, but we certainly aren't struggling.

  12. csm  •  Oct 29, 2018 @9:03 am

    Kelly's end at NBC was predictable.  So was all the violence.  And in this time of national grief and turmoil, Trump is not helping.  In fact he's twisting the knife, making a mockery of the pain.

    Trump has so lowered the bar for the presidency its hard to see how we recover from this.  

    This may be the one time past presidents need to break with tradition, step forward and provide the moral leadership the country needs right now.

  13. Bernie  •  Oct 29, 2018 @11:39 am

    What will this week bring?  What other manifestations of twisted abnormal thinking will rain down giving us the dreaded Breaking News prompt.  You have to know that last week showed us only the tip of the iceberg, for many more lie invisible.  New recruits are being signed up and radicalized on a daily basis.  The pipeline of hate based rhetoric continues, and the hate junkies cannot wait to get their newest conspiracy theory or dog whistle of approval from the top.  New role models of right wing terrorism in action will find willing trainees eager to copy.  

    The money will continue to flow, in large amounts, to those involved, Megan Kelly being only one of those reaping the windfalls.  Rush and similar ilk will cash in big as does Rupert and others at the top of this cartel of hate generation and distribution.  They continue to generate both supply and demand for their addictive and deadly product.  

    The gospel of greed provides the pusher cover, as they must be good people to get such wealth rained upon them.  Also, one has to remember that they provide lots of jobs.  Hiding behind the first amendment, they bring exploitation and distortion to the document created by our founders and shield themselves from any liability.  Still the responsibly must be shared by the consumers of their product.  Why do they not learn from the mistakes of others?  Is the thrill of the hate rush too strong to quit?  The first doses are always free, but now they travel miles, buy red hats, and stand in line for hours to get another fix.   

  14. Swami  •  Oct 29, 2018 @1:54 pm

    I'm starting to feel like Daphne Moon with my psychic abilities..When I first heard of the mail bomb threats I knew instantly that whoever did it was a low IQ older white male misfit who was wearing a MAGA hat. I know there were a lot of clues presented, like the targets of the bombs themselves, but when I arrived at my understanding of who the culprit was, I didn't have all that information available to me at the time. So I tend to think my knowledge of the MAGAbomber was gained through my nascent psychic abilities.

     As further proof of what I'm sensing..When the shooting in Pittsburgh was first announced I had a psychic understanding of the shooter using an AR-15. When the details of that crime against the Jewish community were brought forth it was a confirmation that I must have psychic abilities.

    I'm sure there are you doubters out there who will poo poo my claims, saying that what I'm experiencing is common fare in understanding the mind set and characteristics of a typical Trump supporter. And that it really doesn't require any psychic ability. That it's a knowledge that can be acquired through simple observation and pattern recognition.

  15. doug  •  Oct 29, 2018 @3:23 pm

    Swami – I didn’t have to use the Force at all. The main clues were that the bomber couldn't spell, couldn't address a package right and couldn't figure out how much postage to use. Obviously it was a MAGAt.

    OT- I have been watching Gallup polls religiously. Trump support has ticked up and down slowly. This week Trump approval was down FOUR points. The wasn't a change in the anti-Trump people or the pro-Trump people. It was a huge shift in Independent voters, I'm sure. A four-point shift in the national tally translates into a twelve-point shift in the group that might break free. How will it translate at the ballot box?

  16. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 29, 2018 @3:46 pm

    Hey Swami,

    Who do you like tomorrow at Belmont in the 5th?

  17. Swami  •  Oct 29, 2018 @4:20 pm

     gulag ..  Seabiscuit ?…No wait! Stewball? I'm not getting a clear signal right now. I can only make out that it begins with an S. Maybe if I change my location I'll get better reception, ya think?

  18. Bernie  •  Oct 29, 2018 @4:39 pm
  19. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 29, 2018 @7:05 pm


    It's ok.

    I don't have enough money to bet.           


  20. csm  •  Oct 29, 2018 @7:42 pm

    "It was a huge shift in Independent voters, I'm sure."

    Trump is desperate to hold on to the hard core Trumpers, and is resorting to ever more extremism ("I'm a nationalist!) in order to maintain them.  Bowers was anti-Trump, only because Trump hadn't gone far enough, and there are others out there like him, which is why Trump made the nationalist comment, besides him believing it himself.  But doing that turns off more independent minded voters he needs to expand his base, including those fence sitters who either want to give the President a chance or may have voted for him in 2016.

    I believe this is why we're seeing more violent acts, as the core of the Trump base gets whittled down to its precipitate, its bare essence, they require ever higher levels of supercharged racist and hateful rhetoric, increasing the risk that someone in the group will act out on it.

    Bottom line with Trump is this: given a majority of Americans don't vote, and a slim majority of Americans are still white, Trump is doing everything he can to appeal to their whiteness by scaring or angering them off their butts and to the polls with racism.  But given the numbers, for this to work they have to simultaneously suppress the votes of others, which is why we're seeing a full court press from them on that front.