Michael Massing of the Columbia Journalism Review wonders why our TV nightly news anchors need to make so much money. High point: Jack Slater's suggestion that incoming ABC anchor Diane Sawyer turn the job down so ABC can hire "50 or 80 additional reporters to break stories." No, really, do the math: if Ms. Sawyer were to make what Charlie Gibson currently makes ($8 million a year), then ABC could hire 80 reporters at $100,000 per year including benefits. Seems to me newspapers could do something similar, except the CEOs would have to take the hit. As a bonus, Mr. Massing excerpts some truly exceptional pedantry from Howard Kurtz, who seizes upon a small part of a reader question put to him ("connection with the public") so he can wiggle out of the reader's real question entirely. "Katie Couric may make $15 million a year, but she grew up in a middle-class family in Arlington," he writes -- which, naturally, avoids the question of how "disconnected" she might have become after she got rich. Attention Jack Slater: CBS could hire as many as 150 additional reporters with Katie Couric money.
Meanwhile, Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona reveals himself as yet another Republican jerk pretending not to understand the concept of "insurance." "I don’t need maternity care, and so requiring that to be in my insurance policy is something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive," he says. That Senator Stabenow gets him with a zinger doesn't make Mr. Kyl's "ignorance" less depressing. He doesn't need maternity care, so a policy aiming to cover everyone shouldn't have it either? Please. Like it's all about you. I bet he defends his "right" to have Viagra coverage, though, even though over half the population will never need it. And, not incidentally, he's not even right that such a policy would be more expensive -- the more people in the pool, the less expensive the plan would be for everyone in the pool. That's how insurance works. Good citizens of Arizona, could you please unseat this man in 2012? I know you tried in 2006, but Jim Pedersen wasn't really that impressive, and this time, America really needs your help. Send a Libertarian to the Senate if you have to.
Finally, in case you were wondering: yes, Messrs. Hannity and Beck obsess far more about ACORN than they do about actual corruption -- particularly if the corruption comes from the right. One could dismiss Media Matters's finding comparing mentions of ACORN and Abramoff/Ney on their programs, since Abramoff/Ney weren't really news anymore once they were both in jail. But the Beck and Hannity programs still mention ACORN 35 times as often as they mention Halliburton or Blackwater/Xe -- corporations that still feed at the government trough, corporations that still bear responsibility for the death of American troops at war. In case you didn't know what to say to someone who says Glenn Beck's show has mentioned Halliburton 19 times leave him aloooooone!, well, now you do. I should add that the numbers don't even assure us that any of those 19 mentions were criticisms of Halliburton.