Who is the media elite?

Former Newsday Publisher Robert Johnson (who headed the Times Mirror newspaper was sentenced last Friday to 15 months in federal prison and fined $50,000, following his plea to possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

Johnson, a top executive at Newsday from 1982 to 1994, also was ordered after imprisonment to serve 3 years of supervised release, undergo counseling for sex offenders, and have software installed on his future computers to monitor attempts to access child pornography.

Newsday is one of the liberal’s favorite East Coast papers, just after the New York Times, Washington Post and Boston Globe.

See the bias? What if Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage or any other conservative in the media were convicted of child pornograhphy? Whouldn’t that rate a page one story today?

Did your newspaper even mention this? How about CBS news? NPR? Dan Rather?

On another happier note for newspaper executives, McClatchy’s CEO is getting a big pay raise. After McClatchy bought Knight Ridder and chucked the problem newspapers to MediaNews group, and other’s shopping the fire sale, they have not seen a vote of confidence from investors. Does that stop the cozy board from rewarding their boss? No.

The McClatchy Co. chief executive officer Gary Pruitt will earn $1.1 million next year, a 4.8 percent increase from his salary this year, according to documents filed this week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Pruitt, the highest-paid chief executive of a publicly traded company in the Sacramento region, could earn another $1.38 million from an annual bonus if he reaches specific performance goals that have not been determined.

The Sacramento-based company bought Knight-Ridder this past summer, adding 20 newspapers — and selling off a dozen others, including the San Jose Mercury-News and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The deal made McClatchy (NYSE: MNI) the nation’s second-largest newspaper chain. Its publications include The Sacramento Bee, Star Tribune of Minneapolis and the Miami Herald.

McClatchy’s compensation board also detailed the base salary and maximum bonuses for other senior executives this week. Vice presidents of operations Bob Weil and Frank Whittaker will each earn $600,000 next year, with a 60 percent of base salary as a maximum bonus — or $360,000 each. Vice president and chief financial officer Pat Talamantes’ salary is $500,000 with a 55 percent maximum bonus, while vice president of news Howard Weaver will earn $400,000 with a 50 percent of salary bonus target.

8 thoughts on “Who is the media elite?

  1. Hey Mick,
    What’s interesting to me besides the obvious void of the front page story on the kiddie porn editor – is that all these newspapers execs getting raises and not a peep. But how about the CEO of Walmart or a major oil company getting bonus or raises (for which they performed and performed well btw) well THAT’S different. It’s splashed all over the papers, with outcries attached. Like how DARE they get bonus/raise for actually making profit for the company – outrageous. Yet the newspapers and other media keep going down in sales, profit and circulation and they get raises and compensation packages and that’s okay – normal even. No, there is no hypocrisy here, right?

  2. WC- You can spot the bias. You are a natural. What’s your take on Hillary’s “It Takes a Village” to raise a child. Is it more like It takes more taxes and a lot more governemnt to raise your child to become good little socialist sheeple.

  3. Top class mick – stroll on, this has gone under the radar even in the UK.

    Whatever happened to the likes of Jeffery Bernard? (yep they are all dead). in the Uk even the once great Private Eye has become a pale imitation of the original.


  4. Tell us more. The Fourth Estate is pretty seedy. They don’t do much about reporting on their own I see. Great job Mick. I’m going to follow your blog.

  5. Vimto and Jack, Thanks! I want to expose the Fourth Estate and all their arrogance. I have a lot to tell. On my first good position with a high ranking newspaper, I was silent and sickened when most of the department laughed when Reagan was shot.

  6. Scandal, sex and sanctimony Paul Crouch and TBN
    Los Angeles Times/September 18, 2004

    The time was the autumn of 1996, the scene a cabin in the San Bernardino mountains near Los Angeles. The cabin was owned by the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest televangelist organisation with outlets on satellite, cable and terrestrial channels around the world. That much we know.

    According to Lonnie Ford, an admittedly troubled, sometime drug addict who worked for the station, it was also the site of an inappropriate, and potentially scandalous, sexual encounter between himself and TBN’s president and founder, Paul Crouch.

    For eight years, Ford has been threatening to go public with the story and has written a lengthy manuscript detailing his allegations. The two sides have been in and out of court, money has changed hands and each has accused the other of acting in bad faith.

    Crouch has denied everything, as well he might, since homosexuality is a big no-no in the Christian fundamentalist world which he inhabits, and which has provided him with a lifestyle of striking lavishness over 31 years.

    The star evangelist on TBN, Benny Hinn, once announced that “God will destroy the homosexual community of America … with fire”.

    For eight years, TBN managed to keep the story under wraps, persuading courts to keep the relevant documents sealed and threatening Ford with legal action if he tried to break the terms of a 1998 settlement and seek a publisher for his manuscript.

    That changed this month, though, when the Los Angeles Times got wind of the affair and went public with at least the gist of it. Through interviews with some of those involved, including a friend of Ford’s who helped him to write the manuscript, the Times pieced together a tawdry legal history in which Ford has demanded large sums in exchange for his silence, and TBN reacted first by paying up and then by branding him a liar and extortionist.

    America may be about to witness its first juicy televangelist scandal in 15 years.

    In a hastily issued statement last weekend, TBN described the allegations as “deplorable”, “salacious” and “false”, but avoided going into any details of what may or may not have transpired during that weekend in the mountains.

    Ford’s friend and co-author Sandi Mahlow, meanwhile, told the Times how Ford had broken down in tears after returning from the cabin near Lake Arrowhead and told her that he and Crouch had engaged in sexual acts.

    “Lonnie has a lot of bad traits. One thing he isn’t, and that’s a liar,” Mahlow said.

    The Times also quoted a letter written by TBN lawyer Dennis Brewer, in which he recalled Crouch’s youngest son, Matt, telling his then law partner, David Middlebrook: “I am devastated. I am confronted with having to face the fact that my father is a homosexual.”

    Middlebrook and the younger Crouch deny there was such a conversation.

    In its statement, TBN painted Ford as a disturbed man with a history of relapses into drug addiction, something the Times piece discussed as well.

    “It is a reprehensible fact of modern life that public persons like Dr Crouch are targets of such dishonest, false and scandalous claims,” the statement lamented. “The lifelong ministry of Dr Crouch has been to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world.”

    But TBN also acknowledged it had agreed to a financial settlement with Ford – the Times put the figure at US$425,000 ($641,000) – rather than go to court to fight his twin allegations of sexual harassment and wrongful termination.

    “This course of action was deemed less expensive and would avoid the bad publicity, time and effort that it would take to fight the false claims,” the statement said. “Dr Crouch reluctantly agreed to this advice with the understanding that the accuser would go away and leave both he and TBN alone forever.”

    It is understandable that TBN has fought so hard to keep even the allegations out of the public eye. The affair’s oddly compelling pairing of sex and sanctimony – whether substantiated or not – are a direct reminder of the scandals of the late 1980s that brought down preacher Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, the husband-and-wife team behind the Praise the Lord network.

    Swaggart was forced to admit he was addicted to pornography and prostitutes. Jim Bakker not only admitted having an affair with an employee, a former Playboy playmate, Jessica Hahn, but was also caught trying to pay her off with US$265,000 ($400,000) from church funds – one of a string of financial improprieties that landed him in prison.

    TBN shares many of the traits of those earlier televangelist outfits. Crouch and his wife, Jan – who started out as business partners of the Bakkers – like to portray themselves as humble folks doing the Lord’s work and giving of themselves as they hope their viewers will give, by sending in financial contributions.

    Their costumes and studio sets are as gaudy and kitsch as anything the notoriously campy Tammy Faye Bakker came up with. The motif of the station is distinctly regal, with a crest based on the British lion and unicorn (plus a religious dove). Questions have been asked about the money the Crouches have generated and how it has been spent. The Bakkers had tens of thousands of dollars of gold plating in their bathrooms, and air-conditioning in their dog kennel.

    The Crouches bought a US$5 million ($7.5 million) oceanfront home in the California yachting resort of Newport Beach. They gave various explanations, suggesting the property belonged to the church and they would not be living in it, then saying the purchase was proof of the lavish rewards bestowed on them by the Almighty for their good works.

    Similar lavishness appears to be in order at the couple’s private offices, which occupy half of the top floor of TBN’s headquarters just off a freeway in Costa Mesa, 20 minutes’ drive from Newport Beach in Orange County.

    The 2438 sq m personal office space is off limits to the public and press, but construction workers who helped to build it have told reporters it includes a bar and sauna, a gym, handcrafted black walnut woodwork and ornate velvet furniture.

    The money issue has been exacerbated by the Crouch’s singular fundraising techniques. They have some stiff competition when it comes to spinning lines to true believers and inducing them to open their wallets. Back in the 1980s, Oral Roberts once told his viewers that God would strike him down if his supporters did not send him US$8 million ($12 million) within a year. The money arrived, and Roberts’ life, miraculously, was spared.

    Crouch’s favoured rhetoric appears to be equating his network with the Lord God himself. “If you have been healed or saved or blessed through TBN and have not contributed to [the] station, you are robbing God and will lose your reward in heaven,” he said on air in 1997.

    The Crouches also have a singular line in defensiveness when it comes to criticism of the station – criticism that has spanned many lawsuits and included accusations from rival Christian organisations that TBN is spreading blasphemy.

    “God, we proclaim death to anything or anyone that will lift a hand against this network and this ministry that belongs to you, God,” Crouch said in 1997.

    A few years earlier, he reacted even more vehemently to critics he characterised as “heresy hunters.” “To hell with you!” he ranted during a praise-a-thon in 1991. “Quit blocking God’s bridges or God’s going to shoot you – if I don’t.”

    The Crouches are positively tame compared with Benny Hinn, the network’s star performer, who has preached that Adam was a superman who flew to the moon and expressed his belief that one day the dead will be raised by watching TBN from inside their coffins.

    Describing his frustrations with his enemies, Hinn once expressed regret that the Bible didn’t sanction murder. “Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun. I’d blow your head off!”

    Hinn was embroiled in a legal controversy a few years ago when Mario Licciardello, a private investigator he hired to look into his ministry’s finances, turned against him and threatened to publicise the dirt he had dug up. The investigator died shortly afterwards, and Hinn moved his ministry from Florida to Texas.

    Licciardello has now shown up in the homosexual/ sex allegations. The Los Angeles Times found a deposition in which Licciardello quoted Hinn talking about “a sexual relationship that Paul Crouch had with his chauffeur”. Hinn also said: “Paul’s defence was that he was drunk.” Hinn has denied saying these things, but at least one other witness has corroborated them.

    In the mid-1990s, the Crouches tussled with the Federal Communications Commission over the legality of some of their station licences and only narrowly escaped being yanked off the air. In 1999, they were slapped with a lawsuit after a terminally ill woman from Virginia accused them of ripping off a novel of hers for their commercially successful end-of-the-world movie The Omega Code. The Crouches denied impropriety, but they ended up paying the woman an undisclosed amount of money.

  7. Hey Mick,
    just to answer your question about Hillary – the whole it takes a village line – first of all was stolen from an African tribe/culture. Second of all – it’s your typical socialist/communist view.The child, you see belongs to the state, not the parents. The state must see to its wellbeing and see to its needs so it will become a good citizen. And of course any good parent will give their child to the state – for its own good.
    That aside, from what I understand of Hillary and maternal instincts, it takes a nanny and a staff to raise her child. I’ve even heard rumors that Bill is a better mother than Hillary. And that ain’t good.

    Sorry for the delay in answering – I just saw this today.

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