?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Kelly is worth every penny

Here's my latest column for our local newspaper.



Dollar signs danced through my head after news last week about Megyn Kelly, Congressman Tom Reed and Obamacare. Let’s start with Kelly and her new NBC paycheck, with its eight figures to the left of the decimal point.

Fox News wanted to keep Kelly so badly they reportedly offered her $20 million a year to stay. A Newsweek report pegged the offer at $25 million.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Kelly was making $15 million in the final year of her contract with Fox, so let’s assume she’ll make $20 million a year at NBC, give or take a few million.

Is Kelly worth it? She’s certainly worth it to NBC if she can do what network executives hope: increase ratings, particularly among viewers age 25-54. For broadcasters, that demographic is a mother lode of profit.
Is she worth it because of her journalism skills? Certainly not.

What do you imagine the combined annual salaries are for the 200 most recent Pulitzer Prize winners? Certainly nowhere near $20 million. It’s probably the same for the 200 most recent winners of the Peabody Award, which recognizes outstanding broadcast journalism.

Those journalists, though, don’t have the name recognition Kelly does. Her profile skyrocketed after the Aug. 7 Republican presidential candidates debate, where she skewered Donald Trump for sexist remarks.
In October, Kelly (a former trial lawyer) smacked down Newt Gingrich, who always comes across like he thinks he’s the smartest person in the room.

Then came the mid-November release of her memoir, Settle for More, which became news not only for its contents, but also because of the reaction to it by Trump supporters. As The Daily Beast reported, “On the day of its publication, Settle For More garnered hundreds of one- and two-star reviews on Amazon from suspiciously fast readers.”

As I said, I think Kelly is worth $20 million a year to NBC. After all, that’s what Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today show, makes—and no one will ever mistake Lauer for a journalist after his interview of Donald Trump in September.

The Observer’s assessment of Kelly as a “celebrity news actress” may be harsh, but then again, her résumé is so thin that it’s transparent compared to that of, say, Christiane Amanpour.

■ Kelly hasn’t been the only interesting name in the news. Wednesday’s Times Herald featured a story about Congressman Tom Reed.

The story indirectly quotes Reed, a Republican, as saying a priority for the new Republican Congress is repealing the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). The Times Herald’s Rick Miller wrote, “Reed said it was not clear how a replacement package for Obamacare would be passed or what it would include.”

Fox News reported Saturday, “Congressional Republicans’ years-long mission to dismantle Obamacare is becoming more of an uphill battle, amid a growing concern among some GOP senators about voting to repeal the health care law without a replacement.”

However, the New York Times reported Friday, “Republican leaders want congressional committees to have legislation dismantling much of Obama's overhaul ready by late January. They're hoping Congress can quickly send a measure to incoming President Donald Trump phasing out the law, perhaps a couple of months later.”

I can’t believe Republicans will have an Obamacare replacement plan in place by then. After all, they haven’t come up with an alternative since the Affordable Care Act went into effect nearly seven years ago.
Reed says making sure there’s a replacement is one of his priorities. Let’s watch to see what he does if his priority clashes with his party’s gung-ho repeal advocates.


■ As for the Republicans’ replacement for Obamacare, here’s a question: Five years into the plan, which do you think is more likely—tens of millions of Americans will have better, less-expensive health insurance than they have now, or the insurance and pharmaceutical industries will have made billions of dollars because of the new plan?

I’m hoping for the first option, but consider this: According to OpenSecrets.org, a website run by the Center for Responsive Politics, the insurance industry spent more than $111 million on lobbying last year. The only industry to spend more was the pharmaceuticals/health products industry: $186 million.

Something tells me the money isn’t being spent to ensure people without health insurance get the best coverage possible at the lowest possible cost. I think those industries have different priorities.

I predict they’ll spend higher amounts on lobbying in 2017. The only question is how much more.

(Patrick Vecchio is a former Times Herald managing editor and retired journalism professor at St. Bonaventure University. He is a lifelong Olean resident and may be contacted at PatrickVecchio@roadrunner.com)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
anita_margarita
Jan. 10th, 2017 05:52 pm (UTC)
I despair.

On a brighter note, I installed an app on my PC called "Make America Kittens Again." It replaces photos of Trump with photos of kittens. So whatever photos you have in this column are instead cute pictures of cats. It makes reading the news more tolerable.
patrick_vecchio
Jan. 11th, 2017 10:18 pm (UTC)
I hope those cats will use the Trump Tower lobby as their litter box.
anita_margarita
Jan. 11th, 2017 10:47 pm (UTC)
That would be redundant.
patrick_vecchio
Jan. 12th, 2017 04:02 am (UTC)
Made me chuckle. Thanks!
e_d_young
Jan. 12th, 2017 03:26 pm (UTC)
Newsweek used the term "on-air personality" in an article about Kelly. I'm not sure of her background but I get the impression that's a more fitting description than "journalist." So we're not comparing apples to apples when comparing her salary and skills to journalists.
patrick_vecchio
Jan. 13th, 2017 01:23 am (UTC)
Exactly.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

March 2017
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Wish I'd Said It

Nota bene: “Fear has governed my life, if I think about it. ... I always feel like I’m not good enough for some reason. I wish that wasn’t the case, but left to my own devices, that voice starts speaking up.” – Trent Reznor

“I hate to say this, but not many people care what you do. They care about what you do as much as you care about what they do. Think about it. Just exactly that much. You are not the center of the universe.” — Laurie Anderson

"The path's not yours till you've gone it alone a time." – William Carlos Williams

“Filling this empty space constitutes my identity.” – Twyla Tharp

"My definition of peace is having no noise in my head." – Eric Clapton

"The wreckage of the sky serves to confirm us in delicious error." – John Ashbery

"We are all here by the grace of the big bang. We are all literally the stuff of the stars." – Dwight Owsley

"For my part, I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream." – Vincent van Gogh

"It is only with the heart that one can see right; what is essential is invisible to the eye." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

"Forget about being a perfectionist, because entropy always wins out in the end." – Darren Kaufman.

"Impermanence. Impermanence. Impermanence." – Garry Shandling

"Fame is a vapor; popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion." – Mark Twain

"There is no realm wherein we have the truth." – Gordon Lish

"Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that lead nowhere." – E.M. Forster

“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe." – Frank Zappa

“I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard

“The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.” – Voltaire

• Journal title and subtitle: Ian Hunter, “Man Overboard”

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow