Major media companies such as CBS, Walt Disney and Viacom are lobbying the Securities and Exchange Commission to alter or drop a proposal that would require disclosing the financial packages of top-earning, non-executive actors and TV news anchors.
The so-called "Katie Couric" clause is intended by the SEC to provide more transparency to shareholders of the mega media concerns, and would require companies to disclose salary figures for up to three workers whose compensation exceeds that of its top executives. As most of the Western World now knows, Ms. Couric recently signed with CBS for a reported salary of $15 million over five years.
So, while it’s fine for the Katie’s of the world to lambaste the "excessive" pay packages of CEOs, it’s apparently not fair to hold her and her ilk to the same standards. In their defense, the media companies say the Katie-type compensation packages are "too complex and irrelevant to shareholders." They also say they’re fearful that such transparency would scare away the more secretive celebrities out there. My, how my heart bleeds.
It’s time for these double standards to follow the 30-second television commercial into obscurity. Americans and shareholders have every right to know what sort of dough Katie is pulling down, especially in light of her alleged credibility with, and concern for, the "average" American. And, it definitely does Katie’s image and reputation no good to be clearly talking out of both sides of her mouth on this issue.
That said, if the SEC does cave into pressure and delete the clause, how much fun would it be to see Ms. Couric squirming just once as she’s asked by some investigative reporter to explain how she can pillory handsomely paid CEOs on the one hand while balking at disclosing her own pay on the other.