Justice Department Investigating Couric Price Gouging
Posted by Dan Draney on April 26, 2006
DLMSY has learned that there is an ongoing investigation in the Justice Department into whether Katie Couric’s $15 million salary for her new job at CBS constitutes price gouging by Couric. Privately, some CBS officials have been grumbling about the dramatic spike in the cost of news anchors, fearing it it could prove to be a millstone, deep-sixing the company’s profits for years.
CBS, desparate to restore credibility and ideological balance to its news team, decided early on that a strong, liberal voice was essential for the new anchor. Unfortunately, the network ran directly into a severe shortage of liberal views in the major media. “Air America basically sucked up all the liberals. Now who knows where they are?” opined industry analyst Stewart Smalley. With such a small pool of media liberals remaining, CBS was caught in a squeeze and forced to pay an outrageous price for Couric’s services.
There can be little doubt CBS is overpaying as a result. Even assuming no vacations or holidays, Couric will receive over $40,000 per night of news. The actual value of her services has been estimated at no more than a couple of hundred a night, tops.
Some question how an indictment, let alone a conviction, could possibly be obtained for “price gouging,” a crime with no definition. However, the recent US Supreme Court decision in the Texas case, Earle v. Ham Sandwich, has given prosecutors much more lattitude in making up the law as they go along when a high profile defendant is involved.