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Wednesday, April 23, 2003
You make the call
Incompetence, or bias? Reading this Atlanta Journal-Constitution hackjob about ex-Red Cross head Bernadine Healy, it's hard to say. Actually, "both" appears to be the most likely answer. It seems that the Red Cross paid Healy a lot of money as she left her position as head of the organization, and the AJC tries to turn it into a scandal. Why? Because the reporter didn't understand deferred compensation, and didn't bother to find out what it meant. Lynxx Pherrett explains.

Come to think of it, didn't we see a similar "scandal" with regard to Dick Cheney and Halliburton recently, when it was revealed that he was receiving deferred compensation from his former company? There seems to be a pattern here. (Well, it's only two cases, which probably isn't enough to call it a pattern. So sue me.) Some in the media don't seem to grasp that deferred compensation is not a gift to a former employee, but rather payment already earned. I suspect that bias plays a role, though -- not partisan bias, but bias against high salaries for corporate executives, particularly in the post-Enron era. There's a journalistic instinct to assume something must be wrong.

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