Richer People 'Good News' If They Are Women

     Despite previous complaints about “outrageous” CEO pay, both NBC and ABC proclaimed “good news” about the increasing number of female billionaires on March 8.

     According to Forbes magazine, there are 946 billionaires in the world, including 178 new ones. “Two-thirds of last year’s billionaires are richer. Only 17% are poorer,” said Forbes.

     As CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo told NBC “Nightly News” anchor Campbell Brown, of the 83 women on the Forbes magazine billionaire list, 45 are American. Brown chimed: “All right, that’s good news.”

     While the increasing number of billionaires is certainly good news, it is strange to hear it on “Nightly News” – the same network that cited Lee Raymond of ExxonMobil and William McGuire of UnitedHealth Group as example of “runaway pay” on April 20, 2006.

     Similarly, ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” lauded “women who built their own fortunes from nothing.” Reporter Bill Weir’s segment focused exclusively on what Forbes called the 1 percent club, or the percentage of world’s richest who are “self-made members of the fairer sex.”

     Weir left out that 60 percent of all the billionaires on the list made their fortunes from scratch, according to Forbes.

     Like NBC, ABC morning and evening newscasts have criticized pay and compensation packages for CEOs in the past and “Good Morning America” has even quoted the AFL-CIO complaining about how much more the average CEO of a company makes compared to someone earning minimum wage.

     The media promote the idea that as the rich get richer, the poor are getting poorer, but according to a March 8 Associated Press article many people are getting richer, not just billionaires.

     “The net worth of U.S. households climbed to a record high in the final quarter of last year,” AP reported. For the entire year, household net worth increased by 7.4 percent on top of the 7.9 percent increase in 2005.