Two obscene stories in the news show why the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street started protesting -- and the moral intuitions they share
If Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street leaders held a summit at a neutral setting, like a farmers market in Austin, Texas, they could begin to understand the moral intuitions they share by talking over two obscene news stories published this week. One tells the story of Craig A. Dubow, the just-retired CEO of Gannett, a giant media corporation that owns USA Today and dozens of other newspapers. The other story is about Steven Preckwinkle and David Piccioli, two lobbyists employed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, a large public employees union. As far as we know, no laws were broken by anyone in either of these stories, which is important.
The CEO, Craig Dubow, presided over Gannett during a tough time for newspapers generally and that company in particular. David Carr reports on the details. "His short six-year tenure was, by most accounts, a disaster," he writes. "Gannett's stock price declined to about $10 a share from a high of $75 the day after he took over; the number of employees at Gannett plummeted to 32,000 from about 52,000, resulting in a remarkable diminution in journalistic boots on the ground at the 82 newspapers the company owns." In a way, Dubow was the anti-Steve Jobs: the company he ran suffered financially and saw the quality of its product decline. "Given that legacy, it was about time Mr. Dubow was shown the door," says Carr, but "not only did Mr. Dubow retire under his own power because of health reasons," he was praised by his board of directors and compensated "with just under $37.1 million in retirement, health and disability benefits. That comes on top of a combined $16 million in salary and bonuses in the last two years."