Criticizing Business Magazines

I just don't agree with this article about how Fortune and Forbes have slid to the left. For one thing, they have always been a bit more to the left, in my opinion, than The Wall Street Journal and Businessweek(which is, in my opinion, the most balanced and non-partisan of the business magazines). For another, they are addressing real issues that businesses face today, and that requires a move to the left. Businesses have to move to the left a bit in today's society because shareholders, employees, and customers have started to care more about the environment, working conditions, social responsibilites, etc., and are willing to pay more for a product (in some cases) if a company makes an effort to address these issues.

The concern here seems to be the criticism of CEO pay by both magazines, but I agree with them on this. I have no problem with CEOs making 100 million dollars or whatever if they deliver exceptional shareholder returns. The thing is that most don't. The article attempts to compare CEO salaries with those of superstars like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, but these are both superstars who can do things other professional athletes aren't capable of, and that is rarely true in the business world. I think there are plenty of people who could run Oracle or Disney just as well as Larry Ellison or Michael Eisner. If anything, I think there are a ton of smart businesspeople out there who never get the chance they deserve because a board wants to hire a semi-celebrity CEO instead of someone best qualified for the job. And anyway, if Tiger doesn't win any tournaments, he will lose endorsements and he won't be making the big bucks, but many of these CEOs get huge paychecks regardless of how poorly they do. Or, they do well and get rewarded, but so does every other company on the NYSE. If a CEO doesn't deliver above average returns compared to the company's peers, he/she shouldn't be paid like a superstar. Fortune and Forbes are just pointing that out.

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