CNN's Roberts: Obama's $162,100 Senate salary 'modest'
Only a network anchor could think that earning nearly four times the median household income is â€śmodest.â€ť
That was CNN â€śAmerican Morningâ€ť anchor John Robertsâ€™ take on Sen. Barack Obamaâ€™s (D-Ill.) annual salary of $162,100. He also called the Obama family incomes of â€ś$470,000 up to $1.4 millionâ€ť â€śpretty modestâ€ť during the May 17 report. Roberts used the word â€śmodestâ€ť three different times to depict some part of Obamaâ€™s financial life.
The median household income in the United States is $46,326, according to the U.S. Census. Thatâ€™s 29 percent of Obamaâ€™s â€śmodestâ€ť Senate income and about 10 percent of the â€śpretty modestâ€ť amount the Obamas declared as the low end of what they earned last year.
â€śSo, so theyâ€™ve obviously, theyâ€™ve got a very modest property and, obviously, the income that you get, too, when you're a senator is modest,â€ť Roberts explained, modestly. Internet reporter Jacki Schechner added â€śin comparison, yeah.â€ť
The anchorâ€™s rationalization came as part of a segment called â€śWhereâ€™s The Money From?â€ť that detailed the finances of some of the top presidential candidates.
Itâ€™s not the first time CNN staffers have had little understanding of what ordinary American salaries were and, in this case, what â€śmodestâ€ť means in financial terms. According to Salary.com, a Web site which â€śprides itself in being the resource for compensation data,â€ť â€śCNN stars like Lou Dobbs and Wolf Blitzer make millions each year.â€ť The article, titled â€śDream Jobs: News Anchor,â€ť interviewed CNN International anchor Jonathan Mann, who said anchoring â€śis probably one of the lucrative jobs in the television industry.â€ť
CNNâ€™s Schechner detailed the financial records of some of the other top candidates during the report as well:
Democratic Candidate John Edwards reported earnings of $29.5 million. Roberts used it to take a shot at Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee. â€śGov. Mike Huckabee might say that that all adds up to a lot of trips to the salon.â€ť That referenced criticism Huckabee received for a comment he made about Edwards during the Republican debate.
Republican Rudy Giuliani reported a â€śtotal of $13 to $45 million in assets.â€ť Those included earnings from pages of speaking appearances â€“ an average of $100,000, according to Roberts, who said â€śheâ€™s in Bill Clinton territory.â€ť