Thursday, June 12, 2008

What’s The Salary Got To Do With It?

I have no particular comment of the whole Sangamon County Clerk Joe Aliello story, but I find the SJR’s coverage odd in one respect. They find it pertinent to publish the salaries of the public officials who may have been involved in some alleged wrong-doing. However, they don’t publish the salaries of the other officials mentioned in the story.

I guess I don’t see the relevance of the salary thing. My guess is it’s to elicit even more outrage toward the accused. “We pay them THAT much and then they [ALLEGEDLY] do something bad like this!” The salaries, of course, are public record and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this sort of thing in the paper, but it just strikes me as odd. Maybe there is some sort of good journalistic reason for it; I just don’t know what it is.

2 comments:

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

My guess is that they don’t include salaries to deliberately stir up outrage, they do it because they know that it’s information that people want. When a public employee is involved in some shady dealings, there’s a certain segment of the population that will demand to know how much we’re paying him. Since that information is available, but not always easy for regular readers to find on their own, the newspaper feels that it is their duty to report it.

Gish said...

Perhaps also because a salary implies, correctly or incorrectly, a persons importance in government. We may not care if a $25,000/year lackey is a drug user but we definitely might if they are being paid 100K or so.

I like to know so that I may judge them on non-important criteria.