The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the executive pay cuts ordered on the financial companies:

I have no objection in principle at all about these cuts in pay. This is not intrusion into free enterprise. These enterprises are not private or free. They are wards of the state. They ran themselves into the ground, and they are now partially or largely owned by the government.

So the government has every right to intervene and dictate salaries.

But the question is a practical one. Is it smart if you’re a shareholder in the company, as we all are, and thinking of its future and the ability to repay the loan, is it smart to institute a cut this drastic?

The obvious danger is that if the cut is too large, it will induce the people who run it and who presumably know how to run it to go elsewhere.

So, to me, it is a practical decision, and the fact that Obama was hands-off on this and he left it in the hands of someone who’s an expert in this area I think is the right decision. Obama is not an executive. He is not a businessman. He ought to leave it to Feinberg, who in these negotiations has become expert, so I think it was handled the right way.

On the administration’s war on Fox News:

Lamar Alexander is a senator. He’s an old hand in Washington. He was secretary of education in the first Bush administration and he is not a wing nut.

And he gave a speech this week in which he expressed dismay and alarm over the way the Obama administration is demonizing — not just criticizing — but demonizing and trying to ostracize and destroy his opponents.

And he [Sen. Alexander] went through a list of these, including the Chamber of Commerce, the insurance companies, Fox News, and I would add the way [the Obama administration] tried to demonize the people who attended the town halls in August and those who have demonstrated in the [so-called] “tea bag” demonstrations.

And Alexander said: I was in the Nixon White House at the age of 27, and I saw how the poison of enemies lists worked and what happened in the end. And when Alexander is saying that, I think people ought to listen.

I think this is really destructive. I think what happened today was extremely important, because in trying to ostracize and demonize Fox, the administration needs complicity from other news organizations. Otherwise it won’t work.

And what happened today was other news organizations — admirably and on principle — standing up and saying no. If you are not going to include Fox, we’re not going to go.

And that solidarity I think is important. We are all in the business together. We have different perspectives. Nobody enjoys a …holy objectivity. And what happened, I thought, was a confrontation between an overreaching executive and a free press — and the executive backed down.

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