Here's an example of how journalists who come at the world from different perspectives can look at the same set of facts and draw different conclusions. I wrote last week about the implosion of of the law firm Dewey and LeBoeuf and blamed the situation in part on excessive regulation. The New York Times looks at the story this morning and says the trouble was the income inequality:
a corrosive partnership culture of haves and have-nots....Mr. Davis subscribed to a "barbell" compensation system. On one end were the so-called rainmakers with big books of business who were lavished with multimillion-dollar, multiyear guarantees. Dewey's stars were paid as much as $10 million a year. (Mr. Davis himself earned about $4 million a year, but cut his 2011 salary to $300,000.)
On the other end of the barbell were partners who worked on the court cases and deals brought in by the rainmakers. These partners were paid about $300,000, creating a dynamic where the highest-paid partners were making 30 times more than the most junior ones.
At Skadden, by comparison, the highest-paid partner makes no more than five times the lower-paid ones. One former partner called the arrangement [at Dewey, not Skadden] "something closer to feudalism than a true partnership."
If these pay differences between the top-paid partners and the lower paid "service partners" were the cause of Dewey's downfall, how come the many other law firms with similar differentials have not also collapsed? And what does it mean for the New York Times, where Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is paid $6 million a year, and CEO Janet Robinson got a $24 million exit package in part for agreeing not to disparage her former employer, while the newsmen and newswomen toil away for more than 30 times less than that?