Fox, Cops And Teachers

Late last week, Fox morning man Steve Doocy hosted yet another segment where the Fox News wake-up team bashed teachers and expressed complete amazement that some of them earn high five-figure salaries.

Doocy turned his attention to a long-running contract dispute playing out in the suburban Philadelphia school district of Neshaminy, where teachers have been working without a contract since 2008. In this “terrible economy,” Doocy couldn't believe overpaid teachers there aren't willing to drastically restructure their “rich deal” contract. After all, they work for the public! (Fox, in general, hates public school teachers.)

In terms of the numbers, Doocy, welcoming Neshaminy School Board president Ritchie Webb, told viewers teachers there earn $90,000, on average. Yet the Philadelphia Inquirer this year reported that for Neshaminy teachers, “Even after two years of a wage freeze, last fall their average salary of $77,165 was 15th highest in the state.” (Webb today told me the $90,000 figure represents the median average for salaries, and the lower figure was based on the mean, and was “probably the fairest one to use.”)

But more importantly, Doocy's overall message was unmistakable. Greedy teachers are taking advantage of taxpayers who simply cannot afford to pay inflated public employee salaries. Fox News has been hammering that anti-union message all year, that overpaid teachers are living a cushy life and doing it on the backs of struggling taxpayers.

Now note which story Doocy and friends did not address late last week. It was a report from The Daily Beast about how Fox News' Sixth Avenue headquarters in New York City receives free, 24-hour-a-day police protection, paid for by taxpayers; protection that likely costs the police department $500,000 annually in man hours.

The Daily Beast also reported none of the other network and cable news outlets that have headquarters in New York (ABC, CBS, CNN, or NBC), receive the same free protection, in the form of constant foot patrols outside the media headquarters or police cars stationed out front. Those news organizations pay their own security costs. It's only Fox News, which rails against the cost of public employee salaries, that receives NYPD protection at no cost.

So Fox News, which generated $1.5 billion in revenues last year, is getting free protection from the NYPD, while taxpayers foot the bill. But greedy school teachers in Pennsylvania are the real villains here?