On Thursday the fact-checkers at PolitiFact busted conservatives like Glenn Beck for their “mostly false” claim that 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes more money in speaking fees than the average CEO does in a year. This, they determined, “ignores critical facts.”
Conservative pundits are calling out Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for reeling in hefty speaking fees when she left the State Department, saying the big checks belie her message of addressing income inequality as she runs for the White House.
“Let’s remember one thing about this woman of the people,” conservative radio host Glenn Beck said on his May 13 show. “She knows a few things about making money. She makes more per hour at a speaking gig than the average CEO does in a year. Let me say that again: She makes more at a speaking gig in an hour than the average CEO does in a year. But let’s have her lecture us about those out of control CEO salaries.”
The set up is an attempt to confuse voters by conflating a candidate’s financial position with their policy position.
This conflation is only helpful to Republicans, whose policies are economically harmful to the 98%. Whereas the Democratic platform is full of policies that fight for the working and middle class.
But you know how Republicans are about surface. If they can just put the right face on ripping you off, they are sure you will buy it. Mitt Romney was not that face. Their bad. They’re going to do it better this time. And that starts by smearing Hillary Clinton with Mitt’s smug privilege by pretending that having money is what made Mitt so egregious. (Hint: It was not. See noblesse oblige. It was probably his contempt for those who were not rich.)
So this whole claim is specious and full of wrong turns. It’s based on a faulty premise. But it is also “mostly false”.
Looking at CEOs of large companies, Beck’s claim completely falls apart.
The data that puts Beck’s claim in the best light, from BLS, is incomplete. It doesn’t include stock options, bonuses and other benefits that typically make up an executive’s compensation package. Nor does it account for CEOs of small and medium-sized business who have ownership stakes. At the same time, it includes people classified as chief executives in the public sector, as well as in Puerto Rico — groups that drag the average salary down.
Beck’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.
So no, Hillary Clinton does not make more per hour from speaking fees than an average CEO does in a year.
This is a claim that no honest Republican or conservative would make because they are all about making money. They tell the public over and over again not to be jealous of the “success” of the CEOs the public is bailing out with hard-earned, paycheck to paycheck taxpayer money. They tell everyone to aspire to be rich. They pretend they are all about the American Dream of building yourself up from nothing when really, their policies are all about protecting the dynasties of the top 2%.
So it’s odd that Hillary Clinton actually grew up in a middle-class family, with no mommy or daddy in politics, and — like the American Dream — got herself to a great college (Wellesley College) where she worked hard enough to go on to get her law degree from Yale. Along the way, she met a man from Arkansas who was really charming and smart. Eventually, she followed him back to his home state, where they worked hard — like the American dream — until they bought a home and started a family, Ms. Clinton working at a local law firm. And then this man became the Governor of Arkansas, and one day the President of the United States! Which meant that this hard-working girl from middle-class Illinois ended up the First Lady of the United States.
After that, she became a Senator and after that, she was the Secretary of State.
Now she is running for President. In between, she is often paid well to give speeches because as you can see from my brief paraphrasing of her biography, she actually knows things about things. And someone is paying her to talk about it.
In the meantime, this woman has a political platform and policies that are all about the middle and working class. Now, sure, many don’t know this because the media won’t stop talking about a conspiracy artist’s book about her, and now today we are back at Hillary’s hair (do not pass Go). But these are her policies. They are a matter of fact and they are no surprise. She has been championing these policies her entire political career, and in fact during her husband’s political career.
Naturally, since this is the one topic that will actually impact most voters, it is the one topic that is hotly avoided by the media. But Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are both determined to use this election cycle to actually talk about issues. They want to do this for a reason. That reason is why Republicans do not want to do it and why they distract with personal attacks like this one.
MOSTLY FALSE. Try again.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.