After Complaints of "Unequal Pay," Anchors See Real Social Justice on Their Paychecks


The idea of a gender pay gap is one of the most controversial subjects in society today, with liberals claiming it persists due to a patriarchal society and conservatives arguing most of the pay gap can be explained by life decisions.

The debate has become more pitched over the pond in United Kingdom recently due to a number of high-profile events in the media. Now, male personalities at Britain’s BBC are seeing social justice in action: Instead of raising salaries for female personalities to eliminate the pay gap, the BBC is simply reducing the pay of male anchors to make things more equal.

“The BBC has agreed to pay cuts with a number of leading BBC News presenters, and others have agreed in principle,” the Beeb said in a statement Friday, according to The New York Times.

The move comes after China correspondent Carrie Gracie resigned her position in protest over its alleged pay gap earlier in the month.

“Among those receiving pay cuts are the presenters Jeremy Vine, Huw Edwards and John Humphrys,” The Times reported. “A tape of a conversation Mr. Humphrys had with a colleague in which he seemed to be making light of Ms. Gracie’s concerns over the pay gap was recently reported on in the British press.

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“Ms. Gracie left her post in Beijing this month and returned to the BBC newsroom in London, where, she said, she would be ‘paid equally,'” the article noted.

“Her resignation revived criticism of Britain’s publicly funded broadcaster, which last summer published the salaries of its top stars. The data revealed a startling gap in pay between its most senior male and female journalists. After that became public, the BBC’s most senior female journalists demanded the organization take action.”

Of course, the BBC is one of the most liberal media organizations on earth, so it’s rather ironic that the pay gap exists to such an extent and is being being protested with such vehemence there, as opposed to, say, conservative British tabloids or outlets like the U.K. Telegraph. However, some say there is a bit more to the debate than just Gracie’s resignation, and it comes in the form of the one man controversy tornado that is Jordan Peterson.

Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, has made himself the bane of the left in the English-speaking world in recent years, thanks to a number of contentious beliefs on issues such as transgender rights, political correctness and the role of personal choice and biology in the gender pay gap. As PJ Media points out, the move comes just weeks after Peterson gave an interview to Britain’s Channel 4, which turned into a snipe-fest with journalist Cathy Newman.

Do you support the BBC's move on pay?

Whether or not you buy Peterson’s theories is sort of irrelevant when you look at the transcript, gleaned from The Atlantic. In fact, it ends up being a sort of object lesson proving a quote by the late author Christopher Hitchens: “There is a tendency on the left, to think if someone in any way disagrees with the left it must be for the lowest possible reason and if you found the lowest possible motive you have found the right one.” Here’s the full interview, which became quite the cultural touchstone in the intervening weeks:

Newman: … that 9 percent pay gap, that’s a gap between median hourly earnings between men and women. That exists.

Peterson: Yes. But there’s multiple reasons for that. One of them is gender, but that’s not the only reason. If you’re a social scientist worth your salt, you never do a univariate analysis. You say women in aggregate are paid less than men. OK. Well then we break its down by age; we break it down by occupation; we break it down by interest; we break it down by personality.

Newman: But you’re saying, basically, it doesn’t matter if women aren’t getting to the top, because that’s what is skewing that gender pay gap, isn’t it? You’re saying that’s just a fact of life, women aren’t necessarily going to get to the top.

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Peterson: No, I’m not saying it doesn’t matter, either. I’m saying there are multiple reasons for it.

Newman: Yeah, but why should women put up with those reasons?

Peterson: I’m not saying that they should put up with it! I’m saying that the claim that the wage gap between men and women is only due to sex is wrong. And it is wrong. There’s no doubt about that. The multivariate analysis have been done.

Newman was employing one of the more modern applications of what Hitchens described: Taking someone’s words and saying, “… OK, but what you’re really telling us is…” and then giving the worst possible interpretation of what that individual just said.

And yet, in a U.K. Independent article which highlighted the online abuse Newman had taken from Peterson fans in the wake of the interview (because clearly, no conservative has ever experienced online abuse), little shrift was given to the actual content of the interview. The criticism was described solely as the result of misogyny.

“When white men feel they are losing power, any level of nastiness is possible, and much power has been ceded recently,” the Independent’s Rachel Revesz wrote. “Amid the steamrolling effect of the MeToo campaign, of the sudden dominance of gender equality in the news and amid the fall of many Great Men, here comes the whirling centre of the storm, when we have to fight harder than ever to be heard. We are in backlash season.”

Oh, and as for the part of the article devoted to the interview, there was this little nugget: “Newman also asked why he had the right to air his controversial views (empahsis ours). He replied, ‘I’m a clinical psychologist,’ with the cool calm of a cartoon villain.”

Airing views that you’ve arrived at via a long career of clinical psychology makes one a cartoon villain, one doesn’t necessarily have the right to air any theories on the pay gap that do not start with misogyny and patriarchy as its only origin, and in order to ensure gender fairness, one of the most liberal establishments on earth is cutting money from male anchors’ paychecks.

Sounds about right for the left in 2018, I’d say. Enjoy those reduced paychecks, blokes. At least from what I can tell, it won’t put a single extra pence in the pockets of female employees.

Then, perhaps that was the entire message. “I was not interested in more money,” Gracie said at the time of her resignation. “I was interested in equality.”

And what is this, if not equality of outcomes in action?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture