This morning The Wall Street Journal reported: “The federal Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund rejected
an application from Mariane Pearl, widow of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter
murdered in 2002 by Islamic extremists in Pakistan.” But she is still pressing her case, according to The New York
I long ago made the argument that Pearl’s death was part of 9/11, though it did not happen on
that day, and should be so honored. Let me now suggest that the Journal volunteer to pay
what his widow and son might have received from the fund (nearly $2 million, tax-free).
Preferably, the payment should come out of the pockets of Peter Kann and
Karen Eliot House, the multimillionaire husband-wife team that runs
the Journal and its parent company, Dow Jones. They can afford it.
Kann, as chairman of the board, chief executive officer and editorial director of Dow Jones —
he is also the former publisher of the Journal — received total compensation of $9 million over
five years through 2000, according to forbes.com. His total compensation that year alone came to
$2.4 million, which is peanuts compared to 2003.
The Daily News reported last week that Kann received a 58 percent hike in pay, to
$2.1 million last year, plus an estimated $2.6 million in stock options, for total compensation of
$4.7 million. House, who took over from her husband as publisher of the Journal in July 2002,
“upped her pay to $877,000” last year, a raise of 32 percent, the Daily News reported.
The Journal has already set up a fund to help Daniel Pearl’s widow and young son. But
it’s not enough. Further helping to compensate them for their loss by paying what the 9/11 victim
fund would have paid might go a long way to earning some of the good will Kann and
House have lost among the overwhelming majority of the Journal staff.
Their hard-nosed attempt to reduce health benefits and hold down pay raises
have made them look like nasty penny-pinchers and worse
to Journal reporters, who are currently in negotiations with the company for a
new union contract. So I wouldn’t hold my breath. But maybe Kann and House
will prove me wrong. Showing good will to the Pearl family would certainly help
earn them the public’s good will.