04/05/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

CBS's Priorities Stink

The week after CBS Television accepted an anti-abortion 30-second advocacy commercial in the Super Bowl featuring Heisman-Trophy-winning Florida State quarterback Tim Tebow, CBS News was reported to be on the verge of laying off an estimated 100 people in its news operation.

More money from controversial advocacy commercials, but less money for CBS News, which includes its crown jewel 60 Minutes. These priorities stink.

And the last reported compensation for CBS's CEO Les Moonves was almost $21 million in 2008. Lay off news people and take a controversial ad from a conservative anti-abortion group so it can afford to pay the boss $20 million? That must make people who work at CBS really want to hold their heads up high and motivate them to work ever so much harder -- to win one for the Gipper.

No wonder that in the February 8 issue of FORTUNE in which it publishes its annual list of "The 100 Best Companies to Work For" there are no old-line media companies on the list. A new media company, Google, is number four on the list (down from number one last year).

According to Fortune, most people in America would rather work at Wegman's Food Markets,, Whole Foods, Starbucks, or Nordstrom than old media companies such as Disney (ABC and ESPN), CBS, NBC Universal, News Corp. (Fox), Viacom, Time Warner, or any movie company, entertainment company, or music company.

These old media companies treat their line employees like they treat their audiences -- like dirty dogs -- and it makes their employees and audiences mean and ungrateful.

Americans hate and distrust the media almost as much as they do used car salesmen and politicians. The media they hate refers mostly to news media that don't mirror their point of view and the politicians they hate applies to those who don't reflect their views.

If media companies want to get back their reputations and their audiences, they might think about changing their priorities, starting with how they treat their employees and their audiences. How about beginning by respecting them both? Putting audiences and employees ahead of profits or CEOs' salaries?