Al Sharpton

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

When I saw that the 2008 rate for a speech by Larry Summers was $45,000 to $135,000, I got to thinking.

Out of curiosity, I started prowling the various Web sites of speakers' bureaus and came to six conclusions:

  1. It seems everybody in the world is available for speeches. Included are political and show business stars, second and third bananas, and hundreds upon hundreds of people I never heard of.
  2. All of these people—luminaries and nobodies—get fees from $1,000 to $1 million, plus expenses.
  3. I used to make a lot of speeches, and all I ever got was expenses and a plaque with my name engraved on it.
  4. I was a damned fool. I was as much a nobody as anybody else and could've picked up some dough if I'd just asked.
  5. If someone invites you to make a speech, think about asking for an honorarium at the very least, if not a fat fee, plus expenses. For Colin Powell, expenses include a private jet along with his $100,000 fee.
  6. The worst that can happen is that no money in the budget exists for fees or expenses. If you refuse, someone will replace you.

Don Imus—and his producer, Bernard McGuirk—have a long history of using the airwaves for sexism, racism, gay bashing and borderline slander of people and organizations that crossed them or whom they simply found to be irritating. Management would wince, but always give Imus a pass, because of the gorgeous lucre he brought in annually—a reported $22 million to CBS Radio and $8 million for MSNBC. When he stepped over the line with his gratuitous slur of the Rutgers women’s championship basketball team, Imus was suspended for two weeks by MSNBC and CBS radio, which carried him on more than 60 stations. The CEOs figured

Prexy pilloried for a speech nobody read "When an individual assumes certain positions of public responsibility, we require him to place his financial assets in a blind trust. We do this in order that he not profit personally from his office. When an individual assumes the presidency of a great university, we require him to place his testicles in a blind trust. We do this in order that he not rebel against the dictates of political correctness." --Roger Kimball "Dr. West and Mr. Summers: A Harvard Tale--Cornel West vs. Larry Summers" National Review, January 28, 2002 The resignation of Conrad K. Harper--distinguished New York

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