By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
“When the strike does end, Universal/Sci-Fi will then decide whether they want to bring the show back or let us go. Until that time we are in first position with BSG and will have to clear any other project with Sci-Fi/Uni. They are about to get a lot of calls from SAG lawyers.”
I smell a brawl brewing.
THERE’S ANOTHER FIGHT in the making over what’s rapidly being perceived as Variety‘s anti-WGA articles. When the strike is over, and it will be one day far into the future, media critics may have a field day dissecting the slanted coverage and total fabrications Variety is reporting in these early days of the strike. But for now, I’ll do it.
How much longer is parent company Reed Business going to allow Variety to keep doing stories that purport to show that, just two weeks into the strike, the WGA’s resolve is withering, and/or its writers are going back to work, and/or even its late-show hosts are going to double-cross their scribes? Just one problem: Those stories are either totally fabricated or highly exaggerated, made worse by inflammatory headlines not borne out by the articles.
For instance, Monday’s Variety article by Dave McNary about the resumption of WGA-AMPTP talks contains this doozy: “But during the past week, WGA leaders were also quietly pressured by a number of high-profile screenwriters and showrunners to get back to the table.” Uh, Earth to McNary: It wasn’t the WGA but the AMPTP that kept refusing to go back into talks. Even his article about the joint WGA-AMPTP announcement that settlement talks would resume right after Thanksgiving was worded in such a way as to imply that the WGA has been refusing to go back to the bargaining table, instead of the other way around: “Striking writers have agreed to resume negotiations with studios and networks on Nov. 26.” The trade later changed its wording.
Needless to say, the scribes claim to be canceling their subscriptions en masse. How bad is the ill will? A striking writer e-mails me from the NBC picket line that Variety had boxes filled with issues delivered to the big protest outside NBC in Burbank where Democratic presidential contender John Edwards appeared. “Their plans may have gone a little awry. I saw stacks of Variety being tossed on the sidewalks, thrown into trash cans, torn up and stepped on by the picketers who, to a person (within my earshot at least) dissed the magazine and its skewed coverage.
“Variety seems to have forgotten that writers can read, too.”
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