Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Writers Guild of America takes strike into week two

(Article I did about the strike for the Dakota Student.)

It's the second week of the writers strike. Booooo. Hiss. For those of you who are reading about the strike for the first time (the newspaper has other things besides comic strips), the WGA has been on strike as of last week Monday, when studio heads refused to agree on negotiations to compensate writers for there work. The two main issues of the strike is, for writers to have residuals on DVD sales increase from 4 cents of every $19.99, to 8 cents. The second is the big one. The writers are looking to be compensated for the content being shown on new media (i.e. internet), in which they are receiving none at the moment.

Now that you are caught up, here is the update. The negotiations are still deadlocked as the studio execs are holding firm on their position. One of the major events happening from the rush of shows being shut down is layoffs. NBC has laid off 102 employees that work on the show "The Office". Many of those employees are not writers, but your average personal on a show (i.e. grips, lighting, etc.). Even with looming layoffs, many of these personnel are in support of the WGA's cause. These are one of the things networks are doing, in order to hurt the WGA's support. Layoffs such as these bring a lot of suspicion to the networks. Some argue that networks have been waiting for the strike, because it would give them an opportunity to layoff staff and cut personnel.

The networks clearly aren't going to play fair here. They've shown that they have no sympathy for the writers, which intern has spawned a barrage of attacks from the writers, in video form, that are being posted on the internet. "The Office" showrunner Greg Daniels, in "The Office" video said, "I encourage the company to send the lawyers in to write our episodes, because the lawyers are very creative...terming a full length airing of an episode, with paid for commercials online, a promo, it's really a good example of creativity and imagination."

In a video that "The Daily Show" writers posted in support of the strike, they point out their parent company (Viacom) and their lawsuit they have brought against Youtube, in which Viacom will sue Youtube for a billion dollars for putting their content on Youtube (which is free). The writers also point out the obvious gap in logic in the argument, when relating it to the writer's strike. "It's quite simple. When you're not paying him (Summer Redstone - CEO of Viacom), you owe him a billion dollars. When he's not paying you (i.e. the writers)...he's not paying you.", Jason Ross explains in a similar sarcastic Jon Stewart style.

The Simpson's writers, in their video, point out the similarity of Mr. Burns and Rupert Murdoch (CEO of NewsCorp which owns FOX). In which I completely see. "The Simpson's writers payed for Throne of Bones, the Mountain of Skulls that he sits on and the Lake of Blood that he bathes in." said the writers. Daniel Chun added, "In case anyone doesn't really know who's side their on. Here's a hint, the giant media empires are not the good guys. The multi-national media conglomerates are not the good guys."

It's very simple to take this as just something happening over there on the coasts, but this is something that must be called into attention. Many reasons why the coverage of the strike has been, for a lack of better words, flaccid, is quite obvious. Many of the news outlets are owned by the same companies of the studio's. It's as simple as Rupert Murdoch, telling FOX News not to report bad things about a president, because he likes him. The media won't cover something that is hurting the company that gives them money, even if it means looking the other way (which they have never done before) when faced with the strike. It's high time for the fans, and the people who will truly be affected by this strike (yes YOU), to stand up to these greedy networks and call foul. It's hard to bring people in support of the cause, because many of the shows are still running new episodes, but in due time, those episodes will run out. Then what will you watch? Survivor? American Idol? COPS re-runs? Not this guy.

To learn more and follow current developments visit

Link to article.

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