More media-complicit spin

by Paul William Tenny

Tired of strike stuff? Tough, I'm going to keep repeating myself until this fact is stuck firmly in the minds of everyone that is pissed because their favorite shows are now off the air. From Michael Hinman at Sy Fy Portal:

We have the writers on one side, who feel they are being left out of the whole new technology game. We have the studios on the other side, who feel they are being asked to pay for something when no money is being made.

Yes, I know it's almost impossible to boil down the entire Writers Guild of America strike in two sentences, but that's basically how the people who are paying attention to all of this are seeing it. And don't misread what I am writing here ... I'm not talking about everyone, or even general television audiences. I'm talking about select audiences -- people like you -- who are even paying half a mind to what's going on with the strike.

The writers are correct because the big media companies are for the most part either refusing to pay writers for online streaming and downloads, or are offering them fractions of pennies on the dollar. That's a fact, and you can't spin your way around it.
Big media's "side" is dishonest and borderline lying and has been debunked repeatedly. When people like Hinman (whom I hold no animosity) repeat what "both sides say" leaving you to judge for yourself what is true and what is not is a terrible disservice. The entire point of us being up here on the soapbox is so we can examine these issues in detail so that you don't have to.

So we can tell you who is full of shit and who isn't.

Explaining quickly while I still have your attention: writers are not demanding a fixed rate fee for new media, they are demanding a percentage -- a very small one at that, somewhere under 3%. Compare that to the 0.2% they get from a DVD sale and it's not hard to see who is being greedy in this equation and who is just fighting for a fair deal.

When the studios and networks make money off of new media, the writers make x% of that, making it flatly impossible for big media to owe writers money when big media isn't making any money themselves. It's in the numbers people, if big media isn't making money from downloads and streaming, then neither will writers.

Percentages are fair, and what the specific percentage will be is certainly up for debate, even though the big media companies have thus far refused to consider any percentage at all.

So Michael and the rest of the pseudo-press (which includes me), can we stop doing a disservice to the public by simply repeating "what one side says, and then what the other side says, and you make up your mind"? The world doesn't need more stenographers, it needs people who can examine the issues and write about reality.

Think about it, if both sides are saying contradictory things, then one side is lying. Plain and simple. And everyone who simply repeats what both sides are saying is repeating those lies to the public. That's wrong, and it has got to stop.

Call me biased against the studios and networks if you want but you can hardly avoid that appearance in situations like this. Two sides are saying different things and generally speaking only one of them can be right at any given time. When it's obvious that it's big media who are distorting the truth to gain public favor which stands in stark contrast to the numbers and reality, it's not biased to point that out.

It's our job.
in Digital Media, Labor


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