Stop Hurting America Redux: Free The Daily Show

This is a follow up to my article proposing that the WGA negotiate individually with the production companies of The Daily Show and other comedy talk programs that feature current affairs issues: Stop Hurting America: The WGA And The Daily Show

In that article I made the argument that some of these programs contribute so much to public discourse that their absence was measurably harmful:

“While news programs continue spewing their corporatist, insider views of presidential politics throughout the strike, programs like The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, David Letterman, Saturday Night Live, etc., have become silent. This is not a trivial matter. Many of these programs have assumed a unique role in our culture by highlighting the absurd quirks and contradictions of our politicians and press. The light these programs shine on the political landscape is nowhere countervailed in the dimwitted din of the so-called Mainstream Media.”

“The tenor of our times is too tense to leave to the addle-brained punditry of CNN, Fox, et al. What’s coming round the bend of civic life in America needs to be reviewed and regurgitated by the creative minds that gave us Mess O’Potamia and ClusterF@$k To The White House.”

The day after I posted that article Patric Verrone, the president of the WGA, floated exactly the sort of proposal I was advocating:

“If any of these companies want to come forward and bargain with us individually, we think we can make a deal,”

Well, tomorrow it is going to be made official. The Guild has announced that they intend to invoke a legal right to force producers to bargain with them individually rather than as a group.

“In a letter sent to members on Saturday, negotiators for the Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West said: ‘Each signatory employer is required to bargain with us individually if we make a legal demand that it do so. We will make this demand on Monday.'”

“The writers’ move was aimed at breaking what has been, at least in public, a united front by a small number of media conglomerates – General Electric, News Corporation, Sony, Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, Viacom and CBS – whose entertainment units dominate the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, an industry bargaining group.”

That “small number of media conglomerates” is dominating a lot more than an industry bargaining group. They overwhelm our social consciousness, polluting our sources of entertainment and information with propaganda and commercialism. This tactic by the writers is encouraging on several levels. It hits Big Media at the core of their strength by dismantling the monolithic front that they use to batter down opponents. It empowers responsible production companies that want to fairly compensate their creative personnel and takes them out from under the shadow of their bigger brothers who never had their interests at heart in the first place.

Most importantly, for those of us concerned about keeping a tighter chain on our politicians and press as we get deeper into the campaign season, it provides hope for a return of The Daily Show and its peers. Every day that passes is a missed opportunity to reveal something new and scandalous that will probably be ignored by the Conventional Media.


2 thoughts on “Stop Hurting America Redux: Free The Daily Show

  1. David Letterman’s up for this. Read about it here.

    I’m all for it. My husband’s a WGA member who pickets regularly, and I’ve also written for TV. We’re going broke, but we fully support this idea.

    In 1988, when they were wondering if cable would be the “next big thing”, we blew it. Hopefully we won’t stop this time until we get a reasonable result.

    Thanks for this post.

    • I think that the more producers that deal independent of the AMPTP the less leverage the Alliance has. As the Alliance falls apart they are more likely to come to terms with the writers. This could expedite the end of the strike.

      Good luck to you and stay strong.

Comments are closed.