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Sunday, November 18, 2007

The WGA Strike (and responding to that awful Triangle op-ed)

I don't know haw many of you read the op-ed in The Triangle (syndicated from U. Kentucky's paper) about the WGA strike, but it was so bad I felt compelled to respond. At first I wrote up a very harsh letter to the editor, but after realizing that there it would be two weeks before the next issue, and nobody would care/remember the op-ed, I let it drop. Plus, it was a little unnecessarily harsh (On the boneheaded author, not the good staff at The Triangle.) Besides, students at his own school have already rebuked Mr. Nolan in his own school paper. I did want to respond here though.

I knew immediately what I was in for as I read the first the second paragraph: "Social Security is on the brink of collapse..." Ugh. Really? You think so? Is that the level of insight we should expect from the rest of this piece? Against my better judgment, I read the rest of the thing.

Click "There's more..." for a brief recap of the column and some funny videos about why you should support the strike too.

Mr. Nolan's entire column is argued from the premise that WGA members are all Hollywood fatcats who should be thanking their lucky stars for their jobs, not striking and hurting the poor studios. Yeah, I'm not making that up. He is apparently completely unaware of the issues and facts involved with the writers strike. He makes no argument against giving writers residuals, and ignores the crushing weight of common sense and fairness that calls for people to get paid for their work.

At issue is how much writers get paid in residuals for their work, and how much they get paid for their work that goes on the internet. This video is a great explanation of the writers' quarrels.

Here is a very funny video from The Daily Show writers that explains some of the issues in classic Daily Show style (albeit on a sidewalk).

Mr. Nolan would be well advised to do a little research before he passes sweeping moral judgments in print.

Here are the CEO pay and corporate profits of the media companies. For comparison, if ALL of the WGA demands are fulfilled, it will cost the media companies about $60 million (with an m) dollars, combined.
Time Warner:
Revenues—$44 billion
Profit—$6.53 billion
CEO Richard Parsons’ 2006 pay: $12. 95 million. Five-year pay haul: $45.36 million. Stock options value: $14.2 million (at April 2007 prices)

Revenues—$35 billion
Profit—$4.34 billion
CEO Robert Iger’s 2006 pay: $29.93 million plus $8.8 million stock options

News Corp.:
Revenues--$26.74 billion
Profit—$3.34 billion
Boss Rupert Murdoch’s 2006 pay: $25.91 million. Five-year pay haul: $86.42 million. Stock: since he owns the company, his stock is worth $8.7 billion

Revenues—$14.32 billion
Profit—$1.66 billion
CEO Leslie Moonves 2006 pay: $24.86 million. Five-year pay haul: $63.43 million. Stock options: $30 million.

Visit the WGA strike website for updates about the strike, and videos from supporting actors and writers explaining why they need to strike.