OK, maybe Yellow Journalism is a nebulous term. But it sure ain't responsible journalism and it reeks of AMPTP propaganda.
Leaks are all over the media about a tentative agreement with the WGA. Yet the media blackout is still on. The WGA has made no announcement to members yet. The WGA members have yet to consider, discuss, or vote for any agreement. They don't even know what it is. So how can the media possibly responsibly report that an agreement has been reached, unless all the WGA terms have been met. Even so, it's a low AMPTP tactic to pressure writers to accepting whatever it is.
The word is out in supposedly responsible media, like th NY Times (an AMPTP related subsidiary no doubt) that an agreement has been reached.
What happens now if WGA members don't like what the terms are? They have now been put into a pressured position by the media to agree to end the strike. This release makes it all appear on their shoulders, even before anyone knows the terms, even before formal talks have resumed. They're still in informal talks, right?
What a load of AMPTP propaganda media agenda setting bullshit.
This could be a news release that went out over a news service and got picked up, or maybe AMPTP people affiliated with big media planted the stories. The story itself is one of all rumors. There are no credible people making statements. No names at all. Just "sources".
So the act of publishing this before writers have a chance to even look at it will create lots of hope which will then be dashed once writers see what the deal really is, or if there is one. That will demoralize writers and stack public opinion against them, especially public opinion of people being hurt by the strike.
Like they say, there isn't anything legal on paper yet. There is no fine print to examine and check for loopholes. the talks are still informal. Until there is something legal on paper, there is no deal. It is wrong to print anything about a deal until that point. These media stories are pure propaganda and the lowest form of yellow journalism.
Here's what UnitedHollywood.com has to say about it:
Mark Evanier provides some very wise precautionary words on his blog News From Me, putting what's happening in negotiations in the context of past strike experiences. Here's an excerpt:
... it's a fine, even prudent idea to not get one's hopes too high. It is a not uncommon negotiating technique to get the other side into the mindset that the deal is done, and then to throw in a last second demand. In past WGA-AMPTP contracts, negotiating has even continued after the deal was made and ratified. Weeks, even months after the '81, '85 and '88 strikes were settled and work resumed, reps from the studio side were still arguing over what had been agreed to, insisting that their notes said we'd agreed to X when we were certain we'd consented to Y. And even when we all agree on what we all agreed upon, we can't always agree on the interpretation of some clauses and codicils.....
From Nikki Finke's DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com:
....United Hollywood, the unofficial website for WGA info, says: "UH has confirmed from off-the-record sources that progress is indeed being made in the informal talks, and that creative solutions to the biggest differences between the AMPTP and the WGA have gotten the tentative and cautious approval of both sides. This does not mean there is a deal in principle yet. It means we may, finally, be very close to one -- as close as days away. And while we're cautiously optimistic about what we're hearing, it comes with a real caveat.
Skip to the comments to find the following, apparently from a pro screenwriter. Regardless of who it's from, it makes a lot of sense. Most of the other comments are likely from anonymous studio shills.
Anybody else notice that nobody is posting under real names here any more? I am a journalist turned TV/screenwriter and now a strike captain in the East and I am trying to buck the trend (please be kind).
I know this much is true: anyone leaking information to Nikki, or Michael Cieply, or anyone is guilty of violating the media blackout. They might just really want to be the Selfless Citizen (or Important Source) who Gets The Real News Out First, but my experience as a journalist tells me that — even if they DO have the insider information they claim — they have an AGENDA.
To me the situation is simple: You can’t be “almost” settled, any more than a woman can be “almost” pregnant. And dangling these kinds of rumors may get some people’s hopes up to make them more desperate to settle. That is at least one agenda here. Especially with stories like the LA TImes’ focusing on below-the-line workers’ anger.
If anything has been consistent during the strike, it has been the efforts to divide and conquer the guild. And the way the press works, they’re excited by squabbles, so they will publish an op-ed by a one-man political party ( John Ridley), or pick up on an email from John Wells and turn it into an official reaction to try to stir the pot. This site, for all its intentions, has also fomented flaming and bitchiness, much of it under the cloak of anonymity. And it was, conveniently or not, on hiatus when the plan went down that everyone predicted — the quick deal with the nonstriking DGA as a slap in the face to those of us on the picket lines.
The United Hollywood site has provided writers a forum to voice their support when rumors of schisms were touted, and to voice honest caution in the face of rampant email, blog, and even print journalism all rushing to be the first to say the deal is done.
I am certainly not in favor of anyone being out of work any longer, but it would be asinine and suicidal for the writers to now explode their just quest for a fair deal thanks to some mind-fuck of an endgame.
Comment by David Handelman