12/18/2007

(Real) AMPTP Attempts Humor, Fails

In nominating the WGA for "worst supporting union," the AMPTP's PR machine revealed its newest tactic: snarky bitchery! A reader replied in kind and sent us this:

In the category of Best Negotiator Ever, the nominee is Nick Counter. This modern hero has done everything humanly possible to end the strike. As if keeping the studios from making a good faith economic proposal wasn't enough, Counter has even gone so far as to WALK AWAY from the bargaining table completely, not once, but twice. While the refusal to negotiate (which Topher Lehane referred to as "a, like, totally sweet plan" in his senior quote) continues to hurt writers, below the-line crew, their families, the Los Angeles region, advertisers and company shareholders, we applaud Nick Counter's bravery in demanding that absolutely no new talks take place until the WGA has submitted to several unreasonable ultimatums. Then, and only then, can true negotiations begin.

22 comments:

Patrick Meighan said...

This little joke of theirs was no less frivolous (and far, far lamer) than the studio exorcism they keep pounding us over.

It looks like the AMPTP should do a little less joke writing, and a little more sittin' at the negotiating table (which, lest we forget, *they* walked away from [twice!]).

The whole town is waiting, AMPTP. Give us a Christmas miracle: come back to the negotiating table!

Patrick Meighan
Culver City, CA

embers said...

Well I can understand the complaints about the exorcism, because clearly it wasn't effective. The AMPTP does make it obvious that they are unable to hire any scab writers!

LKB said...

LOL.
I had to go to their website to see for myself and was delighted by their tickers and factoids. I especially liked the "an average writer makes more than an airline pilot" nugget. Umm, OK. And? What does the average CEO make? What does that assmaggot Nick Counter make to do nothing more than decimate on our business? Are they in any position to wring their hands about peoples' salaries? Really, Les? STFU.

Hey, AMPTP: this is YOUR fault and the whole world is getting wind of it. Get serious about negotiating and get the town back to work. You're wasting money/time on petty bullshit when you could be doing something productive. It won't be long till the boycotts start.

Hercules Poirot said...

C'mon, who gives a fuck about what the ARMPIT does?

these folks try to downplay the fact that they're conglomerates-competitors, violating
US anti trust laws which forbid monopoly and unfair business practises.


They say if writers are united so can we. Well we're are a Union recognized and protected by US Labor Law.

And in case your big shot lawyers or creepy PR people don't know Labor Unions are exempt from Anti trust laws.

We're not multinationals sabotaging free trade, we're workers exercising our hard earned rights.

For those of you who like to read

log on

to the Department of Justice/Anti trust Division and read cute Anti trust case filings.

http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases.html

and for those of you who can't read (a.k.a ARMPIT):

Newsflash. Lusitania SANK!

embers said...

lkb: that is the average WORKING writer, because although using 'average' is fuzzy math (a handful make a lot and most who are working are making barely enough to get health insurance). The AMPTP's figures on purposely cut out the majority of the members of the WGA. The writers who are NOT working, and need their residuals to tide them over, or provide them with retirement benefits. So while ALL airline pilots get health benefits and retirement, that is really not true for writers, and will be less true as the 'new media' becomes the norm.

WriterWrong said...

While the AMPTP's latest attempt at humor is alright, I think it pales in comparison to their HILARIOUS "$250/yr. Internet residual!" gag. I'm still laughing about that one.

Shawn said...

Nothing's funny now.
The AMPTP.com site was brilliant, but now, after that, nothing's funny.

Lives are being aversely affected. The longer this strike lasts, the longer it's going to take for the town to recover. There will be a lot of BTL workers still jobless, a lot of writers will be without jobs with all the cancelled shows, businesses will have been lost, agents and executives will be without jobs.

This is the reality. The AMPT, as well as all the writers, know this, and know that the CEOs want to get rid of people and "cut costs" before doing anything about the strike.

Thank you Peter Chernin!

Michael said...

hercules poirot:

While you're posting links, you also might want to check out the NLRB rulings which specifically permit these corporations to negotiate collectively without running afoul of anti-trust law.

cgeye said...

Okay, I was a fool and stayed up to watch the SPAN regarding the capitulation of the FCC regarding media ownership rules.

This fatuous commissioner named Robert McDowell starts nattering on about how media consolidation is actually media divestiture -- they must sell a tiny fraction of their stations, in order to pursue more profitable opportunities. (Michael Copps, in making his earlier remarks, warned that a reading of Orwell was necessary to understand the ongoing doubletalk. Boy, was he right.) McDowell, this smug bribed balloon in a suit, went on to claim that since the internet exists, large media companies are hobbled by not buying every newspaper, TV and radio station in sight, because double-digit newspaper profits are just so yesterday.

Okay.

The most innovative media outlets have the least regulation, he said. Oh. He obviously overlooked the child porn regs, the spam regs, the declining net neutrality caused by *lack* of regulation, the warrantless wiretapping of the pipes oligarchally run by heavily-regulated telcos (who yesterday cried for retroactive immunity, for crimes committed for their Administration friends)?

So, the FCC is sympathetic to media conglomerates who demand regulatory and statutory relief on media ownership bans because they want the freedom and potential cash of the internet.... while the AMPTP is sympathetic to media conglomerates who wish to abrogate all their union contracts, because they feel stifled by worker demands to share profits from the fly-by-night, unquantifiable potential profit... of the internet.

Please, please, somebody get the feed of this hearing off C-SPAN tonight, before it fades away, and compare and contrast what the hell the conservative FCC members claim on behalf of their media overlords, versus what the AMPTP claims on behalf of its big macher members. I think we have your shareholder firestarter, right there....

Michael said...

cgeye: were the executives at the FCC hearings discussing internet distribution of scripted entertainment specifically? 'Cause then, it's something. But if they're talking about newspapers and radio and television station ownership in general (since scripted entertainment is only a small part of the television business, and it's a part that's getting smaller, since other formats are expanding faster), then probably not really contradictory.

Ilike2think said...

Maybe the AMPTP can make a reality show out of this.

"Hollywood Crashes and Burns While They Try To Break The Unions"

Contestants (scabs) can show how they can bust the WAG by writing substandard scripts that will make it on air but totally piss off the public.

The object is to see how fast they can shut down the major networks.

Grand Prize goes to the scab that can get the most hate mail

Poirot said...

to Michael:

"the NLRB rulings specifically permit these corporations to negotiate collectively without running afoul of anti-trust law"

That is when they don't run afoul of anti-trust law NOT when they're over their heads with violations of that law.

ChuckT said...

How's this for humor:

"An interesting detail from the WSJ's strike coverage: network execs are looking at off-shoring more TV production in order to tap foreign, non-union writers to script shows. Media conglomerates like Viacom, Time Warner and NBC U have substantial cable operations abroad, and the networks import and export reality and game show formats like Endemol's "Big Brother" and "Fear Factor" all over the world.

The diversification has major advantages: Because it licenses nearly all of its primetime dramas from Mexico's Grupo Televisa, Spanish-language broadcaster Univision has been unaffected by the writer's strike. It also probably has lower writers' costs."
From allyinsider.com

Now THAT's funny!! LoL.

Dave said...

Will SAG members cross picket lines to work on shows scripted by foreign (i.e. non union) writers? If so, this strike is doomed to fail...if not, there is a chance the writers will get what they want.

PaperCut said...

If you really want to find something humorous on the AMPTP's site, it's extremely amusing how certain sections of the site that have been used against the organization have been re-labeled and/or relocated to de-emphasize blatant misrepresentations and obscure disadvantageous facts.

For example, the "FAQ" section, formerly at the top of the site, has been re-labeled "WGA Strike FAQ" and buried at the bottom of the page. Of course, the FAQ doesn't address the strike at all, just encourages WGA members to break with their union and cross picket lines, but it is supposedly meant to no longer look as though that is the AMPTP's sole purpose. Technically, it still is, of course, but at least the link's a little harder to find, now.

The "About Us" page, with the link to member companies has also been buried at the bottom of the page, no doubt due to the fact that it has been used so many times to point out the the six giant corporations are not, in fact, the only members of the organization. The list is still there, of course, but you have to work to find it.

Pretty soon, the AMPTP site will consist of a logo, a hundred "how much money the strike is costing [insert profession here] counters, and a giant "Click Here to Cross the WGA picket line" button.

Gentlemen, start your browsers...

Michael said...

poirot:

Yes, but the NLRB exemption allows them to share lots of financial information with each other as necessary for collective bargaining. For the anti-trust charge to stick, you'd have to find evidence that, for instance, while sharing financial data for the purposes of these negotiations, WB and Paramount also agreed (just as an example) not to pay JJ Abrams more than a million dollars for his next script. *That* would be collusion in this instance.

H. Poirot said...

To Michael:

Exactly.

When they all get together and agree get that they will not pay writers more than $250(!!!)for unlimited use of their content online, a one time payment, that is collusion. That is violation of Anti trust law.

Michael said...

Hercules, I wish you were right but you are wrong. That's exactly, by definition, what the collective bargaining exemption allows. How, exactly, do you interpret the NLRB exemption if it isn't for the purpose of establishing standard compensation scales? (Particularly since, in the example you use, the $250 would be a non-binding minimum-- if a writer's agent could successfully negotiate for something higher, the studio wouldn't be prevented by the AMPTP from paying more) If they established a $1 million minimum instead of a $250 would you still think that's an anti-trust violation?

I recommend you read some law books.

Manda said...

I just had to check out this latest "breaking news" for myself on AMPTP's site (for the record, I continue to be amazed and appalled by their entire attitude to this strike) and whilst explaining the situation to my partner he noticed the counters ticking away on the site and said to me, "What's that? Is that their bank accounts going up?"

Seriously AMPTP, get back to the table and negotiate a deal already.

Hercules said...

Dear Michael,

Writing is a 100% creative job, it's not equal to the job of an office clerk or factory worker. In these jobs you have to have standards, minimun wages etc

A writer's job is counted by the appeal it has to the society in which we live in and by the money it produces for the employer.

And ofcourse the studios and networks are a select few and it's a fact they have made a trust

( not according to me but according to all working creators writers, actors and directors)

to exclude competition from new companies ,

to cut productions costs

and to have more profits which they will share among them.

And that's why we have a few studios instead of a thousand and
6 ruling mega media corprorations.

Please tell me, without opening your law books,would there be any production without writers, actors and directors?

Therefor this job which is creative and not a job done by anyone, must be measured and paid differently.

And each creator be it a writer or an actor must be free to negotiate his intellectually property depending on the money he brings to the studio or company for which he works for. There can be no standard compensation scale here.

It is unthinkable to have profitable Conglomerates who clearly depend on us and our creative work for their prosperity on one hand and starving writers,directors and actors on the other.

And another question when a movie or tv program costs millions, and you don't pay the writer, the director or the actors

who gets paid? Where do all the money go???

The simple mind is above the science of the law.

The law is used accordingly by those who want to rip off the creators and establish racketeer and corrupt organizations.

Lawyers ,in this otherwise democratic State, are paid astronomical amounts which means no creator can afford to even think about hiring their services.

I suggest you keep your law books, read them again and again and I will hold my creation and negotiate it for whatever I see fit.


Love,

Hercules

Michael said...

Hercules, all I'm saying is that if you're going to accuse companies of violating anti-trust law, you should, you know, learn something about anti-trust law. Sorry if that seems unwriter-ly to you!

Poirot said...

to Michael:

If you're ignorant I forgive you!

But if you have any legal knowledge and still insist on your posts, I feel sorry for you...