1/11/2008

Congloms Try Dirty Tricks

Deadline Hollywood is amassing a truly appalling list of ways in which the moguls are trying to lie, cheat and smear their way out of the mess that their greed has created.

Here's a quick rundown of my personal faves (reprinted from DHD):
  • AMPTP staffers, consultants and members (especially corporate publicity departments) are busily posting comments on WGA-friendly websites and blogs that Hollywood visits regularly and filling them with hate-filled rants against the WGA leadership, the A-list actors, and the companies who've made WGA side deals. The goal is to turn off readers and drive traffic away and in the process spread pro-AMPTP propaganda and make it look as if the strike is breaking apart.

  • News Corp. No. 2 Peter Chernin realized the AMPTP was losing the PR war and was most responsible for bringing in Fabiani and Lehane as the AMPTP's public affairs consultants since his company has a close relationship with them. Fabiani and Lehane were paid by News Corp. to orchestrate a 2004 campaign organizing advocacy groups by race and ethnicity to hammer Nielsen Media Research over its plans to modernize how it measures viewing habits.

  • Warner Bros Chairman Barry Meyer has handpicked the AMPTP paid mouthpieces who have spread the AMPTP's insults and disinformation about the WGA leadership.

  • The other day, an AMPTP consultant tried to start a rumor that a WGA exec was connected to child pornography.
  • The AMPTP repeatedly lies that the WGA has "a $30 million PR fund" to spread public information about the strike when the reality is that the WGA's entire communications budget is several hundred thousand dollars.
It's an open secret is that, for these guys, no matter what happens -- even if they get fired for running their corporations into the ground -- they'll still get huge severance packages that make them rich, and in effect reward them for having completely and totally screwed up. (This has become the standard for corporate business, not just in Hollywood. Home Depot and Countrywide Financial Corp are the poster children at the moment, just like Ovitz was in 1996.)

They don't care if they burn the whole town down to win. That much is obvious. And watching their irresponsible and very un-business like behavior while the entertainment industry is in crisis is both infuriating and disheartening. How can we win? people ask.

Here's how we can win, here's what's vital to remember: these guys are managers of publicly held companies.

Wall Street matters. Stockholders matter. And collusion and anti-trust laws matter too.

People are starting to talk about this in print -- questioning moguls who are putting their own personal vendettas and greed above the good of the companies they manage. And as more ad revenue is returned, and more bad press on the moguls' intractability comes out, this conversation is going to get louder and louder. Or as the meon article says about Iger: "Why then does he allow the AMPTP to dictate policy on behalf of Disney’s shareholders, employees, and customers?"

There are politicians paying attention to this, here and in Washington. And as the moguls tank a vital part of California's economy, they will start doing something. They aren't going to have a choice.

The point is this: it doesn't matter that the CEO's don't care. They aren't kings. The shareholders are more powerful, and the truth is, all we are asking for is a fair deal that the companies can easily afford. Politicians are powerful, and the AMPTP doesn't own all of them.

The more evidence piles up in the public eye that we're reasonable and fair, and that they're frankly acting like spoiled children, the sooner this will end with a fair deal for Internet work. IT'S ABOUT THE INTERNET.

As we move forward, the dirty tricks on their side will continue, and as they keep losing ground those tricks will become more shrill and crazed (although how much more crazed you can get than accusing someone of child pornography, I'm not sure.) We have to stay strong, stay focused, and recognize the moguls' behavior for what it is: desperation.

8 comments:

deuddersun said...

Just curious. Does anyone know where Ahnold Schwartzenmuscle, the Governator, stands on this?

d.

Geo Rule said...

So NBC, after firing the entire staff of SNL, then called the SNL writers who were going to appear on Letterman and threatened them that if they did they wouldn't be rehired after the strike was over?

Wow, just wow. That's some seriously twisted power play right there. "We've already fired you, yet you must STILL do as we say! Mwahaha." Did he twirl his moustache tips when he did it? He really should have.

B said...

I support the strike but if these are the best you can do for dirty tricks then all they do is show that the AMPTP is every bit as lame as we know them to be.

The only really awful thing is the child porn and - if true - it sounds like some two bit consultant went overboard. The current political campaigns have been full of people who did something to impress the boss or spoke out of hand - let's concentrate on the real evil, it's bad enough.

mheister said...

I've been following Nikki Finke's blog pretty religiously for a few weeks now, and the shills posting ridiculous comments have been rather obvious.

There's no subtlety in their prose. No sense of how to handle the nuances of subterfuge. No style.

In the irony department, the shills flung their poo in responses to Finke's post about the shills flinging poo.

Bonnie said...

these boys -- and i do mean boys -- are all about their egos. they were losers in high school and they're still pathetic losers. look at ben silverman's statement about the globes. we're ruining his prom. you've gotta be kidding. this guy's intelligence hasn't progressed past the sandbox. the boys are are willing to drag down the industry, the city, the state -- the nation. that tells you how big much they think the internet is worth.

James said...

Not rehiring them if thety appear in support of WGA? Is that a violation of their right to "form, join or assist" a labor organization under the National Labor Relations Act?

ReelBusy said...

Very well said but takes too long to explain in an elevator.How's this for a faster headline/talking point: "Studio Nero's Fiddle While Hollywood Burns."

Willie said...

I've had some rough moments with money getting really tight but, damn, do we have so little belief in our cause or so little ability to clearly make our case that postings by shills could damage us?  We are just and right and we will triumph - spend positive energy on things that will help us rather than calling out shill.