Hollywood Writer’s Strike is Rush Limbaugh’s Fault?


By: Warner Todd Huston

Hollywood’s Variety is wounded. They are upset that their buddies across the lines of the Hollyweird writer’s strike have written some mean things about them on the Internet and they are just cut to the quick over it all. Aghast, really. So, instead of dealing with this criticism, Variety decided that it’s all Rush Limbaugh’s fault because he has made “modern politics” so “poisonous.” I guess they really are so used to creating their own reality in La La Land that they don’t know their creation from God’s creation!

In “Strike fight rages on in a bubble,” Variety complains that this writer’s strike is getting ugly. But, it isn’t because unions are filled with thugs, loudmouths and the uncouth, no it’s because talk radio is filled with a bunch of meanies. I know, this absurd claim makes my head spin in amazement, too.

The Industry newser has been scanning the Internet to see what some of these petulant Writer’s are saying about them on message boards and they are not happy:

Scanning message boards and blogs uncovers all manner of allegations about kowtowing to corporate interests. The assumption is that those not fully following the Writers Guild’s script must be bowing to pressure from their ownership or currying favor among advertisers, with journalists lacking the spine to bite the hands that feed us.

Gosh. Imagine that? Someone impugning the integrity of the “news” folks out there. Of course, we have been doing it for a long time, but now even their left-wing pals are doing it. This insult must be too close to home, eh?

So, why is this all happening? Blame Rush!

In this way, strike rhetoric is oddly mirroring modern politics, where partisans now filter straight-ahead reporting through an “us vs. them” prism, seeking out accounts that buttress their views while shunning those that might challenge them.

This represents a relatively recent dynamic, fueled by the Rush Limbaugh era of talkradio, cable news and the Internet, which barely existed during the last strike in 1988. It’s an especially poisonous environment when applied to this fracas, since talent and the studios must eventually reunite once the saber-rattling and marching ends, whereas political combatants (or at least their public mouthpieces) are now locked in a state of perpetual warfare, the better to spice up the give and take on “Hannity & Colmes.”

So, did Variey just NOW notice that unions brook with no dissenting views? Have they never known that union thugs get a tad upset when their bombast and wind is denied as God’s honest truth?

Then the Entertainment Paper lays it on the line. We, all of us who have principles and ideals that we want to promulgate, are living in a “bubble.” And, that bubble has “noxious air” inside it keeping us from being reasonable. We conservatives are always “encouraging hostility toward ‘mainstream’ media” and just don’t understand how fair and balanced the MSM really is.

Gosh we’re stupid.

And then Variety pleads with their left-wing pals in the writer’s strike by reminding them that they are of a feather…

At the risk of sounding defensive, then, it’s time for a reality check before writers’ collective persecution complex shifts into overdrive: Just as reporters are generally permissive on social issues (a common conservative harangue, rejecting the possibility of setting aside personal opinion to report objectively), print journalists’ natural impulse is to side with writers, inasmuch as we earn our living bent over keyboards too.

See. They ADMIT to being left-wingers! And that admission comes after they scold us eeeevil conservatives for attacking them for being left-wingers! Man, two head turners in the same story.

But, all that being said, I have to endorse Variety’s last section that serves to scold the entertainment industry, both sides, for not seeing reality. So, while, the paper itself has a bit of trouble seeing reality, they did catch a fleeting glimpse of it near the end. Here are the last few paragraphs of the piece, the only ones that ring true in the whole thing:

Based on those factors — as well as Hollywood labor history, where post-strike deals seldom mollify anyone — the notion that the studios will suddenly crumble to restore harmony is the sort of magical thinking normally reserved for stage versions of Peter Pan.

Notably, “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof touched upon several of these points in a New York Times op-ed Sunday that bolstered the studios’ case as much as the guild’s. In it, he referenced fears that the traditional TV model is “dying” and experiencing a transformation that’s “nothing short of terrifying” — concerns this season’s tepid TV ratings have surely reinforced.

Given that uncertainty, both sides are in a sense negotiating from a position of weakness. It’s just that the conglomerates are loath to publicly acknowledge their vulnerability, lest they send stockholders scrambling to more stable investments.

This “All is well” bravado from studios since the writers walked has made execs look callously indifferent to the strike’s collateral damage. The guild, by contrast, effectively started stressing middle-class writers’ plight but has overreached with misguided flourishes like Jesse Jackson’s opportunistic appearance at last week’s Fox rally, couching what’s fundamentally a financial clash in civil-rights vernacular.

In such distressing times, the cathartic urge to lash out is understandable. With thanks to Aaron Sorkin, though (but sorry, no residuals), shooting the messenger isn’t a sign of toughness, but merely a tip-off that you can’t handle the truth.

Now that was good stuff. With the onset of cable and satellite, TV is not the powerhouse it once was and audiences are shattered and spread hither and yon. The days of millions upon millions of viewers for any particular show seem long gone. And the movie industry isn’t making cash much any more as so-called stars rape the industry for tall paychecks before a show even hits the theaters. Pile on top of that the emerging video medium on the Internet and we get so much competition for eyeballs that neither the entertainment industry, nor the writers have much ground from which to negotiate. Both have a dwindling pie and neither can expect the big money that Hollywood used to deliver its successful people of the past. Well, at least not the obscene wealth it once delivered.

The golden goose has been cooked and it’s about time they all realized it.

But, remember… it’s all Rush Limbaugh’s fault!

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