Media Solidarity

by digby

Atrios and Matt Stoller make a good point about how the press is covering the WGA strike. And it just proves how corporate values rule the media. After all, the strikers in this case are fellow members of the media themselves, and yet they're getting hostile coverage. And likewise, many of the news people who are covering them are in unions too. There can be no reasons other than corporate pressure to explain the hostility or the fact the strike is being virtually blacked out in the local press despite stars and political activists showing up to picket along with ordinary Americans.

On Saturday, New York stagehands went out on strike as well, closing the Broadway shows. Read this article to get a sense of just how slanted the coverage is. It's one long extended whine about how the poor tourists are being denied their shows, quoting the theater management at length and not even addressing the reasons for the strike until the 12th paragraph. After a few cryptic quotes from the union they are back to talking about how the whole thing "doesn't sit well" with the public.

It has become conventional wisdom among many, having been led by a media with a dog in the fight, that unions are bad for America. As I noted in a recent post, you have people like Jim Cramer going on TV screaming and spitting at the top of his lungs, "they have to break that union, they have to break that union!" (about the UAW) and it's not countered with ... anything.

This makes sense for the plutocrats like Cramer and Chris Matthews but for the rest of us, not so much, even if we aren't in unions. Paul Krugman makes a persuasive argument in "Conscience of a Liberal" that the decades long conservative assault on the union movement has been a major contributor to the income inequality we are seeing today. Unions are essential to maintaining a thriving middle class and a thriving middle class is essential for a stable and decent society.

It's clear that this is yet another area in which the media are failing their audience and their readers and we are going to have to be vigilant in our interpretation of their coverage. And there are other things we can do as well.

Update: It looks like LA gets it:

Los Angeles Strongly Supports Scribes, Spurns Studios: 69% of Los Angeles Area adults familiar with the Writers Guild of America strike say they take the side of the writers, according to this latest exclusive ABC7 News Poll Conducted by SurveyUSA. 8% say they take the studios' side; 22% say they don't take either side. Support for the WGA members is strong across all demographic groups. Would You Miss Your Programs? When asked if they would be upset if the strike lasted through the spring and there were no new episodes of current TV programs, respondents split. Women and younger respondents say they would be upset; men and older respondents are less likely to be upset if new episodes don't air.

That last is actually good news for the Guild. Women and young people are the most valuable demographics to advertisers and theatrical distributors. It puts more pressure on management to settle.