Pozner explains writers' strike to Kurtz and Medved

by John Amato, Crooks and Liars

I watched in amazement last Sunday to the opening segments of Howard Kurtz'z telecast of Reliable Sources. Kurtz covered the WGA strike and wondered if Jon Stewart and Jay Leno should just get off their asses and write some of their own material. And Stewart should maybe do more interviews. I’m not kidding, this is the Washington Post and CNN media critic and he has no clue how difficult it is to write one episode of a show. The Daily Show employs a football team of writers on their staff to come up with the brilliant TV that we see. We expect the wingnut critic Medved to feed into the “Hollywood is bad” meme so why does Leno suck come naturally to him, but Kurtz should know better. Pozner explains that the strike is all about union busting…

MICHAEL MEDVED:…And this clearly just weakens the whole institution of television.

It’s also very disillusioning, as you were indicating before, Howie, that some of the funniest people in America who are famous for their adlibs and their quickness are so reliant on writers. I think it makes people like Jay Leno look bad.

KURTZ: I’ve sort of wondered myself why Leno and Letterman and Jon Stewart don’t try — and maybe they will eventually be forced to do this — to put on a different kind of show without writers where you rely more on interviews and so forth.

KURTZ: Stagehands also went on strike yesterday, closing down all the major plays in New York. So it seems like there is a plague of this.

Jennifer Pozner, it kind of reminds me of baseball. There’s plenty of money in TV, lots of profit being made. It seems like there should be enough money to work out a reasonable settlement.

Do you think that on some level the Hollywood studios want this strike?

POZNER: I think — I think that they are looking to bust the union. I think that they know that Internet downloads, distribution to cell phones, iPods and even technologies that aren’t in creation yet are the way that we, the majority of people, are going to be seeing television, you know, content, not on the actual tube.

The last time that the Writers Guild had an agreement, we didn’t have DVDs. We didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have any of the new technology and distribution systems. So what the writers are looking for is basically any type of piece of that pie. They’re looking for fair compensation. It’s a basic labor issue.

And as we know, corporate media companies are trying to drive every last red cent out of the writers’ content. There would be none of these TV shows that, Michael, you said people want to see. There would be no content without the writers, and the writers are trying to get anything. It’s the height of nickel and diming. Well, not even nickel and diming. They’re not even asking for a dime.

KURTZ: Maybe…

POZNER: And they don’t want to give them a nickel.

KURTZ: Maybe self-destructive for all sides.

“Self destructive for all sides,” is Kurtz’ answer. My god, who writes his material? Oh, he does, nevermind….

article originally published at http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/11/19/draft-is-howard-kurtz-actually-a-media-....

The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey