Politics of the Hollywood Writers Strike
To the extent that I’ve paid attention to the impending Hollywood writers’ strike, it’s been in terms of its effect on entertainment programming, such as possibly shortening the second season of Heroes. (That, by the way, is preferable to having the “Shades of Gray” effect that comes with amateurs writing the scripts.)
Dan Drezner notes that the initial effect of the strike, the immediate cancellation of the late night comedy-talk shows, could have a major impact on the 2008 presidential campaign. First, John McCain and Barack Obama have used those shows to great advantage, “don’t have that option for the near future, denying them free media.” Second, “The big winners are all the candidates who are vulnerable to satire…. or the favorite targets of Hollywood writers. In other words, Hillary Clinton and the entire Republican field.”
That sounds about right. With an increasing percentage of Americans getting their news primarily from late night comedians, this will dramatically reshape the dynamics of the race if it continues for a long period.
UPDATE (Dodd Harris): For anyone who’s interested in the strikers’ view, Brian K. Vaughan (LOST writer and co-producer, among many other things) explains it in greater, more personal detail than I’ve seen elsewhere:
But basically, writers are looking to negotiate modest residuals and protections for use of our TV shows and movies on the internet, where most of us will likely be getting the majority of our entertainment from in the not-too-distant future.
We’re are also asking for a share of about 8 cents — that’s eight stinkin’ pennies — for every DVD of our work sold, as opposed to the criminally insane 4 cents we receive today.