The AMPTP announced today it has retained Mark Fabiani and Chris Lehane of Fabiani & Lehane and Steve Schmidt of Mercury Public Affairs “to assist in communicating the industry’s proposed New Economic Partnership.” All I can say is, Big Media is nuts if it really thinks at this late date it can win the hearts and minds of the public at large. Or start distributing YouTube videos about the writers as “greedy millionaires”.
But I’m convinced something else is at work here, given the high-level political ties of both flackeries: the Hollywood CEOs want to ensure that neither Congress nor the FCC nor even the Justice Department come after them on the thorny issues of media consolidation, unfair business practices, and funny accounting. More than the writers or the directors or the actors guilds, that scares them shitless. (See my previous, Mr. WGA Goes To Washington With SAG and Writers And Producers Tried To Hire Joe Lockhart).
Fabiani and Lehane have a long history in Democratic politics, serving as senior aides and advisors to President Clinton, Vice President Gore and other Democrats across the country. (But didn’t they also rep California guv Grey Davis and lose?) They have also been very active in flacking sports teams and leagues (NHL) and movies (Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and Sicko).
Schmidt is a close advisor to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who also
served as his campaign manager in 2006. He also provides high-level counsel to major
corporations, including Hollywood studios and professional sports teams. Schmidt also served in high-ranking posts with the Bush White House, serving as the lead strategist on the confirmations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. Schmidt has served on presidential campaigns and dozens of other campaigns at the national, state and local levels.