Writers and others have been complaining to Variety today about an AMPTP ad which doesn’t identify itself as such located right above the trade’s strike coverage. “Holy crap, how much are the AMPTP paying them? Oh right, tons,” one WGA member emailed me. “Not to mention the ad misquotes David Young once again, but misinformation from the AMPTP is a given at this point.”
The complaints prompted Variety‘s online editor Dana Harris to post this message on the site: “Yes, that is definitely an ad. We’ve received some emails complaining that the Flash banner above could be confused for a editorial content since there’s no identification of its advertising status. However, it is an ad; click on it and you’re redirected to the AMPTP site. Its lack of advertising identification is a technical glitch that we’re currently working to resolve. In the meantime, please know that the space above the posts and below the Scribe Vibe logo goes to those who pay for it.”
There’s no doubt that Variety‘s now famous post-strike headlines blaming the writers for every sorry twist and turn in these complicated negotiations with the studios/networks have increased rather than decreased, from my estimation. As a result, I thought I’d share this email interaction between succesfull TV writer Nicole Yorkin and Variety editor Peter Bart over her decision to cancel her subscription:
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 3:33 PM
To: Bart, Peter (RBI-US)
Subject: from Nicole Yorkin
Dear Mr. Bart,
As a former journalist and long-time subscriber to Variety, I used to eagerly look forward to reading your newspaper every morning. That’s before the WGA strike and your coverage of it. As a long-time Writer’s Guild member, and someone who has some access to what’s really going on behind the scenes, I have to say I have been shocked by your biased and inaccurate coverage of the strike and negotiations. At first, I kept expecting you to finally come around and realize the journalistic standards I hold any newspaper to. When that didn’t happen, I convinced myself it was valuable to read what the other side was thinking, (as expressed in your “news articles” every day). Finally, I had to say to myself that if Variety were this far off the truth in covering the strike, what else must it be dissembling about? I concluded I couldn’t really believe a thing in Variety. And for that reason, I’m asking you to cancel my subscription as of now, and return the portion of money I’m owed.
Once again, I want to express my disappointment in your newspaper’s apparent lack of journalistic standards. I know my view is wide-spread amongst my peers.
On Dec 17, 2007 5:00 PM, Bart, Peter (RBI-US) wrote:
Dear Nicole Yorkin,
I respectfully think you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid — Variety’s coverage has been objective. What motivation would we have to invoke a bias? Must every Guild (or every company) be validated for their every demand?
Date: Dec 17, 2007 10:22 PM
Subject: Re: from Nicole Yorkin
To: “Bart, Peter (RBI-US)”
Dear Peter Bart,
What “motivation” would you have to “invoke a bias?” You can’t really be seriously asking that question, so I’ll assume you’re joking.