Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Americans Overwhelmingly Support the Writers

A new poll from SurveyUSA tells us how the public feels about the writer's strike.
Their key finding:

Americans Seven Times More Likely to Back WGA as Studios

About 70% of those polled claimed familiarity with the strike.

Of those familiar, 49% side with the writers, 7% side with the studios, and 42% side with neither.

SurveyUSA releases cross-tabs for their polls. The results here are just as striking.


Even among Republicans and conservatives, no more than 10% side with the studios and over 35% side with the writers.

Why is support so overwhelming?

One reason might be that people consider intellectual property rights and royalties more important than they consider, say, health care; this would explain the differences in public support.

However, I think the most pertinent reason is the way the question was framed.

Which side are you on? The writers? The studios? Or neither?

Setting the question up as worker versus faceless corporation probably makes a big difference in public perception.

That difference may be necessary. After all, the mainstream media is owned by the same conglomerates that aren't paying WGA members the royalties they deserve.

See, for instance, how CNN (owned by Time Warner) covers CBS (owned by CBS corporation, but with basically the same ownership as the new Viacom)'s canceling of the Democratic debate due to the network's failure to agree to pay the writers what they deserve:

Democrats abandoned their plans for a December 10 debate at CBS studios in Los Angeles, blaming the continuing writers strike for the cancellation. Most of the candidates, including the three frontrunners, had said they would not cross picket lines set up outside the event site in Los Angeles.
CBS had asked the WGA to suspend picketing on that day, but the union did not respond to that request.

One expects that the media owned by News Corp, Disney, GE/NBC Universal and perhaps under the Bush administration, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, is doing the same sort of thing.

This is, again, one of those cases where Web 2.0 media is crucial.

wgaamerica is the #4 most subscribed Youtuber this week, 20th most subscribed this month, 79th most viewed this month.

Of course, the Writer's Guild of America has a huge advantage in this area. Their members know how to write scripts that'll make people want to watch.

Still, there have to be some lessons that the rest of the labor movement can take from this.

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