17 November, 2007

John Oliver, "The Daily Show", on the strike


" Can you give people the short version why you’re on strike? Short version. Okay, the pretty short version is that the current contracts being proposed by the producers are pretty unfair. They’re making a lot of revenue from online advertising and none of that revenue comes back down toward the writers. So money’s being made but not distributed. The Writers Guild is trying to set a precedent so there will be fairer pay in the future.

Someone from the WGA, I think it was the president, said the strike could go on for nine months. I did not hear that. To be honest I find brinksmanship like that difficult to stomach and it makes both sides sound equally bad. They’re playing games with people’s lives at the moment, and I’m not even talking about the writers. On The Daily Show we have a staff who are very concerned at the moment about losing their jobs – researchers, P.A.s, etc. – and I find talk like that quite difficult to stomach. I understand they’re trying to play some kind of brinksmanship game but that doesn’t make it any less difficult to hear when friends of mine who live paycheck to paycheck are being seriously affected by this strike. And they don’t even stand to benefit from any of the negotiations! "

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