This email from the Writers Guild of America West to its members re a Rupert Murdoch buyout of Time-Warner should come as a surprise to absolutely no one:
From The New York Times: $80B Offer From Rupert Murdoch Puts Time-Warner In Play
If this headline scares you – and it should – then consider this a call to arms.
As writers, we face a landscape today that the founders of our Guild would hardly recognize. For decades, there were dozens of significant buyers in television and movies.
Then Federal limits on mergers disappeared. FCC regulations requiring independent production in television were repealed. And the result was industry-wide consolidation, networks and studios combining, and independent production disappearing.
Fewer movies being made. Fewer development deals. Smaller TV staffs. And lower quotes… because the industry was suddenly in the hands of only six – six! – conglomerates.
And the Writers Guild, without a voice in Washington to protest, was unable to save the business from strangling itself.
Now, those six conglomerates are threatening to swallow one another. Think of that. Between them, Fox and Time-Warner would control 40% of the industry’s writing jobs. What happens if more consolidation follows? What happens if one mega-company ends up devouring them all? The idea is almost too frightening to contemplate. But it’s also too possible to ignore.
That’s why the Guild has a PAC.
For the last several years, the WGAW has been increasingly active in Washington: fighting off mergers, championing Net Neutrality, and distinguishing itself as a voice of reason on all media issues.
But our PAC cannot exist without your support.
Giving to the Guild PAC is vital to your future. The checks you write to your favorite Senate candidates cannot influence policy. But a powerful PAC, supporting candidates in the name of the WGA, gives us a fighting chance in the war against the corporate madness that threatens us all.
The math of it is simple. The more candidates we can collectively support, the more influence we will have. Our Guild has already gained respect on Capitol Hill. Our position-papers are sought after and cited regularly on media issues.
Of course, conglomerates like Fox and Time-Warner have influence too – so much so that some writers believe even trying to combat them is futile. It isn’t. Take a look at these links of writers like Shawn Ryan and Guild President Chris Keyser testifying at recent Senate hearings. When our Guild speaks, Washington listens. But to make sure our voices are heard, we need power. Simply put, we need you.
This, then, is our call to arms. In the industry as it exists today, writers no longer have the luxury of staying out of politics. Rather, more than ever, we need a voice in them.
Please, please, support our PAC by contributing here. Your future depends on it. In Solidarity, Chris Keyser, Chip Johannessen, Billy Ray
TVWriter™ definitely is with the Guild on this cuz, well, hell, gang, if we didn’t already know that CBS’ Les Moonves was the devil, we’d be sure it was Rupert M.