Thursday, November 22, 2007

STRIKE, strike, strike, strike, STRIKE, strike, strike, strike... II

Meanwhile, you can tell something about the biases of journalists on the strike by looking at headlines and ledes.

In Philip Boroff's piece on, Stagehand Strike Creates 'Image Problem,' Costs N.Y. Millions, the headline alone goes about creating that "image problem" and then the story, if you read it closely, doesn't prove that there is an "image problem" so much as manufacture the crisis that it implies. Although it's very interesting that the League, according to Boroff, can't seem to get clear about just what, in its opinion, the economic impact of the strike really is. Charlotte St. Martin, taking a much-deserved break from sucking the blood of her victims, says the impact is $17 million, a number widely disputed by, among others, Karen Hauser, who heads up the League's own research division.

By contrast, Gordon Cox's piece in Variety, Bullets over Broadway: Factions' frictions cause rift in union leadership, strikes me (pardon the pun) as much more even-handed -- good, straightforward reporting.

Meanwhile, back at, Jeremy Gerard has posted a piece, Broadway in Lockstep as Strike Rains on Parade, that doesn't even try to report -- it just opines. For example:

That the two sides aren't even meeting until Sunday -- and then just maybe -- is simply outrageous.

The contract between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees expired July 31, but management refused to begin negotiations until the end of the summer. Why? The producers and theater owners also made a big show of announcing a year ago that they were putting aside money from every ticket sold to amass a war chest -- $20 million -- in the event of a strike. They were loaded for bear.

Local One is, literally and figuratively, the muscle behind Broadway. Stagehands install shows in theaters, run them until closing and then strike them to make way for the next show. As shows have become more technologically advanced, the most ambitious stagehands take courses to keep up, and the shows can't run without them.

Is there fat in their contract? You bet. Do they all earn $125,000 a year or more? Some do, most don't make much more than half that."

So, if most don't make much more than $62,500 a year, how is that fat, Jeremy? And what's wrong with anyone making $125,000 a year anyway? What the hell do you make? If $62,500 is fat, you better start sweating to the oldies.

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