In Depth

Writers Using Internet to Get Message Out

Writers are using the Internet—the medium at the heart of their contract negotiations—to get the word out about their side of the labor dispute between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

The WGA itself has an account on YouTube, WGA America, and is hosting interviews with picketers and celebrities out to support the cause.

A recently posted video, from Tuesday’s picket of Universal Studios, features several celebrities, including Zach Braff and Sarah Silverman, talking about the strike.

Numerous writers themselves are getting in on the act, too. A group of writers from “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” have posted their own version of the Comedy Central show, shot on the streets of New York in front of picketing WGA East members.

The video uses “The Daily Show’s” trademark sardonic wit to showcase writers’ reasons to strike.

Going low-tech by using poster boards instead of backdrop graphics, the video ends with “Daily Show” talent John Oliver portraying the “president of Viacom,” John Jay Viacom Jr. the Third. Mr. Oliver wears a top hat and tuxedo and brandishes a monocle, even though he’s already wearing glasses.

Claiming the jokes written for the short are Viacom’s and worth $1 billion, Mr. Oliver demands the video be stopped. When a writer asks for a cut of that $1 billion, Mr. Oliver claims the jokes are worthless.

When pressed on the issue, Mr. Oliver panics, flips over a table and runs off-screen.

Also joining in are the writers of “The Late Show With David Letterman,” in the form of a blog.

According to the blog, the WGA is thrilled to have the following unions joining them in solidarity: Screen Actors Guild, International Union of Teamsters, National Federation of Gossips & Busybodies and Sweaty Fat Guys Who Walk Around Shirtless United.

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Comments 19

Michael Lambie

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