The Democratic candidates refused to cross a picket line of striking writers yesterday (thus canceling their debate), affirming their general support for the guild strike. As private citizens, it is their right to support or not support whomever they wish and they were put in the position to make one decision or the other. But their actions contribute to a disturbing conclusion emerging about the strike: the writers are downtrodden workers and the studios are the greedy extortionists.
Such a story is simplistic and deceptive. Employees are not victims and employers are not slavers. They work together in mutual cooperation; a strike is not a rebellion. To my knowledge, neither party (the Writer's Guild or the studios) use the law to force one to cooperate with the other. But the studio is increasingly seen as immoral and greedy.
This is no doubt in part due to the seemingly reasonable request of the guild--compensation on new media. Yet studios shoulder most of the risk for new projects and the risk is high. Most shows fail tremendously and it makes sense that the studios are trying to shoulder against that risk with enhancing the gains from the rare success. The point is it is not at all clear what the compensation--if any--should be. There are too many factors to take into account. Outsiders should be the last people to take sides. Let the informed decide for themselves.