THE BLOG

Another Writer's Strike? Give Me a Break. Why No One Has Sympathy...

11/14/2007 10:52 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.

Content creators everywhere are mad and not going to take it anymore. Well-compensated TV writers want in on online video revenue, or else... (Well, that's the part they haven't quite worked out yet). Now CBS news writers and producers are so annoyed about CBS's plan to combine two newsrooms and pay radio people less than TV people that they're about to follow their Hollywood brethren into the streets.

It's a free country, and TV writers should probably get a cut of online revenue*, but here are some reasons the writers' strikes haven't engendered much sympathy:

* Employed TV writers and producers already make decent money.

* Those who choose to go into the writing and producing business are usually intelligent, well-educated folks who could have chosen (and still could choose) to go into a better paid business. ( i.e., this isn't a case of oppressive owners exploiting people who have no other options).

* The traditional TV and radio businesses are under pressure: It's hard to pump more water from drying wells (especially when online competitors don't have to worry about strikes).

* In the case of the threatened CBS strike, reasonable observers wonder why, when most other manufacturing businesses have to close plant after plant to survive, CBS shouldn't be allowed to do the same.

* Weak logic: Why, exactly, shouldn't radio people make less money than TV people? Right now, TV's a better business than radio. Our economy is the envy of the world because it encourages the free flow of resources out of dying industries into burgeoning ones -- not because it guarantees everyone a sinecure.

* Reruns are good to watch, too.

*I say "probably" because the whole royalty system need not be written in stone. Lots of folks would presumably be eager to get paid $200,000 a year to write for TV without ever getting a single dime of future royalties. The current revenue-sharing plan is probably good for aligning incentives (make sure the writers want to help create great shows), but it's not necessarily the only comp scheme that would work).