I’m calling you out

Yeah, you…You self-described progressive. You who are so positive that you’re on the right side of everything. All the time. I’ve noticed the deafening silence on your pop culture heroes crossing picket lines to make you giggle. That’s right, I’m talking about the Daily Show and the Colbert Report. In the past year, I’ve watched the liberal blogosphere rally around boycotting entire stations like Fox and ABC over their biased “reporting”, yet I’ve heard nary a peep regarding a boycott of what are clearly strikebreakers. There’s no confusion about this: Both shows have crossed picket lines to go back on air.

In a search for “daily show boycott” I came across 3 left-leaning sites where a boycott was mentioned:

Left in East Dakota writes:

Boycott the Daily Show and Colbert Report!…until the writers come back, or they at least work out a Letterman-type deal with the WGA. I am quite disappointed with these two. Both of them are writers for Christ sake! They are set to cross picket lines on Monday night.

This Just In gives us:

I find it really sad that these two would jump back on air so quickly and even more shocking is that they would cross the picket lines. How can they claim any democratic credentials anymore, and I use a small “d” not a “D” on purpose. It is totally possible that I am wrong about this. It could be that the two of them are going to use their pulpits to lambaste the networks, which pay them, and show support for the writers. Unfortunately if that is the case someone will have to tell me because I will not be watching. I expect this kind of shit from Jay Leno but Stewart and Colbert, they know better.

Paul Kiel at TPMuckraker linked to a Daily Show clip. Only 3 responses talked about Stewart’s and Colbert’s roles with the WGA strike:

Zac wrote on January 18, 2008 2:47 PM:

Too bad the only people willing to cross the picket lines and appear on A Daily Show are schmucks like this guy, and John Bolton, and Jonah Goldberg. But then, what can we expect from — well, you know ..


Jake wrote on January 20, 2008 9:55 AM:

I don’t think it’s a good idea to be linking to The Daily Show while its writers are on strike. I doubt you’d all be crossing a hotel workers picket line. Same thing going on here.


Comrade Rutherford wrote on January 21, 2008 11:41 AM:

I keep forgetting that some people are actually watching Daily Show without the WGA.

In our house we are boycotting Daily Show and Colbert Report simply because unions need more support.

I keep seeing clips posted to blogs that claim to be liberal, yet these same blogs don’t support the writers in their struggles to get apid for their work.

Watching and posting Daily Show and Colbert Report clips are undermining the WGA effort and bolstering the extremist right’s position that non-wealthy people shouldn’t be allowed to make money.

Please, STOP all reference to Daily Show! Don’t even go to Comedy Channel’s website, ever.

Be an actual Liberal and boycott Comedy Central!

As some of you know, I have friends who are writers on various TV shows. I also have friends who produce, direct and/or act on some of these shows. That doesn’t count the hundreds of below-the-line workers financially affected by this strike. I’ve never been one to cross picket lines, and when some of my writer friends went on strike, they urged me to blog about it. I declined. Not because I didn’t support them, but because they’ve crossed picket lines out of sheer convenience.

How many writers crossed picket lines during our overly long grocer’s strike a few years ago? Every single person I know who works in the entertainment industry did and they whined about it. It was “Does a cashier really need to make $17 an hour? They’re being greedy.” When I explained that it wasn’t just $$$, but also health insurance and protecting their jobs, the writer’s didn’t care. The shelves weren’t stocked because the drivers wouldn’t cross the picket lines. To them, the grocery workers were whining over mere pennies. Sounds familiar? Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the writer’s would like to have solidarity with all unions, but when the Teamster’s went on strike against the studios, the writer’s crossed that picket line. The Teamster’s still remember.

My point is union is union. You honor other picket lines.

Republican candidates have gone on Leno’s show. Mike Huckabee started it, then came Ron Paul and most recently Mitt Romney. David Letterman’s production company made a deal with the WGA, so his show and Craig Ferguson’s show are not struck shows. Sen. Clinton and Sen. Edwards have both been on Letterman.  Unfortunately, Sen. Obama has agreed to go on Conan O’Brien’s show this Friday.

Which brings me back to the overwhelmingly silent liberal blogosphere.

When Obama appears on O’Brien, there will be a lot of teeth gnashing and hair-pulling from liberals. Many will claim that they are now not going to vote for Obama, even though a quick look at their posts will show that they probably weren’t going to anyway. It will be loud, overly dramatic and they will do whatever they can to make sure it stays news through Super Tuesday.

Very few of them will recognized their hypocrisy of watching struck shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Once, they’ve finished with Sen. Obama, they will go right back to watching those shows and the WGA will still be on strike.


7 thoughts on “I’m calling you out

  1. Nice post on the strike. And I agree about those who cross picket lines out of convenience. I just don’t understand anyone who behaves like that. Like my co-worker who recently said she doesn’t want to live in Fairfax but needs to live close when she moves because they have a “kick ass Fresh Fields/Whole Foods”. Um, they’re non-union and adamantly anti-union. If they don’t believe in workers rights, why should I believe that they’re any better on other issues except those that don’t directly affect them? They don’t. So, I don’t shop them.


  2. I had this conversation with my friend who’s lost her job due to the writer’s strike. She was telling me about the new Fresh and Easy next to her house. This was after a big talk about solidarity with unions. I said, “You know there’s a big to-do about Fresh and Easy being non-union, right?” I was telling her about how when Tesco came to this country, everyone decided they must be union.

    You have to read the LA blogs to really appreciate this irony. Well, many of these same people talk about how they go to Trader Joe’s for this or that. When I mention that Trader Joe’s is non-union, there’s a gasp and then “Well, they pay their workers a living wage and give them health care.” The thing is, no one knows if that’s true. Speaking with TJ worker’s they say they don’t get health benefits. Rumors state that TJ lowered start rates when the grocer’s strike out here went bust and they lowered their start rates.


  3. Yep, I hear the same thing out here. I even hear it among my progressive friends, people who pass out lit with no union bug. Take for instance the recent Yearlykos convention. How many people (besides me) checked for the union bug on all those “goodies” we got. There weren’t many. Everything without, I tossed.

    I suppose my big problem with this issue is how many times these same people defend the indefensible, the Wal-Marts and Smithfield’s of the world. Take Smithfield…some of their factories are unionized, but the Tar Heel plant, that’s a different story. The company spreads rumors that the INS is going to be doing a raid. So, the Latino workers stay home. The desire here is to remind everyone of those workers that the company owns them. That their families who are “illeagal” could be sent home. That they might even be caught in a trap even though their paperwork is straight. And then they pit the black women against the Latino women by dropping the wages of the Latinos and then harrassing the black women. Get injured, you’re more likely to be fired.

    Just because Trader Joe’s stores here or there might be providing some benefits doesn’t mean that these are good jobs. When I was a waitress, I had health insurance. I paid $8 a pay for $1000 in coverage. Yep, that’s it. I was pregnant. SChip helped me.

    Sorry this comment was so long, clearly, this is a huge issue to me. I wish I could figure out a way to discuss these issues in a way that gets people to stop saying “Yeah, but…” There really isn’t any gray area here. It really is like they say in Matewan
    “They got you fightin’ white against colored, native against foreign, hollow against hollow, when you know there ain’t but two sides in this world–them that work and them that don’t. You work, they don’t. That’s all you get to know about the enemy.”


  4. I know you’re frustration. It’s hard not only as a consumer, but as an activist. I shopped freely at Trader Joe’s for a long time. I just assumed they were union. I had no idea until the grocer’s strike that they weren’t. So, the option was shopping at a non-union store or crossing picket lines. Ugh.

    As for the race-baiting tactics, they affect me personally as many of my family members are facing those same things. It’s not bad where they live, but it’s getting there and they know from the stories we’ve told them of what happens in in Los Angeles what they have to look forward to. My uncle works for the Metro in his city and he’s been spending the year working with the Latinos there, explaining what will happen. One of my cousins is an organizer and she’s been helping him and it looks like their union may actually have solidarity across racial lines if things go his way. Unfortunately, for a cousin in Kansas City, who has always worked a union job, it didn’t work that way. At his company, over the last 3 years, they wound up firing every black man over the age of 30 and brought in Latinos from Texas and Arizona to work for almost half the wage. What’s left of the union at his old job is barely holding together.


  5. Sounds a lot like Smithfield, only it’s mostly happened to women. They pay the Latino women 2 to 8 dollars less than the black women at the same plant. $2 to $8, hel even $1 and hour difference is huge, but $2 to $8?

    Race baiting is how corporations have always broken unions or strikes or pit worker against worker. It’s worked in the past, it will work in the future until all workers finally figure out that we are all in this together. Color, gender, sexual orienation, politics, none of it matters. There really are only workers and non workers and that’s all you NEED to know about the enemy.

    As for the issues with Bill Clinton and his divide and win the nomination push, this type of thing is what corporations do to workers. If you want to be a boss and not care about those of us who work, fine, but you don’t get to do it as President or even “President-in-waiting.” He pushed for and negotiated NAFTA, he throw the GLBT under the bus, he’s the one who ushered in divergent growth (here’s something that Edwards get’s right, we have Clinton to thank for 2 Americas)… He wasn’t a great President. I caucused for Harkin that year. I’ve never worked on a Clinton campaign and never will.


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