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A Unilateral Truce

Strikewatch_blogA trusted Strike Watch source--one who has no role or stake in the outcome of the negotiations--tells us that AFTRA's endorsements are rare, if not altogether unprecedented.  "I think the expressions of support for AFTRA's deal are very unusual," the source wrote. "They are, in a sense, the mirror-opposite of SAG [campaigning]. It never happens."

Having covered labor unrest nonstop for nine months, perhaps one half of Strike Watch is developing a too-jaundiced eye for spin and politicking. Although we stand by our original instincts--that the endorsements  are unsurprising--maybe yesterday's post was the result of being too inside the larger story to see what yesterday's developments actually were: a ratcheting up of the tension and the pressure from AFTRA and SAG. (In addition to AFTRA's endorsements yesterday, it was learned Sandra Oh is stumping for SAG Hollywood.) What is obvious and unsurprising to us is not necessarily obvious and unsurprising to the audience, and the news yesterday needed a more serious approach.

This leads us to a larger, more important point:  The tone of recent posts might create the perception that one half of Strike Watch has placed himself above the story. Attempts at humor to dispel the gas of spin is one thing; vanity that further clouds the issues is another. Thus, a rethinking and reordering of our approach is called for.

We do not retract or recant anything so far. Behind the goofy pictures and the oblique analogies are honest analyses backed by countless hours of reporting and clear-eyed observations of the landscape. And, sometimes, it is absolutely necessary for an outside observer to state what seems obvious when no one else will: Walter Cronkite saying the Vietnam war is unwinnable, Tim Russert saying Sen. Hillary Clinton cannot win the Democratic nomination based on the math, recent opinion polls, the laws of probability, and scores of conversations with undeclared superdelegates.

But here's the thing: This isn't Vietnam or a race for the White House and no one who writes for Strike Watch is named Cronkite or Russert.

Nevertheless, the labor situations, from Broadway to Wilshire, could not be more serious, and the stakes could not be higher: They are about about actors trying to earn fair wages and working conditions during a tumultuous time in the world of media and entertainment. There are intense, interesting philosophical debates at hand, with intelligent, passionate arguments to be made on all sides. All of them deserve a fair hearing, and their recounting deserves a more sober approach.

Shut_up Until the end of the story--that is, until SAG and AFTRA have ratified new contracts--Strike Watch will dispense with the smart-aleck posts and oddly juxtaposed images (okay, this is the LAST one, we promise) and stick to straight reporting. It's what actors need and the story demands.

--Andrew Salomon

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MeFirst has always taken itself oh so seriously.

When you don't treat them with the reverence they're oh so sure they deserve they threaten.

Been there, done that.

There will be no peace as long as they're running the show. Hopefully this debacle will be the beginning of the end.

We'll know for sure in August.

Elections can't come soon enough. It's time to dump the MeFirsters who're destroying SAG.

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