Is Variety Publishing Lies?

Nikki Finke posts a brutal analysis of Variety’s strike coverage, accusing the trade publication and its reporters of printing total falsehoods.

The trade’s Jason Blairs — oh, excuse me, Josef Adalian and Dave McNary — keep inventing stories which purport to show that less than 2 weeks into the strike wither the WGA’s resolve is withering, and/or its writers are going back to work, and/or even its late show iconic hosts are going to double-cross their teams of scribes. Just one problem: those stories are either totally fabricated or highly exaggerated.

[…]First, there was McNary’s article wrongly claiming the WGA was backing off its position on changing on Reality TV. (See my previous,  WGAW Says Variety Scoop Has No Reality). Then, there was Adalian’s and McNary’s fabricated story about The Young And The Restless soap opera writers returning to work by opting for "financial core" status with the WGA.

Both stories turned out to be totally false. Variety’s tiny correction on the soap opera story was buried in the back pages a few days later.

My take on this is that Variety’s so-called "reporters" are so used to retyping press releases and passing them off as "reporting" that they have no idea how to actually report a story. So they are simply publishing whatever their studio and networks sources feed them without bothering to do the basic work of a reporter.

But they also have no incentive to do any actual reporting. I know what I am talking about. Twenty years ago, I worked as a reporter for a trade publication. I know the pressure the advertising side exerts on the editorial side. The wall between the two in the trade publication world is very, very thin. By nature, trade publication rely entirely on advertising by the industry they are reporting on, which raises all kinds of ethical issues every single day. The fact is that the editors are under enormous pressure not to piss off the people who keep them in business…and those people aren’t screenwriters.

3 thoughts on “Is Variety Publishing Lies?”

  1. Variety published an article alleging that “The London grapevine is abuzz with gossip that marquee American producers have been scouting for non-WGA writers for film or TV projects they would funnel through British production companies.”
    There were a couple of anonymous quotes – one from a British producer and one from an agent – commenting on what the allegations would mean if they were true, but no facts of any kind to support the allegations themselves.
    Well, I’m in the UK and I’m pretty well-placed to hear any such buzz, if it exists. But I haven’t heard anything of the kind. There *has* been a surge of US interest in UK writers, but the meetings that I’ve taken have been strike-aware and there was never any question of strike breaking.
    I submitted a comment to that effect; it went off into moderation and has never appeared.

  2. Entertainment Weekly picked up the article saying that multiple Young and the Restless writers had crossed the picket line.
    As we all know this is inaccurate. Variety has printed a correction, but EW has not.
    Please write to EW and ask them to print a retraction.
    In these sensitive times, journalists should check their facts. Those who don’t should be held accountable.
    You can address your comments to:
    or send them to 1675 Broadway
    New York, NY 10019


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