Looming Writers’ Strike Threatens The Anti-Trump Industrial-Complex
Fox News recently reported how the looming Writers’ Strike could boost Trump. Shows like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show and broadcast late-night shows could be silenced just Trump became the first president to retreat from the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and faced dismal reviews of his first 100 days.
There will be plenty of think pieces on the cultural value of late-night comedy if this happens, but what won’t be told will be the economic repercussions to the broader Anti-Trump Industrial Complex.
Here are four sectors of the Anti-Trump economy (and one sector of the Pro-Trump economy) that will face crises of their own should the writers’ strike.
1. Anti-Trump Protestors (Specifically Sign Makers)
Most protestors are earnest in their opposition to Trump for the various grievances. These grievances are explained in the many signs you’ll see at every rally. However it won’t be long until you notice some similarities.
Most protestors aren’t writers, which is fine, that’s not what they are paid to do. Impactful signs take precise pun work of a skilled writer and sometimes a pop culture reference.
Protest drinking game: Take a shot every time you see one of these.
Without new takes from writers to be reused by protesters, there will be a drop off in sales at craft, office supply, and print shops as protestors reuse old signs without better options to take their place.
Pussy Hat Production Expected To Remain Steady
2. Clickbait & Low Effort Social Media
Clickbait websites and laid-off West Virginia coal miners have something in common — Both expected that the election of Trump would solve the economic decline caused by the depletion of their prime mined material (90s nostalgia and bituminous coal, respectively). Clickbait writers expected four years of lazily embedding SNL clips or compiling “Best Of” protest signs from social media in place of actual writing.
Originality comes at a steep prices, and you might see low-effort sites have to invest in actual content.
Ha, ha, just kidding. That’s what unpaid internships are for.
3. Actual News Sources
Despite being attacked as “fake news” by the administration, several leading newspapers are seeing boost in paid subscriptions. Cable news is seeing a boost in the early months of 2017, even Trump’s favorite rival, CNN. This mirrors Saturday Night Live ratings being the best since in 22 years and Stephen Colbert’s Late Show consistently beating The Tonight Show
Late-night and news shows are symbiotic — Late-night relies on the work of actual reporters and increasingly actual news shows rely on late-night jokes to provide real insight that the professional political pundit class does not. Cutting out late-night means talks shows, especially Sunday morning talks shows, will have to rely on less interesting talking heads to make those insightful takes. That takes a lot of reading and watching, and there’s nothing people in the media hate less than doing that. They may even take drastic measures to restores the humor balance.
4. The Onion and Non-Union Sources of Comedy
It would seem that late-night being on strike would be a boon to other comedy publications that aren’t part of the WGA. But writing comedy under the Trump Administration is hard and psychologically taxing.
It’s easier when Saturday Night Live is having Melissa McCarthy mocking Sean Spicer, Seth Meyers is banning Trump for banning journalists, and Samantha Bee hostsNot The White House Correspondent’s Dinner. This frees online publications like The Onion to look at the social cliques of ex-bankers in White House positions and Cracked to create an aftershow parody After The Trump.
Pull out the pillars of late-night and the online sources are under extra pressure to put out more Trump material. Every post about “‘Wall Street Journal’ Reintroduces Nudes After Failed Yearlong Experiment” and “5 Dumb Movie Tropes They Need To Bring Back” will be met by angry comments demanding these comedy sites “stick to politics!”.
5. Conservative “Comics”
Before you center-right readers pour out your vitriol, there are people of various political views working in comedy. What we’re talking about here are the propagandists posing a “comics” to try to counter the liberal bent of Hollywood. Many forms of comedy are rooted in the imbalance of power and conservative comedy is rooted in rooting for the rich, the powerful and the biggest beneficiaries of the status quo.
Conservative comics chalk up their lack of popular appeal to the powers that be in Hollywood being biased against them, clinging on instead to the few safe spaces such as the 3:00AM time slot on Fox News.
With the WGA on strike there would be an opening for conservative comics to finally be free from the show runs by liberal Hollywood elites. Nothing could be worse. Conservative “comics” nominally hold free market views, and among the conservative comedy circles they still speak in whispers about The ½ Hour News Hour, Fox News attempt to create a conservative version of The Daily Show that bombed. This attempt 10 years ago doesn’t mean that there is no market for conservative comedy, but what passes for it online signals there is no supply.
Before the WGA strike of 2007 -2008 Hollywood producers prepared by increasing production in the months ahead of the strike. Unfortunately this time there was not a stockpile, and late night shows will have to struggle to make up as much material to cover an administration that races ahead of satire.
For the good of the anti-Trump economy we can only hope that the Writer’s Guild and Hollywood producers avoid a strike.