Wednesday night, we saw a rare thing on CBS: real labor solidarity.
There was David Letterman, honoring the strike by the Writers’ Guild of America. His company, Worldwide Pants, which owns the Letterman Show, agreed to the union’s terms, so he wasn’t crossing a picket line like Leno or Conan or Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert.
He was honoring a picket line.
And he made no bones about where he stood.
From the opening chorus line with picket signs, to the reading of the top ten list by striking writers from other programs (including from Conan’s and the Daily Show), to offering a strike captain time to rant, to his own multiple endorsements of the writers, Letterman couldn’t have been clearer.
He stood with the strikers against the big studios. Hell, he even mentioned the name of Eugene V. Debs.
But what about Leno? Or Conan? Or Jon Stewart and Colbert?
They say their bosses ordered them to cross the picket line.
But what if they refused?
Would the bosses really have canned them, since they are such cash cows for GE and Viacom?
I really doubt it.
Leno and Conan and Jon Stewart and Colbert could have exercised real courage, since they had maximum leverage against the corporate honchos.
In fact, they may have been able, just among themselves, to bring the strike to an end on terms favorable to the writers.
But they caved.
Shame on them. Kudos to Dave