Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fox Fires Movie Reviewer For Doing His Job

This is an interesting situation. We're in an era where self-promotion is the name of the game, no matter how distasteful. We're also in an age of corporate conglomerates and "synergy" (which I'm sure is no longer a buzzword - perhaps "vertical marketing" is the preferred term?) where a company can own both a movie studio and a media outlet to promote the studio's output.

When being part of a multi-faceted business sucks outrageously is when you are forbidden from competing against outside interests because management thinks it's more important to prop up a weak internal link. In this case, security.

Several days ago, a copy of the forthcoming X-Men spinoff Wolverine was leaked to the internet. Roger Friedman had the misfortune of being in Fox News' employment when he did what he needed to do to remain relevant as a paid movie reviewer at a time when crowd-sourcing is pushing professional media people out of work - he wrote a review of the leaked movie.

Result? Fox fired him. From a company-loyalty standpoint, I am not unsympathetic. It's important for the studio the movie not be leaked and it sucks for them that one of their staff seemingly validated the leakers. But Fox is also a media company and the creative people in that division have to think about remaining competitive, as well.

It's an uncomfortable time for media people in general, right now. I don't know what the solution is; recently a conversation with a freelance writer of 20 years ended with, "fuck the internet." In the coming weeks, I hope to speak with more, in hopes of ... well, I don't know just yet. I know that most of the people who see the problem for what it is can't speak of it through the outfits and outlets that employ them. Hopefully, some good ideas may come out of it.

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