Seven weeks into this strike, you almost feel sorry for the AMPTP. This video, from SNL’s Fred Armisen, illustrates precisely why they’ve irrevocably lost the PR war on the internet. The tone of their rhetoric has thus far run the spectrum from mock concern to mock outrage (taking in mock conciliation and mock impatience along the way), and videos like this (and trulydangerous’ “The AMPTP Responds” series) easily reveal the vested truth behind all the smarm. It’s hard to believe the studios and networks really believe what they’re telling the writers and public, when their flopsweat is all over each missive and new reality show press release, and when the counter-evidence to their claims comes straight out of their own investor relations departments. And it gets worse. They’ve managed to solidify above-the-line guild solidarity with the writers (DGA and SAG contracts are also up for negotiation in 2008) in a variety of ways (e.g., enacting “force majeure” clauses in producer and actor contracts). In an attempted strategy of divide-and-conquer, they’re forcing below-the-line workers (crew and support staff) to pay the price through mass layoffs. Most recently, in another moment of mock conciliation (and with a hint of a potential new flavor, mock resolve), they’ve released a full-page ad in Variety that unfortunately primarily functions to remind Hollywood that only eight guys (the CEOs of the AMPTP) run the show. As Nikki Finke shrewdly points out, this is a far cry from the situation in 1988, when the Aaron Spellings and Marcy Carseys of the industry still carried some clout, and the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (aka fin-syn) kept the studios and networks largely apart. Still, the history of labor struggle reveals time and again that the owners don’t have win the hearts and minds; they just have to outlast the workers’ resolve. That was indeed the case in the 1988 strike, which did not end well for the WGA. The AMPTP may be knowingly peddling bullshit, but as long as they can sustain America’s interest in reality shows, placate worried shareholders, ignore the strike through their own news divisions, and hold off Silicon Valley’s Great Entertainment Takeover, they really don’t have to be loved again. Only feared.