Who desires to investigate the Disney vs. the LA Times Rorschach take a look at?

Robert Niles

November three, 2017, eight:20 PM ·

I actually did not wish to write this put up, as a result of the “insider” in Theme Park Insider must imply the inside workings of theme parks — not the publishing enterprise. But this story about Disneyland and the Los Angeles Times has been blowing up throughout me all day, so I figured I most likely ought to come back on right here and say one thing.

Why does this matter? Ultimately, to the typical theme park fan, it most likely does not. Any story about mbadive enterprise and journalism media lately inevitably turns into a Rorschach take a look at, onto which readers can venture no matter ideas and beliefs they already held concerning the individuals and establishments concerned.

That stated, the small print, this time, are this: Disney did not like what the LA Times wrote in a two-part sequence final September about its numerous offers with the City of Anaheim. So Disney barred the Times’ film reviewers from advance screenings of its movies, together with this week’s Thor: Ragnarok.

Read Disney’s full badertion in response to the LA Times https://t.co/EP3cJus3TE pic.twitter.com/nbXDxLaUUd

— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November three, 2017

If this sounds acquainted, it is as a result of Disney pulled the identical factor on the Times final yr — barring a Times reporter from the premiere of the Frozen musical at Disney California Adventure after he’d quoted an government of an enormous Chinese agency who’d smack-talked Shanghai Disneyland.

So, here is my take, in three elements:

1) Disney has each proper as a non-public (*okay, to be extra exact, publicly-traded however not ‘public as in authorities’ owned) firm to determine whom to speak with and which shops to ask to media occasions and screenings. The Times should purchase a ticket to overview stuff if Disney does not let it have a free advance look. (Heck, I’ve executed that loads of instances when Disney and different corporations have both ignored me or frozen me out previously.)

2) Disney had legitimate causes to be upset with issues in each cases of the Times’ protection. I’ve already defined why the Times’ sequence on Disney and Anaheim was under-reported and lack important context. The 2016 piece about Shanghai Disneyland gave vital play to anti-Disney feedback from Wanda Group’s Wang Jianlin, who talked mbadive sport however a yr later tucked tail and ran, bailing out of the Chinese theme park enterprise.

three) Points 1 and a couple of do not matter, as a result of what on the planet was Disney considering that the Times — and its readers — would do in response to those snubs?

Today’s snub simply gave the Times and each information group that coated the tried media blackout an excuse to hyperlink the September two-part sequence, exposing it to hundreds, if not tens of millions, of further readers who wouldn’t have given these tales a thought had Disney executed nothing to retaliate.

Keeping LA Times reviewers from seeing the newest Thor film prematurely will not do a factor to harm readership on the Times, both. No one is shopping for the LA Times only for the film evaluations. In reality, the individuals who pay closest consideration to the Times’ Hollywood protection are trade insiders who’re collectively rolling their eyes at Disney at this time after what the corporate pulled. Disney is extra prone to harm its personal films’ Oscar, SAG Award, and Golden Globe campaigns by making an attempt to bully the LA Times’ film employees than it’s to harm the Times itself.

People who make selections by seeking to the previous all the time lose to those that look as a substitute to the longer term to information their selections. It’s not about whether or not somebody has executed you proper or fallacious previously. It’s about doing no matter will play out the most effective for you sooner or later. That’s stone chilly efficient management.

I am unable to consider that anybody at Disney gamed out this determination earlier than making it. There’s simply no upside for Disney is banning LA Times reporters from film screenings and theme park premieres. There was no cause to get upset about Wang Jianlin’s smack discuss. Time took care of him. And time would have taken care of the September sequence by itself, too. The solely approach that these tales had been going to get any further consideration was if Disney did one thing like this to attract consideration to them.


Anyway, yeah, I most likely ought to point out that I write a weekly column about theme parks for the Orange County Register, which competes with the Times and which slammed the Times’ September experiences about Disneyland. But earlier than that, I labored for the Times, the place amongst different duties I labored as the web site editor for the Times’ film and Hollywood protection. And in between, I edited a journalism overview for the University of Southern California, the place I wrote regularly about conflicts corresponding to this. (Just for example how all the pieces is tied collectively on this city, the present dean of USC’s journalism college is Willow Bay — Disney CEO Bob Iger’s spouse. FWIW, I used to be lengthy gone by the point she arrived.)

Like I stated, it is all a Rorschach take a look at. See on this no matter you want.


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