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On the November 26 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer suggested Democratic presidential candidates were "trying to have it both ways" by expressing support for the strike by the Writers Guild of America despite having accepted contributions from entertainment executives. During the report itself, general assignment correspondent Kareen Wynter stated: "They're speaking out for writers, but the Democratic front-runners have previously accepted donations from senior executives at some of the very companies the writers are striking against." Wynter added: "[Senator Hillary Rodham] Clinton [D-NY], for example, took $4,600 in June from Peter Chirnen, president of the parent company of the Fox Network and Film Studio. That doesn't mean writers will refuse her support." Neither Blitzer nor Wynter explained their suggestion that Democrats are behaving inconsistently in accepting contributions from studio executives and then supporting the writers' strike.
Additionally, Wynter claimed during her report that the Democratic presidential candidates were supporting the writers for fundraising reasons: "There's no mystery why the Democratic candidates would support the strike. Labor unions are a critical source of fundraising and organization for Democratic presidential campaigns."
From the November 26 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
BLITZER: The Hollywood writers' strike is playing a surprising and growing role in the race for the White House, at least among Democrats, but are some of the candidates trying to have it both ways by cozying up to management while backing labor? CNN's Kareen Wynter is in Los Angeles. Kareen?
WYNTER: Wolf, the pickets are back up but talks are under way today between striking Hollywood writers and representatives for the studios and networks. Now in its fourth week, the strike is drawing the attention of the leading democratic presidential candidates.
[begin video clip]
JOHN EDWARDS (Democratic presidential candidate): I'm proud to be with you in this fight for fairness.
WYNTER: John Edwards on the front lines of the Hollywood writers' strike. He and his fellow Democratic presidential contenders have become increasingly vocal about the labor dispute.
EDWARDS: This is part of the continuing effort to make sure that people who work hard for a living are treated fairly.
WYNTER: Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama [IL] and Governor Bill Richardson [NM] have issued statements supporting writers in their battle with the TV networks and studios, but only Edwards has showed up at a picket line in person.
JAMES DUFF (striking writer): It's really nice when Senator Clinton and Senator Obama send a note expressing support. They've talked the talk. But John Edwards is coming to walk the walk.
WYNTER: Lest anyone doubt Clinton's support for the cause, she's vowed to boycott a CBS News-sponsored debate next month if news writers for that network join the strike.
Obama quickly followed suit, and his wife, Michelle, turned down an invitation to co-host ABC's The View because their writers are on strike.
Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, earlier canceled an appearance on the show. The Writers Guild applauded that.
JACK KENNY (striking writer): I think that people who believe in labor unions shouldn't cross picket lines.
WYNTER: There's no mystery why the Democratic candidates would support the strike. Labor unions are a critical source of fundraising and organization for Democratic presidential campaign.
EDWARDS: Thanks, guys, great to see you.
WYNTER: They're speaking out for writers, but the Democratic front-runners have previously accepted donations from senior executives at some of the very companies the writers are striking against. Clinton, for example, took $4,600 in June from Peter Chirnen, president of the parent company of the Fox Network and Film Studio. That doesn't mean writers will refuse her support.
KENNY: I'm happy to have the endorsements of Senator Clinton and Senator Obama and anybody else who would like to say something.
[end video clip]
WYNTER: Not saying anything are the Republican presidential candidates, neither [sic] of whom have taken a public stand on the strike, for instance, former actor Fred Thompson, who, as a star of the show Law & Order, used to read lines written by members of the Writers Guild. In fact, his Hollywood labor ties include membership with the two largest acting unions. Wolf?
BLITZER: All right, Kareen, thanks very much; Kareen Wynter in L.A.