(This is an item from our new blog: Unofficial Sources.)
Broadcast media has not devoted much air time to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, an agreement that will greatly impact 40 percent of the global economy. But hacked emails from Sony reveal that media industry executives have been engaged in active discussions about the agreement behind closed doors.
On April 17, 2014, Steven Fabrizio, the general counsel of the Motion Picture Association of America, sent out an update to industry executives — including Maren Christensen of NBC and Alan Braverman of Disney, the parent company of ABC News — detailing lobbying efforts by the MPAA. “Finally, in regard to trade,” Fabrizio wrote, “the MPAA/MPA with the strong support of your studios, continue to advocate to governments around the world about the pressing need for strong pro-IP trade policies such as TPP and the proposed EU/US trade agreement (TTIP).”
In an email dated February 20, 2014, MPAA president Chris Dodd shared a letter he wrote concerning the TPP deal with executives from NBC, Viacom, Disney and Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. The letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman decried the potential inclusion of “fair use” doctrine in the TPP, telling Froman that “the potential export of fair use via these agreements raises serious concerns within the community I represent.” Dodd also said he was worried about “indications from the US government that the ISP liability provisions in the TPP are going to be weakened.”
On November 7, 2013, Keith Weaver, a senior executive for Sony’s government affairs department, wrote to Michael Lynton, the chief executive of Sony Pictures, to tell him about a meeting about the trade deal, following up on an earlier one at the White House:
I understand you may be contacted by [Disney chief] Bob Iger or United States Trade Representative, Michael Froman to invite you (+ one) to a meeting at Disney next Friday (the 15th). While I’m not aware of the details of this meeting (time or agenda), my sense is that much of the discussion will center on the TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP (TPP, which is a pending multilateral trade agreement with 12 countries that boarder the Pacific Ocean) – you’ll recall this was one of the key topics of your meeting with Froman and your peers at the White House last year.
As I’ve reported in the past, Time Warner, Comcast, and Disney, despite failing to devote air time to the TPP trade deal, have registered lobbyists to promote the deal.
A Media Matters report found that a “transcript search of the CBS Evening News, ABC’s World News Tonight, and NBC’s Nightly News from August 1, 2013, through January 31, 2015, found no mention of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” The same report found that The Ed Show on MSNBC was the only cable news program to devote significant coverage to the issue. “During the same 18-month period, CNN and Fox News each mentioned the TPP during two broadcasts.”
Photo: Henning Schacht-Pool/Getty