The Los Angeles Times has just published its 2017 Holiday Movie Preview. Prominently featured is this note warning readers about a rather large and unfortunate omission from the reviews:
L.A. Times staff writer Glenn Whipp has more in this tweet thread:
Whipp told the Erik Wemple Blog that following the series on Anaheim, Disney had denied access for L.A. Times entertainment writers to the company’s media sites, effectively preventing them from previewing the company’s content. Some inquiries about reinstatement, says a source, have gone unanswered. About eight staffers at the newspaper have been blocked from the sites. As for movie stuff, Whipp says that for three movie releases – “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Coco” and “Star Wars: Episode VIII”* – “we’ve been told that we will not be able to review or have any access to the filmmakers or the people who made those movies.”
Movie reviewers have been banned from Disney press screenings, resulting in late reviews.
Given the fierceness of Disney’s response, it surely compiled a Google spreadsheet of errors in the newspaper’s Anaheim series. Right? “Disney’s complaint was not one of accuracy,” Miller tells the Erik Wemple Blog. “It did not ask for a single correction on this series.” So what was the problem? “I think it’s fair to say that Disney strenuously argued for how significant its positive impact on the city of Anaheim has been and we feel that that is reflected in the story.”
The series, added Miller, stemmed from the newspaper’s judgment that the granting of subsidies, tax breaks and incentives to big companies is a national issue captured by the relationship between Disney and Anaheim. As for the newspaper’s subsequent access to Disney, Miller says, “reporters here have not been getting phone calls and other outreach returned from the company.”
A request for comment from Disney is pending. Statement from the Walt Disney Co.:
We regularly work with news organizations around the world that we don’t always agree with, but in this instance the L.A. Times showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards. Despite our sharing numerous indisputable facts with the reporter, several editors, and the publisher over many months, the Times moved forward with a biased and inaccurate series, wholly driven by a political agenda—so much so that the Orange County Register referred to the report as “a hit piece” with a “seemingly predetermined narrative.” We’ve had a long relationship with the L.A. Times, and we hope they will adhere to balanced reporting in the future.
*Correction: This post initially misstated the relevant “Star Wars” movie.