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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Who Killed Cock Roger?

That’s what I get for believing the NY Daily News gossip section… not to mention paying any attention to what Roger Friedman is “telling everyone.” The guy can’t help but lie even when he is telling his own story.
The lawsuit that was filed yesterday has only one mention of Scientology in it – more on that in a bit – and a rather more bizarre (didn’t know that was possible, did you?) at all to any motivation on Murdoch’s part for the firing.
There is a repeated refrain about the video that Friedman “saw a film called Wolverine on the internet,” but that “Friedman did not download Wolverine.” How exactly does that work?


And there is awfully careful language about the source of the internet leak.
murdoch1.jpg
Put aside, for a moment, that it remains to be proven that Murdoch had a copy of the film in his personal possession is true. Note in the language that Murdoch had allegedly possessed and controlled and screened A COPY of the work print… but the phrasing can easily be read as NOT saying that it was that specific Murdoch Copy that ended up on the web, just that what he allegedly possessed was the same as the version of the work print that ended up on the web.
The work print thing is repeated, a little differently, again in Point 25, suggesting that Murdoch had somehow failed to tell anyone inside his company that he had a copy of the work print and that they should have known this when they decided to dump Friedman.
But either way… it is an irrelevant point. Well… a pointless point. Is the argument to be spun from this that Murdoch wanted the film posted on the internet? I men what kind of nutty…
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Oh. He ALLOWED it to be posted to the web. But he hadn’t told anyone from the company, right? And how did he ALLOW this? And why?
It boggles the mind,
There are two points that make some small amount of sense. One, that the piece went up without a peep from any of the people given responsibility for overseeing Friedman. If he is fired, they should probably have been fired would be his argument. Maybe.
This exposes the ugly truth about entertainment journalism and even sensationalized gossips. Their editors and overseers don’t really know and don’t really care. I was no online and on a vacation when the story broke and had multiple communications with the studio in which it became quickly clear that they were doing a full court press on keeping all outlets from reviewing this film off of a stolen work print on the web. Most of the geek sites were publicly speaking about it. Only a hack who doesn’t bother with journalistic ethics could have gone to print with a review without knowing that the studio was working day and night – including hundreds of cease and desist notices going out across the globe – to keep anyone from doing what Friedman did.
The second argument is that other News Corp outlets had written about illegal downloading and explained in some detail how it is done. Interesting. But in the end, not relevant to Friedman’s giddy embrace of the experience and, again, the choice to review a studio movie off of an illegal download that was unquestionable an unfinished print.
And now… my favorite part…
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Now… I didn’t even know that Friedman had reviewed the film as I wandered NYC on Friday. I learned about it in a private e-mail from AICN’s Mr. Beaks, Jeremy Smith. I considered it… and I wrote about it at 6:38p PST. I think that Harry Knowles had already written about it by then (his post is time stamped 6:24p, which may be Austin time, making it even earlier in LA).
murdoch4.jpg
This is the only reference to Scientology in the lawsuit… and if it refers to AICN, HifFix or myself, it has no basis in any level of reality.
After Fox put out a late night press release, I responded by morning, as had Drew McWeeny at HitFix and Mr. Beaks, adding to the AICN post.
By 4:30p, Friedman was terminated.
By 6pm, Roger Ailes was spinning the story of how Fox News had acted heroically to Nikki Finke.
Apparently, this conspiracy took flight when Fox read about the review and was raised to a firing offense under the public pressure of insistence over the issue of Fox’s consistency on the matter.
The problem is… everything I printed… and everything printed by HitFix and AICN about Roger was true. Roger’s actions – the tone of the column not being the least of the issue – forced the action by News Corp. He might take more people down with him with this lawsuit. If there was an error to fight over it was the firing of him alone. But he took the actions that led to his professional demise. And the media – blogs – simply told the story by laying out facts and perspective.

One Response to “Who Killed Cock Roger?”

  1. tfresca says:

    It’s rather easy to watch illegal movies via countless streaming sites. I said this when Roger got popped that it was bogus. Nobody has ever been charged with a criminal act for watching something on a streaming site that was posted online. So where was the criminal act? Last I checked offending studio bosses isn’t a crime.

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