Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is executive editor of The American Prospect. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

The Writers Guild’s Dispute Had a Prequel. Lew Wasserman and the Feds Were the Stars.

This article originally appeared at The Los Angeles Times. Subscribe here . If you’re following the kerfuffle between Hollywood writers and their agents , you may have a sense of déjà vu—well, if you’re old enough and have a good memory, or are steeped in the industry’s history. Over the past month, film and television writers have fired their agents , instructed to do so by the Writers Guild of America to protest the fact that the agencies have branched out into “packaging” productions. Instead of simply representing writers (and directors and actors and producers), many agencies now prefer to assemble all the talent for a project and take a fee for it. In some cases, the agencies actually produce the movies and shows themselves, thereby employing the very writers they are pledged to represent. As the WGA has pointed out, when an agency sits on both sides of the bargaining table, that doesn’t work to the writers’ advantage...

With Uber’s Stock Tanking, Trump’s NLRB Rides to Its Rescue

Richard Drew/AP Photo
Uber Has Poisoned an IPO Market That Was Sick Anyway,” a Wall Street Journal headline proclaimed this morning. When the market closed Monday, two days after the company had first listed its stock, Uber’s shares had declined by 18 percent from its IPO listing of $45. To deter Uber’s owners from hurling themselves off of Airbnb high-rises, however, the Trumpified National Labor Relations Board endeavored to come to their rescue today. With stories like the Journal’s declaring that Uber ownership was a fool’s errand, the Board chose today to release an April 16 “Advice Memorandum” from the office of its general counsel which emphatically concluded that Uber drivers were independent contractors with no right to form a union or bargain collectively. For a company like Uber, which has never yet shown a profit, a guarantee that it will never need to give its drivers a raise is as close as the company can get to something resembling good news. To...

Biden’s Bipartisan Illusions

If Joe Biden wants to focus his campaign on getting rid of Donald Trump, there is, I concede, some electoral logic to that theme. But to assert that once Trump is gone, the Republican Party will be susceptible to bipartisan appeals and respect empirically verified reality—which Biden assures us it will—is dangerous folly. So dangerous, if he actually believes it, that it should disqualify him for the Democratic nomination. “History will treat this administration’s time as an aberration,” Biden told an Iowa ballroom-full of supporters last week. “This is not the Republican Party,” he continued, noting his longstanding ties to “my Republican friends in the House and Senate.” Indeed, as The New York Times has reported , “in the Obama White House, he was known as the ‘McConnell whisperer’ for his skills in striking agreements with the often recalcitrant Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell.” And how well...

The Malign Cluelessness of the Billionaire Bourgeoisie

One of our nation’s more festive rites of spring convenes every April or May at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The Milken Institute’s Global Conference, presided over by Michael Milken himself, is a kind of domestic Davos, minus the swarm of elected officials and social movement leaders who are occasionally brought in to the Swiss gathering to spice things up. The Milken Conference is made of sterner stuff. It’s for financiers, business honchos, and the random superrich, brought together to inform their deal-making, make more connections, and celebrate—well, themselves. Old-timers may recall Milken’s yearly clambakes at the Hilton began in the 1980s, when he was inventing the junk-bond business at Drexel, Burnham, Lambert, and would annually convene high-flying financiers at the Hilton at what was then called “The Predators’ Ball,” a nod to the corporate takeovers and profit extraction that Milken had helped pioneer. That, of...

Trump Did What Nixon Did, but Today’s GOP Won’t Convict

The story is told of the 19th-century Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster, who was also a noted trial lawyer, that he once represented a plaintiff in a patent infringement suit. His client, an inventor, was suing a would-be inventor who’d come up with a small machine that was indistinguishable from the plaintiff’s own invention. As the trial ended, Webster’s opposing attorney delivered a long summation enumerating the ostensible differences between the two devices. When he finished, Webster arose, looked at the two machines, turned to the jury and said, “Well, if you can see any difference between them, that is more than I can see”—and sat down. The jury quickly ruled for Webster’s client. This story (which, like many good stories, may be apocryphal) comes to mind when comparing Richard Nixon’s obstruction of justice—which, had he not resigned, would have resulted in his impeachment and conviction—with Donald Trump’s...

Pages