TCA Sounds Off on Disney-‘LA Times’ Skirmish

Programmer blocking paper's reporters from attending film screenings after report about corporate giant

The Television Critics Association (TCA) has weighed in on the clash between The Walt Disney Co. and the Los Angeles Times, which saw Disney deny the newspaper’s reporters advance screening access to Disney films.

The TCA said companies taking “punitive action” against reporters for doing their jobs is wrong.

The problem started when the Los Angeles Times published a report Sept. 24 called “Is Disney Paying Its Share in Anaheim?” on the tax benefits Disney receives from Anaheim, Calif., home of Disneyland.

Disney responded by saying that the newspaper showed “a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards,” and added that Los Angeles Times reporters could no longer attend advance screenings of Disney movies.

The TCA board said in a statement, "The Television Critics Association understands that screeners and coverage opportunities are a privilege and not a right, but we condemn any circumstance in which a company takes punitive action against journalists for doing their jobs."

There is talk of Disney movies being removed from awards consideration as long as the LAT blackout remains in place.

It is not known if LAT reporters are also denied screening access to Disney TV series. A query to the newspaper was not returned at presstime.

UPDATE:The LA Times said its reporters are also being denied screening access to Disney TV series.