Studios commonly offer movie reviewers advance screenings of their movies so they have time to write their reviews (Ars included) before the movies become available to the general public. The Los Angeles Times is the paper of record for the Los Angeles metro area, so you’d expect its writers to have easy access to these movie screenings. But in a Friday tweetstorm, LA Times writer Glenn Whipp said that Disney had banned the paper from screenings of movies like Thor: Ragnarok in retaliation for its critical coverage of Disney’s relationship with the city of Anaheim, home of Disneyland.
Last week, the Ninth Circuit followed up with an order to show cause — an order telling the government to explain why the court should not issue sanctions based on the oral argument. The order does not openly accuse the government of leaking information to influence the court, but notes that “federal authorities” provided information and that the Department of Justice then cited the information a few days later. The court also demanded copies of transcripts and documents about Dean’s bond hearings. The court wants to know why the government cited an article not in the record sourced to an anonymous federal employee, and wants to know why the government’s own employee made the terrible bail decision that the government is now trying to blame on the court. This does not bode well for the government.