Tag Archives: Aaron Sorkin

HBO’S Newsroom Finale: Republicans in name only

Newsroom, starring Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy, isn’t pulling punches. But with hindsight super-abilities comes the flip side of preaching to new audiences who were first unaware of any of the facts (quasi-history).

Maybe they were tuned into TMZ, I mean TMI and not the issues of deficits run up by the imperial and christian alliance. But those audiences will look at this and think: “hmm, this looks about right.” Maybe they’ll get interested in getting up and giving a damn about their country direction — realizing it’s they who control that course.

Or maybe they’ll just hate news people a little more and realize what unhappy pathetic people they also are (fictional: feeling sorry for yourself after a hit piece in New York Magazine, oh boo hoo don’t console yourself with your millions… swallow pills).

Sadly enough, Sorkin has done a terrible job giving Ron Paul any credit for his true role as godfather of the tea party (before it was hijacked by every interest group and became a reactionary nationalist movement), relegating him to brief quips on economic issues and once again trudging through the racist views of others that were published under his banner without his knowledge. In a recent episode, going so far as to ironically have the only black man in the newsroom play Paul during a mock debate. The humor and jabs at everyone in the truth industry is indeed the most ironic thing about this show.

Still, I love them for trying to understand the republican narrative that’s developed since the 2008 crash and Obama’s presidency, but that’s the power of a hindsight fictional show far flung from the actual power centers covering the screwups in the news: even they won’t get the story right.

Newsday reviewer Verne Gay writes on the season’s finale:

But I was struck in a couple of instances by what some viewed as the series’ chief virtue — that it offered a candid look at how editorial decisions are made in the newsrooms of major television networks.

I didn’t have the heart to tell those readers, but . . . no, that is not the series’ chief virtue. That doesn’t even belong on the list of virtues. “The Newsroom” is a fairy tale, almost wholly disembodied from the real world of television journalism, even with its real world takes on newsmakers as diverse as Casey Anthony and Grover Norquist.

But Aaron Sorkin, in his defense, isn’t seeking verisimilitude as much as (if I may coin a new word) quasi-similitude, in which viewers are lulled into thinking this is a real world when in fact all Sorkin wants to do is mount an entertaining series and score a few points at the same time.

“The Newsroom” is kind of a Trojan horse of a series, ingratiating itself and then — once inside your head — unleashing its hordes of Sorkian notions of fairness, Democracy, the Tea party, threats to American life (as he sees them), and so on. Verisimilitude be damned.

That’s another way of saying there’s not much accuracy, but it’s entertaining as hell.

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