This episode made me SO MAD. I just want to keyboard smash all over the place. AND MAYBE I WILL.
Every week, almost without fail, I get angry after I watch an episode of The Newsroom. I ask myself — every week! — why I don’t just stop watching it if it makes me so mad. And my answer is that while there are some seriously aggravating aspects to this show, there are still many redeeming qualities to it. On a personal level, I want more of this fictional universe because the residual J-school student in me craves it, and that probably is the most effective irritation-quasher.
But last week’s episode (1x09)infuriatedme.
The -ism issues I usually have with this show — sexism, racism — were not the core of my frustrations. The core of my frustrations lied in how UNBELIEVABLY out of touch Aaron Sorkin can be with writing about journalism. First of all, this is the preachiest fucking television show I’ve ever watched. Everyone —everyone— is a preacher. Morals! Ethics! REAL journalism! I’m on a mission to civilize! Everyone is so far up their own fucking ass, it’s insufferable.
The mock debate was an amalgamation of all the little journalism problems Aaron Sorkin has had thus far in writingNewsroom.
I understand that News Night is trying really hard with Serious Journalism because they’ve been getting by with Fake Journalism for so long and now they’re making up for it. But it drives me off the wall that Aaron Sorkin cannot properly illustrate how to show the ambitions of all these Serious Journalists without reducing them to condescending, white, liberal, self-righteous do-gooders who are magically all-knowing and all-aware.
- Lisa giving an interview to News Night about Casey Anthony and then breaking cue to spout Angry Truths about how the audience only cares about Casey Anthony because she’s white and pretty. Look, it’s probably true, but I hate that the moment was made into this great moment of realization because one white person is calling a group of (predominantly) white people out on paying attention to white people! And we’re supposed to reel in that and feel ashamed if we ever paid attention to shitty non-stories that were made into stories because the key players were white. Give me a fucking break.
- The mock debate and what it boiled down to when the RCN guys came around. Of course there’s the guy who was besties with Will way back when, who he shared really deep conversations with about all that’s wrong with mainstream media and their vetting of presidential candidates. And of course that guy is full of virtue and good morals and craves realness but can’t do it because The Man (the young guy who happens to be a douche!) doesn’t want his own candidates to be embarrassed on national TV.
And of course we’re supposed to watch the entire mock debate where Will throws righteous punch after righteous punch:somuch that by the end of the questioning, there’s no question that the viewers (us) would feel alive and burning as Real Journalists, or at least people who have a vested interest in watching Real Questions being asked. So of course we’re going to feel let down when the douchebag rejects ACN’s new mock debate proposal.
Aaron Sorkin creates this world where morally-centered Real Journalists exist and every other aspect of the world exists to help them propel their Real Journalist cred. The most annoying thing is that when Real News is not allowed to happen in this fantasy land, Aaron Sorkin takes to his characters to create the biggest motherfucking whinefest known to man. There is just no stopping this torpedo that is Real News and Real Journalists, godfuckingdammit! And everyone who stops it is a butthole who cannot think for themselves and is a rabid, greedy, capitalistic psycho!
There’s also this otherannoying thing that Sorkin does, where when one Real Journalist stands up to the Man, all his other fellow Real Journalists stand up to the Man in unison, and the viewer is punched in the fucking face with this tidal wave of an over-dramatic scene where everyone stands up to the man, and if you don’t feel in your heart of hearts the sudden urge to stand up to the man, then you are an asshole with no moral center.
I hope nobody is looking to this show and thinking this is how all journalists are, but if they are and if they’re susceptible to it, Aaron Sorkin is giving journalism and journalists such a bad rep. I think his characters all mean well, but then Sorkin does his very Sorkin thing and pushes them over the edge of hysterical condescension. Everyone who even remotely relates to these characters are so turned off by it all, and people who don’t, they think this is what all liberal journalists must be. And so in the end! What happens is that the only people left who really love this show is also the very small percentage of people who are the assholes that Aaron Sorkin set out to write. Or they’re just Aaron Sorkin himself.