Coming on the heels of the overly-praised Girls (a ten episode self-esteem workshop on body issues/self-absorption aimed at the 23-28 female demographic, yet written at level easily understood by overly-bright tweens) HBO debuted Aaron Sorkin’s Newsroom on Sunday night and the Village Media no like-ied.
Howard Kurtz called it
…is a talky and tedious sendup of TV news, in a room stacked with self-obsessed blowhards.
… not that he was entirely wrong, but there is a part of me that believes that Howard got confused and slipped in a DVD of any random episode of his Reliable Sources show on CNN rather than the screener that HBO sent over.
Jake Tapper, who was once a decent reporter during his Salon days before landing his current gig at ABC where he’s been polishing his villager chops in the hopes of taking over ABC’s This Week from that
funny-talking show-off Christiane Amanpour George the Imp, thereby giving America the two David Gregory’s that it deserves, wants to like Newsroom, but some parts just hit to close too home, I guess:
—McAvoy experiences an epiphany. He goes on air and apologizes to the public for having pursued unimportant stories in pursuit of ratings. He will now only report on what is serious and real. He will dedicate himself to protecting civic virtue.
But that prompts the question: protect it from what? This is where Sorkin’s high-minded critique falls flat. McAvoy sanctimoniously laments the deterioration of public discourse and the news media’s complicity in it. But if that is the problem, his subsequent actions reveal a commitment to a uniformly partisan solution.
Here is Jake Tapper reporting on what was serious and real:
As any close friend or family member can attest, I have an unusually keen sense of smell and immediately I smelled cigarette smoke on Obama. Frankly, he reeked of cigarettes.
Obama ran off before I could ask him if he’d just snuck a smoke, so I called his campaign.
They denied it. He’d quit months before, in February, they insisted. He chewed nicorette.
But I knew what I’d smelled and I asked his campaign to double-check and to ask him if he’d had a cigarette.
They reported back that he had told them he hadn’t had a cigarette since he quit.
And maybe that was true. Maybe I imagined the cigarette smoke. My olfactory nerve somehow misfired.
Except….last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, Obama admitted that his attempt to wean himself from the vile tobacco weed had not been entirely successful.
“I fell off the wagon a couple times during the course of it, and then was able to get back on,” he said. “But it is a struggle like everything else.”
Now I wonder about last August.
It’s not a big deal in the scheme of things — the war on Iraq, a major economic crisis — indeed, it’s miniscule. Hardly worth mentioning.
Except that I don’t like feeling that I wasn’t being dealt with honestly. And as much as citizens who are suspect of the media might scoff at such a notion, many of us consider ourselves to be your representatives to help make sure our leaders are telling us the truth, and leading the country down a path we as a nation are confident is the right one. (Corny, I know.)
You have to admit, that “I work for you , the citizens and for truth…” part was kind of Sorkin-esque in an adorable juicebox journalism kind of way.
Of course, nobody took more glee in the thrashing that Newsroom received from critics for it’s heavy-handed dramatization of the cynical trivialization of news-reporting for fame and profit and the accompanying speechifying about Doing Things Noble and Good than Politico because, when it comes to the cynical trivialization of news-reporting for fame and profit (Politics Division) that’s their mission statement in a nutshell.
By the way, Pierce has the best take on Newsroom. I think the show has potential but then I don’t have an aversion to snappy didacticism as long as it shoves the shiv in occasionally.