The reviews are in for “The Newsroom,” Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO series which premiered last night. “The Newsroom” follows jaded journalists reinvigorated by a desire to put aside spin and just tell the truth, damn it — well, Sorkin’s truth, at least.
The show begins with superstar news anchor Will McAvoy telling a roomful of journalism students that America is not the greatest country in the world. The students are shocked — shocked — to hear this, as they’ve never heard any different from a lifetime of cable news consumption. It seems even real-life student activists picked up a “get off my lawn” vibe from Sorkin.
More shocking perhaps than McAvoy’s diatribe is the real-life rant of star Emily Mortimer, a Brit who tells Salon of her frustration that American TV news has too long tried to cover both sides of every issue. American journalists “act like there’s just two definite sides to every discussion,” she observes. “This Tea Party is presented on the television as the viable alternative instead of like a lunatic fringe.”
Not surprisingly, her comments have hit a nerve with some.
“The Newsroom” promises to tackle (almost) contemporary issues, kindly showing the world how the BP oil spill should have been handled.
Perhaps most frightening (or promising, depending on your politics) is the idea that “The Newsroom” could serve as this generation’s “All the President’s Men”: a fictional account of news reporting which inspires young idealists to pursue a field whose former star sunk out of sight clinging to the “fake but accurate” anchor.
Nonetheless, Sorkin seems to have a hit on his hands. But just what is Sorkin’s secret to hooking viewers?
Could it be?