HBO's new show, NEWSROOM is extraordinary. But a big part of what makes it extraordinary is that it totally trashes the intentionally failing/spineless mainstream media, which serves corporatism. So it's no surprise that right wingers are trashing the show, calling it overly emotional, shallow. And it is very likely that MSM networks will let loose a lot of nasty attacks.
The truth is the show not only delivers a strong message, it also delivers some powerful characters, interesting sub-plots and edge of your seat moment to moment tension. The cast, starting with Jeff Daniels, is extraordinary.
Soon enough the complete transcript of the rant that pretty much opens the show. Here's a chunk of what Jeff Daniels delivers, showing there's an insult for everybody:
"You know why Americans don't like liberals. It's because they lose. if liberals are so f*cking smart, why do they lose?"
There are some iconic lines on there. I expect there will be, ones that people can use, weekly." Linda Milazzo, writer for Huffingtonpost and Opednews.com observes.
As the trailer has shown, a sorority girl asks Daniels, a liberal and a conservative on a panel "Why do you think America is the greatest country?"
Daniels looks in the audience and sees:
Those are the cue cards Jeff Daniels soon-to-be new producer flashes to him.
After giving cute and funny, empty answers to previous questions, he goes on a first class rant that sets the arc of his career in a new direction-- with spine, guts and truth.
David Zurawik reviewing Newsroom for the Baltimore Sun
, describes the speech as " one of the most important TV moments of the last decade -- whether or not the HBO drama that it launches becomes a hit ," and comments;
No, this is a great speech, and you should not let anyone ruin it for you. Just open yourself to it on the visceral as well as intellectual level. Let it flow all over you, as they said of feature films in the 1960s. (And, by the way, what you get in the trailers is about 2 percent of what happens in the full speech.)
Intellectually, here is what I love about the speech: the way Sorkin simply and elegantly states the connection between an aggressive, ethical press that doesn't lean left or right and the success or failure of democracy in this nation.
After a crescendo of facts showing definitely that America is not such a great nation any more, McAvoy in a softer and sadder voice, tells the students we once were great. He's referring to post-World-War-II America when he says, "We waged war on poverty, not poor people... And we didn't scare so easily."
And here's his central argument: One of the reasons we were great in that era, is because we had a great press committed to providing citizens fact-based, reliable, professionally gathered and vetted information that they could trust and use to make informed decisions about their lives -- decisions like who to vote for.
Here are some tweets with the #newsroom hashtag:
@mdburnell: After reading all those bad reviews of The Newsroom this week, I've come to this conclusion: Some people just don't get it.
@KatrinaNation: As Emily Nussbaum's terrific New Yorker review of Sorkin's "Newsroom" puts it--It's the "inverse of 'Veep'--it's so naive it's cynical." (Katrina Van Den Heuvel, publisher of The Nation)
@Utku_Ugurtas: #Newsroom makes you wish #hbo did actual nightly news.
@cooloutrageous Newsroom is arguably one of the best new shows on TV.
Sorkin's reputation for starry-eyed idealism comes from stories like The American President and A Few Good Men , as well as -- most importantly -- The West Wing . It's tempting to see The Newsroom as an extension of that idealism, given the sheer tonnage of inspiring speeches from people like Daniels, Sam Waterston as his boss Charlie, and John Gallagher, Jr. as a young producer.
Make no mistake: When Aaron Sorkin is persuaded that his cause is just, he writes better go-get-'em speeches than anyone else currently working in Hollywood. Hearing a Sorkin character forcefully argue something you believe to be true is like bathing in a tub full of champagne while you listen to a CD of affirmations called You Are Great And Smart, And No One Understands You: You know at some level that it's self-indulgent, but it feels so good, and don't you deserve that?
Jeff Simon, writes, in Buffalo News.com,
...this summer's mostly eagerly awaited - and, no doubt, best - TV show begins (tonight at 10 on HBO).
It's Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom," in which one of the greatest living auteurs in American television ("Sports Night," "The West Wing") gives us a TV newsroom counterpart of "The West Wing," i.e. a frightfully articulate liberal wonk's ferocious fantasy of a powerful American institution whose denizens are probably a little bit smarter, nobler, better and more eloquent than their real life counterparts.
We know how eloquent real TV news anchors can be. We've heard Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Wolf Blitzer and Brian Williams speak off the cuff before. But we've never encountered their fictional stand-in before, breathing fire fueled by Sorkin's vocabulary and outrage and verbal energy.
McAvoy is to real TV news anchors what "The West Wing's" Jed Bartlet was to real politicians - the liberal fantasy version few could resist, the made-up version of the "real thing" in a debased world, with all the eloquence to prove it.
If you don't have access to the show on HBO, here's a description of what happens in the show:
Network has the potential to make a real difference.
My bet is Aaron Sorkin's show will get to media people. It will get to producers and directors and staffers and anchors and they will watch it. They will need to watch it. And it will move them. Maybe it will just move them a little. Maybe it will push a researcher to dig a little deeper and push an angle a little bit further. Maybe it will give a producer a little more courage to push a little harder. This show is going to make a difference that could change things. That's a big deal. Kudos to HBO for not only making a series that can make a difference, but also showing that they can do it PROFITABLY.
Some quotes from the first episode:
Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) "When you ask me what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don't know what the f*ck you're talking about--Yosemite?"
Daniels asks of a new senior producer who's brought major info from his own sources on a breaking story. "and how do I know that you're not being fed misinformation by James O'Keefe?"
--"I'm too old to be afraid of dumb people" spoken by the Newsroom's News Director Sam Waterson.
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