"You know why Americans don't like liberals. It's because they lose. if liberals are so f*cking smart, why do they lose?"
But it Can Be.
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.
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?
...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.
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.
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?"