Charlie Rose Endorses America is 'Not Greatest Country' View of Aaron Sorkin Show

In Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO drama The Newsroom, the lead character Will McAvoy, played by actor Jeff Daniels, rattles off America’s failings and blasts that “It’s not the greatest country in the world.” It’s an opinion of America that CBS This Morning co-anchor Charlie Rose admitted, on his Thursday night PBS show, he shares. Rose invited on Sorkin, Daniels and actress Emily Mortimer to promote the show about a disgruntled cable news anchor and told Sorkin he agreed with McAvoy’s and presumably Sorkin’s dim view of America: “I mean this is your definition of the world right there. And by the way, mine too. I mean you know what’s happened to the country.”

In the scene, McAvoy rants: “There is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force and number four in exports. We lead the world in only three categories. Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined 25 of whom are allies.” (video after the jump)

 

The following excerpts are from the June 21 edition of PBS’s Charlie Rose show:


CHARLIE ROSE: But I mean even the opening scene where he finally let’s all this crap go along and you know he’s saying, he’s just being funny and one line after another and finally just erupts. Right? I mean that was as much Sorkin speak as I can possibly imagine. I mean this is your definition of the world right there. And by the way, mine too. I mean you know what’s happened to the country.

AARON SORKIN: Yeah, it is. I mean it’s-

ROSE: We’re 17th in education and all these kinds of things that are true.

SORKIN: All those things are true. Now this isn’t a ventriloquist act. I`m not, you know, using actors and characters to -- to say the things I want to say. You know I’ve created a world and I’m looking for points of friction and that kind of thing.
...
SORKIN: He is a moderate Republican. And he is going to, yeah, he’s gonna be the one
to stand up and basically say what Jeb Bush is now saying but he’s going to say it louder, much tougher and for an hour every night on TV. That he feels that it’s got to be someone like him who stands up to the radical fringe of the Republican Party and not a liberal who is doing it.

ROSE: Does this in your -- in your own vision reflect what the country needs in terms of his political leadership?

AARON SORKIN: Yes, it does.

ROSE: Alright, this I think is a rant we had at the university. Roll tape. Here it is.




(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about the people. Why is it --

JEFF DANIELS as WILL MCAVOY: It’s not the greatest country in the world professor, that’s my answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You’re saying --

MCAVOY: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s talk about --

DANIELS: Fine, Sharon, the NEA is a loser. Yeah it accounts for a penny out of her pay check but he gets to hit you with it anytime he wants. It doesn’t cost money, it costs votes, it`s costs air time and column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals, because they lose.

If liberals are so (inaudible) smart how come they lose so goddamn always?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey.

MCAVOY: And with a straight face you`re going to tell students that America is so star-spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom. Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, Belgium has freedom! So, 207 sovereign states in the world like 180 of them have freedom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

MCAVOY: And yeah you, sorority girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day, there are some things you should know. And one of them is there is absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labor force and number four in exports.

We lead the world in only three categories. Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real and defense spending where we spend more than the next 26 countries combined 25 of whom are allies. Now none of this is the fault of a 20 year-old college student but you nonetheless are without a doubt a member of the worst period generation period ever period. So when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) you’re talking about. Yosemite?
 

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.