Jake Tapper Skewers Sorkin's 'The Newsroom'
The most entertaining thing about Aaron Sorkin's upcoming HBO series, "The Newsroom," could well be the scathing review of the show by ABC News senior White House correspondent, Jake Tapper, which appeared in The New Republic. As a bonus, Tapper also provides an hilarious takedown of the increasingly annoying SorkinSpeak, the bizzare shorthand manner in which his characters communicate with each other. So take it away, Jake:
“The Newsroom,” which debuts June 24 on HBO, is sadly disappointing. There’s much to criticize in the media—and TV news in particular. But though “The Newsroom” intends to lecture its viewers on the higher virtues of capital-J journalism, Professor Sorkin soon reveals he isn’t much of an expert on the subject.
SORKIN HAS a well-known penchant for projecting his political fantasies onto his protagonists...
And perhaps the greatest of Sorkin's political fantasies is that he somehow has a "bias towards fairness" which Tapper exposes as completely ridiculous:
[Anchorman Will] 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. McAvoy—and, by extension, Sorkin—preach political selflessness, but they practice pure partisanship; they extol the Fourth Estate’s democratic duty, but they believe that responsibility consists mostly of criticizing Republicans. This is done through the oldest trick in the book for a Hollywood liberal: by having McAvoy be a “sane Republican” who looks at his party with sadness and anger.
Tapper also addresses Sorkin's obsession with the Tea Party which he apparently thinks is more dangerous than terrorists judging by what Sorkin/McAvoy focuses upon:
And what are the important issues “News Night” covers instead of the piffle of Faisal Shahzad, a homegrown terrorist funded and trained by the Pakistani Taliban? McAvoy instead devotes at least a week of his broadcast to showcasing what a horribly inept and dangerous bunch Tea Party Republicans are as they—gasp!—defeat establishment Republicans in free and fair primaries and elections. It’s all well and good to follow the Koch brothers’ money, but at a time when Democrats controlled the White House and both houses of Congress, it’s telling that McAvoy and Sorkin aim their sights at conservatives seeking power—not moderates and liberals wielding it.
Here is the highlight of Tapper's review. An hilarious takedown of the really annoying SorkinSpeak:
SCENE: INTERIOR. TNR Office, Washington, D.C.
EDITOR: Butwhatabout the thing?
EDITOR: ThatSORKINthing whentwo charactersarewalkingdownahallway oronthestreet and thedialogue EXPLODESlikePOPCORN fastandsalty and-it’s ... stylizedandfun.
TAPPER: Oh. THATthing.
EDITOR: Yes. Thething.
Finally, Tapper leaves no doubt as to where Aaron Sorkin is coming from since he did research for the show by embedding himself with...Keith Olbermann:
It’s telling that one of the ways that Sorkin prepared himself for “The Newsroom” was by embedding himself with Keith Olbermann’s (since-canceled) “Countdown” on MSNBC. McAvoy shares many weaknesses of other cable news stars—most notably, a blindness to his own ideology. This is the disconnect that allows them to proclaim a commitment to Truth and Beauty right before launching a ten-minute broadside against an opponent’s petty foibles or to make a plea for civility right before releasing a sneering explosion of disdain. For members of the media who watch the show, McAvoy will be entirely recognizable, if not for his idealistic naïveté, then for his childish egoism.