The Newsroom Series 2

Marlyn Glen

23 September 2013

      click on the image above to visit The Newroom website

The second series of The Newsroom has returned to SKY Atlantic on Mondays 9pm .

It is written by the award-winning Aaron Sorkin , best known amongst political activists for The West Wing, the long–running series that presented a fictional alternative government to the real-time government of George W Bush. 

Sorkin’s characters in The West Wing were gifted with an impromptu eloquence, and through them he made the case for government as a benign force through which the beliefs of fair-minded, good-willed people could be achieved, and that compromise is not synonymous with dishonour. 

In The Newsroom, the fictional political events in the West Wing are replaced by the recent past of the Obama Presidency. 

The promise of Obama’s election in 2008 and government action on cherished hopes for a national health insurance policy is confronted by the rise of the Tea Party, political primitives hell-bent on the reduction of government to an ineffectual  size. 

Series 2 has involved itself in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and last year’s Presidential election campaign. 

Jim Harper, the young reporter from Atlantis Cable News, CAN, covers the Mitt Romney campaign as a member of the travelling media on the campaign bus. 

He commits the cardinal sin of asking questions which Romney’s media team are not programmed to answer.  

Their role is to ensure that the campaign’s news releases are faithfully broadcast by the media pack on the bus which, by and large, they do.

He continues to probe with more questions which results in him being left off the bus along with a female reporter who questioned Romney’s complete change of views on a woman’s reproductive rights. 

Aaron’s Sorkin’s messages are that  politics at all levels, from professional career to community activism, is filled with enlightened, hard-working people who want to make lasting, positive changes to other people’s lives, and that informative political discourse is essential for the choices that people make in a democracy. 

Instead the time allocated to politics on television has become less and less, with soundbites preferred over comprehensive information, and who people are rather than what they have to say determining the coverage that they receive. 

Sorkin’s chief spokesperson in The Newsroom is the main male character, Will McAvoy, the anchor for the nightly news broadcast of ACN.

From the first series, here is his soliloquy, a lengthy apology  on the overall failure of TV to report political and social issues seriously ,demonstrating Sorkin’s politics of idealism and conviction.

“I was an accomplice to a slow and repeated and unacknowledged and unamended train wreck of failures that have brought us to now. 

“I’m a leader in an industry that miscalled election results, hyped up terror scares, ginned up controversy and failed to report on tectonic shifts in our country, from the collapse of the financial system to the truths about how strong we are to the dangers we actually face. 

 “I’m a leader in an industry that misdirected your attention with the dexterity of Harry Houdini, while sending hundreds of thousands of our bravest young men and women off to war without due diligence.

“The reason we failed isn’t a mystery – we took a dive for the ratings

“From this moment on, we’ll be deciding what goes on our air and how it’s presented to you based on the simple truth that nothing is more important to a democracy than a well-informed electorate. 

“We’ll endeavour to put information in a broader context because we know that very little news is born at the moment it comes across our wire.

“We’ll be the champion of facts and the mortal enemy of innuendo, speculation, hyperbole and nonsense.”

 


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