The Newsroom S02E03 – Willie Pete

 

Now this is what I’m talking about!

This week’s Newsroom dives right into the events of the time!

The Genoa tip from last week, about the use of sarin gas on a civilian population during a black-ops extraction, doesn’t look like it’s going to pay off as Mackenzie (Emily Mortimer) can’t seem to track down a second source to confirm it. But in a day when almost the entire has a planet, and access to social media in one form of another, they start hunting down posts and tweets during a specific time period and location.

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Meanwhile, Nina (Hope Davis) is back and planning to run another Takedown piece on Will (Jeff Daniels) about the real reason he didn’t host the 9/11 show, and Sloan (Olivia Munn) thinks she may be the leak that revealed it. Will, who still feels that what Nina does is not reporting but gossip-mongering actually comes out and tells the truth about what happened, and because he was honest with her, she agrees not to run the story.

Maggie (Alison Pill) is beginning to worry about the medication she has to take for her trip to Africa.

The story line I really enjoyed this week was the one following Jim (John Gallagher Jr) on the Romney media bus. He’s really starting to stir the pot, and not making any headway in getting time with the candidate or making allies amongst his fellow reporters. And in a brilliant showdown between him and Romney’s media handler, Jim questions whether they even need reporters, because they aren’t actually covering any news at all, and have ni effect been turned into talking heads to simply spout Romney’s rhetoric without any facts or plans to back it up.

Of course, as Aaron Sorkin has pointed out in interviews for the show, they have the ability to look back with 20/20 hindsight and make their characters smarter in situations because we already know how the story will play out. But in this instance, despite the fact that we do know how the story ends for Romney, I think it’s Jim journalistic idealism that drives him to do what he does.

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And he’s right.

In the case of those people on the Media Bus they in effect were giving free advertising of Romney’s talking points without even following up with questions, even if they did get time with the candidate.

Jim makes an important point, one that harkens back to the very first couple of episodes of the series, that news should be fair and balanced, that it should give its viewers the most facts to allow them to make informed decisions about the world they live in. That the forum of the news should almost be a courtroom, and not muddled by left or right leaning tendencies, it should be centrist and objective.

I share the idealism of this show. I think that’s the way news should be reported, but it gets clouded by money, politics and corporations, and they seem intent on taking away our ability to judge for ourselves, to make our own decisions. They, all parties, give us instead, talking points with 10-word answers that can fit into a soundbite, and spout party propaganda instead of answering.

The Newsroom airs Sundays on HBO.

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