This week we watch ACN’s News Night come apart as the Genoa story completely unravels, with witnesses recanting, doctored evidence, unknown factors that completely affect the story from different sources…
Everything goes sideways right after they go to air, when the general (Stephen Root) Jerry (Hamish Linklater) interviewed and then ‘fixed’ the interview and the raw footage, calls claiming he never said what just went was just aired. Then they start following up on the other leads and secondary confirmations they got. The further they look, the further it becomes apparent that despite the fact that the story looks solid, that leads had been vetted, they’ve built a house of cards and when one piece is removed, it all comes apart…
The revelations of the things behind it, the revenge, the politics, and the fact that Jerry thinks he can get away with suing because he feels he’s been used as a scapegoat, despite the fact that it was his actions that caused the problems just had me sitting there agape.
I was totally right in the call of the basketball game though!
While ACN is reeling from this devastating revelation, and Will (Jeff Daniels), Charlie (Sam Waterston) and Mac (Emily Mortimer) all offer to resign, the events of September 11, 2012 are starting, including the attack on the American Embassy in Benghazi.
Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden), ACN’s lawyer, grills each member of the staff, trying to get a clear timeline of events, including information about the fact that the U.S. Government threatens legal action over the story, making sure that all the sources were vetted properly, that every step that was taken was correct, and that there are no holes, like the Red Team was supposed to find.
As things unravel, we see our team review evidence, and try to do the right thing. They thought they had the story, they thought everything checked out, but through Jerry’s manipulation of the video, to Mac’s leading questions, to revelations about one of the soldiers involved, everything crumples, and they must decide what to do, and how to get the trust of the public back.
The fact that Jerry seems to be so eager to indict the government and the military that he’s willing to manipulate the data to get what he wants, is a frightening look at how television can be, and probably is in a number of cases, presented.
It shows, at least for this Newsroom, that they take their news seriously, and are willing to admit when they made a mistake, and face the repercussions for what they’ve done.
Leona (Jane Fonda) makes a reappearance this week, and it’s fun to see her going on about Daniel Craig and having paid $1000 to see Skyfall early, with the proceeds going to a charity, and then Craig couldn’t show up because of weather grounding his flight.
She also lets Will, Charlie and Mac have it, in a great scene, and shows that there’s more to her character than we saw in the first season.
Next week, they deal with the election, and I can’t wait to see how things play out for ACN.
The Newsroom airs Sundays on HBO.