The fictional Newsroom I can't stop looking at
I haven't missed an episode the HBO drama "The Newsroom," and every episode has annoyed me in one way or another. I get annoyed by the way-too-clever-and-snappy Aaron Sorkin dialogue, by journalists who have clairvoyant insight and inside sources on complex events the moment they happen, by the show's heavy-handed political viewpoint, and by some of the goofy office romance stuff.
But I find some part of every episode absorbing to watch, and I think anything that gets people thinking about the media and policy issues the series raises is probably a good thing.
One of the dicey decisions the show's producers made was to have its make-believe journalists covering real events like the BP oil spill, but mixing in fictional interview subjects. And then sometimes, it seems the characters are something in between.
The Philadelphia Daily News' Chris Brennan has a piece today about a scene in the most recent episode in which the fictional cable show anchor Will McAvoy grills a black, gay supporter of Rick Santorum on the air. Brennan writes about a real black, gay former aide to Santorum who did some turns on cable TV when Santorum was in the presidential race. Read Brennan's piece here.
And if you're a fan of "The Newsroom" (or an ambivalent regular like me), you'll enjoy two great interviews Terry Gross did on Fresh Air with series star Jeff Daniels and creator Aaron Sorkin. You'll hear Daniels sing, and hear Sorkin explain whether he means to be putting down real TV journalists who don't measure up to his heroic characters' standards.