Over the last week I’ve read, rather skimmed, (you can only read so much forced disgust for a television show and its creator that suggest a departure from the status quo) widely-read blogs, articles, and one Rush Limbaugh that seethes with hate and accuses Aaron Sorkin of sexism, and in one instance, his show just not being fun:
“‘The Newsroom’ is just not fun, and maybe that is because Sorkin is no longer having fun. Perhaps he’s too busy being angry at the world (with a hard-to-miss focus on women).” Glynnis MacNicol, Capitol New York.
I’d be pissed too if I penned one of the most quoted lines in recent cinema (A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!”), my political drama, The West Wing, had won multiple Emmys (9 in it’s first season, and places 4th in most Emmy awards won of all time), I’d won an Academy Award for The Social Network, I’d never created a bad television series, I was, likely, the most prolific writer on television, wealthy, and famous for work I was passionate about. I’d be “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.” And in my fury, I’d create a television series about a resurrection of values in journalism.
“Why, reality television is “pollution!” exclaims Will, before launching in to the first of many tedious (and increasingly hostile) lectures about why people (or, in Sorkin’s world, women) who watch reality shows and parlay in gossip are “destroying civilization” (he actually says this) and why reality stars deserve their privacy.” Glynnis MacNicol, Capitol New York.
If this were Sorkin’s first major production and he didn’t have a slew of previous television shows, movies and plays, one could maybe get away with unsubstantiated claims of misogyny, but watch The West Wing, watch Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, watch Sports Night or Charlie Wilson’s War. Why is The Newsroom the first sign of Sorkin’s deep-seeded hatred of women? You don’t just wake up sexist. Why is The Newsroom, his first show that truly indicts the media and the way it covers the news, why is it suddenly now that we’re seeing Sorkin’s true colors? Because, we’re not. These claims of Sorkin’s contempt for his audience and his malice toward women are just as ridiculous as Rush Limbaugh’s claims that “Liberal Hollywood” would use the Batman villain, Bane, as a means to shine a negative light on Mitt Romney and the inconsistencies surrounding his tenure at Bain Capital.
Will McAvoy, flawed though he may be, and all of us are, inspires a change that we the people want to see in the Media. He represents Edward R. Murrow, taking on the powers that be, not just on the Hill, but in the same trenches of journalism for which he’s employed. It’s a declaration to those who bring us the news and those who affect what’s brought to us. We don’t want to be herded, we want to Shepard ourselves, and it’s damn impossible when what we’re shown keeps the sheep sheep and the wolves in shepard’s clothing.
We’re not the brain-dead masses. We’re the misinformed, and we deserve better.