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The West Wing for News
By Dave Winer on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM.
First, I love The Newsroom. I know it has flaws. I don't care. permalink
Until today, a Thursday, I didn't realize how much or why I loved it. permalink
The show is on Sunday. There hasn't been an episode in four days. There won't be another one for three days. But there's something happening in the news today, with Obama and Romney, and I'd like to spend an hour with the story on television. But I realize the hour I'd like to spend is with Aaron Sorkin. Not MSNBC, not CNN, not Fox. permalink
I got the idea from a Utah Senator who is demanding a retraction from HBO as if The Newsroom was real. In other words the suspension of disbelief was so complete that a real politician fell for it. Strange.  permalink
I'm falling for it too. My mind is confused. It thinks The Newsroom is news.  permalink
In the last episode the exec producer wanted to know if the anchor is in. She didn't ask me, but I'm in too. permalink
A real news network could live up to the promise of The Newsroom, and put on a real news show with the fight that's building between the Repubs and Dems over Bain Capital. I yearn to watch that, tonight, as much as I look forward to the next episode on Sunday night.  permalink
In another way The Newsroom is a more polished version of the Jon Stewart appearance on Crossfire in 2008. Sorkin is saying, as Stewart did, please love our country. Sorkin adds, okay you can't figure it out. I'll show you. It's patronizing and condescending, for sure. But nothing else has gotten through to the news people. Maybe this will.  permalink
A picture named westWingBox.gifThe Newsroom is The West Wing for News. We loved the West Wing not just because the characters were compelling, but because it was happening while Bush and Cheney were wrecking the country. For one hour per week we indulged in a terrible fantasy that we were competent and caring people in the United States.  permalink
I love The Newsroom in a similar way. Okay it's not as perfect, yet, as The West Wing, but it's still very early (and the West Wing had some bad moments too). But the backdrop, the real TV news is as awful as the Bush presidency.  permalink
We only get to change governments once every four years, but we could change TV news practically overnight. Where the West Wing had the power to calm and pacify viewers The Newsroom has the potential to reform news. I know the news people say newsrooms don't work like that. Of course. I get that. I don't care how newsrooms run. I care about what goes on the screen.  permalink
Maybe professional news people could look at news through the other side of the screen, the side we look at news through, and imagine for a moment at what news might be like if it were more like Sorkin's idea, and think about how to get us some of that.  permalink
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