Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom debuted on HBO last night. As a fan of Sorkin’s writing, I loved the first episode. It was full of the witty and snappy dialogue that he’s known for. The show also reminded me of several discussions we’ve had about the news — particularly broadcast news. Whether it was on here or on G4tv.com, I recall several instances of discussing with y’all what television news reporting was and what it has become.
For most of television history, the news was about reporting facts and putting them in context for the viewers. I suppose that’s still the case, but networks like Fox News and MSNBC have taken a more heavy-handed approach to contextualizing news, sometimes (often?) to the point where the facts are misrepresented. Back in the day, nightly news shows were a service and more often than not lost money for networks. These days, they’re profit-driven and agendas are often shaped by advertisers.
One of the themes in The Newsroom is taking the news back. The characters in the show want to make a modern news program with old-school sensibilities. The show’s protagonist laments that people choose the facts they want to hear these days, not just the opinions. Isn’t it funny that it takes a fictional news show to make things “right”? Has news reporting gotten so biased that the idea of a mainstream news program that’s balanced seem unbelievable? Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I think the days of broadcast news defined by people like Edward Murrow, Walter Kronkite, and Dan Rather are gone forever.
Anyway, I thought this would be a great time to discuss The Newsroom and broadcast news in general. More importantly, do you think The Newsroom will take a turn for the worse when Olivia Munn’s character debuts next week?