Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
Here's Looking at YOU

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


The Newsroom—Created, Directed and mostly written by Aaron Sorkin/ co-produced by Sorkin, Scott Rudin, and Alan Poul/starring Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Olivia Munn, Alison Pill, Dev Patel, Sam Waterston, Thomas Sadoski and John Gallagher, Jr./Airs on HBO, Sunday at (approximately) 8 p.m./1 hour Bifocal Reviews by Barbara Rich and The Other Guy (B) Words can be used as weapons and Aaron Sorkin is once again armed and dangerous. I like the show. I wait with great anticipation all week, for HBO’s Sunday evening program, Newsroom. I love the fast pace of the back-stage network newsroom and I particularly like Jeff Daniels’ performance. He is able to capture the character of a quick-witted, well-informed and even tempered intellectual responder to world events, as well as, from out of nowhere an explosive, emotional real-life human being. Each character has their own unique quality that draws you into the multiple plotlines, just as Sorkin has done in his other great works. I’d like to also add that Sorkin’s genius is not only in dialogue, but in character development. For instance, he has made Jeff Daniels’ anchor character a Republican…who often gets called a ‘liberal’ by members of his own party. Contrary to those who are trying to knock a good show because it doesn’t glorify a narrow political agenda or publishing perspective, I appreciate a chance to look at my own behavior through this obviously conflicted pair of eyes. Will McAvoy (the name of Daniels’ character on the show) at least tries to make his decisions based upon uncovering the truth and doing the right thing, rather than just what will make the investors happy. To the journalists and info-tainment mongers who are quick to react negatively to the show, I say: Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Definitely four binoculars are due to this one. (OG) Just as Sorkin’s West Wing, The Social Network, Charlie Wilson’s War and Moneyball all served to establish the defining role of many (already notable) actors, as well as put socially significant institutional changes into pinpoint perspective, this latest Sorkin adventure lays bare the Fourth Estate. Newsroom takes on the current state of affairs in the News-Entertainment industry and juxtaposes it against the somewhat nostalgic notion that our First Amendment right to free speech and freedom of the press work hand in hand with the truth and are essential elements to creating an informed democracy. The notion that “fluff is not news” has raised the rancor or many of those who call themselves journalists, because they are NOT what they claim to be. It’s all right to be an entertainer, whose primary medium is words, but not to pretend that somehow your opinion or manufactured position is actually a conscientious search for the truth. The reviews I’ve seen of this ABSOLUTELY RIVITING, BRILLIANT AND PERFECTLY ACTED HBO show demonstrate exactly what Sorkin is saying about what is wrong with the news these days, as well as how to go about fixing the problem. The quest for making money with a total disregard for whom gets hurt, it is clear, is the root of most of our problems in the U.S. In this regard, Sorkin is saying simply what was said in a book written by 82 year old martial artist, inventor and international ambassador for the United States, Jhoon Rhee (Trutopia): That the first order of business should always be, simply telling the truth. Let’s not make it easier for liars or the selfish to succeed. As Daniel’s character points out in last Sunday’s episode, “Why can’t we just call a lie a lie?” I pray that HBO continues to allow Sorkin to produce these wonderful, thought provoking commentaries on current events, in a way that demonstrates the difference between what goes on behind the camera, and what SHOULD air as an honest-to-goodness television newscast. I applaud him and—if it matters to anyone--will continue to watch. Bravo! Four binoculars!

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