“The Newsroom”

I’ve resisted commenting on HBO’s series The Newsroom. Last night’s session finale changed my mind. From the Important Music of the show’s theme song to the Deep Discussions of Serious Issues, the show has been an exercise in pretension and faux balance, Aaron Sorkin’s insular Hollywood form room bull session version of “wouldn’t it be like totally great if”.

WIBLTGI there was this Republican news anchor who saw the light and began denouncing Republicans? I’ll concede that it would need interesting if there were a Republican news anchor at all. However, it seems to me that there should be a modicum of party loyalty in order to be a member. Not blind unquestioning loyalty, mind you. Perhaps a smidgen of sympathy for people in the same party. Charlie Crist, former governor of Florida, is not a Republican, not anymore, and his recent behavior calls into question whether he was ever a Republican.

WIBLTGI if the left wing interpretation of events was presented as Truth? Of course, one problem for the Left is that they deny the existence of objective truth. Everything is subjective, relative, contingent. I’m OK, you’re OK. Unless you disagree with that proposition, in which case you are an atavistic threat to civilization. So, our valiant truth-seekers in The Newsroom invariably uncover only what liberals believe. When challenged to think “outside the box” for stories to be covered, nobody suggests looking at the ATF shipping guns to Mexican drug gangs. Now, the only “outside the box” idea is whether Bigfoot is real, or whether there is intelligent life on other planets.

WIBLTGI conservatives were liberal? So, we have the financial reporter asserting that raising the debt limit doesn’t mean that the US will be borrowing more money. I’ve tried Googling that, and failed to get any hits that say anything other than that the debt ceiling is the limit of the Federal government’s ability to borrow. Raising it increases the amount that can be borrowed. Maybe there is some overly precise interpretation that says the government isn’t required to borrow more just because the debt ceiling has been raised. That utterly misses the point of the debt ceiling debate, which took place solely because the Federal government wanted to borrow more money. Just because American Express increases the limit on my credit card doesn’t mean that I’m automatically deeper in debt; I have to draw down on the increased line. But the argument made for raising the debt limit was that we had to borrow more money; otherwise we would default on our debt. (Let me translate that for you: we had to borrow money in order to pay the interest on existing debt.) That was the apocalyptic scenario presented by those who wanted to raise the debt limit; which means that there was no possibility of the new limit going unused. We are also told by our intrepid objective Republican reporters that it was the debt ceiling debate that drove S&P to lower the US credit rating. No. It was the crystal clarity provided by the Democrats, that we needed to borrow money to service existing debt, that caused the drop in the rating. It’s one thing to borrow money to invest in new assets; it’s quite another to be unable to pay interest without more borrowing.

Anyway. The series was interesting for some of the acting and some of the actors. There was a degree of morbid curiosity about whether they would ever notice that Obama has created a Star Chamber, enhanced with the power to put people to death. Will star-crossed lovers Maggie & Jim get together? What about Will and Mackenzie? Will grubby capitalist owner, unsurprisingly unconvincingly played by Jane Fonda, succeed in forcing out our heroes, as is apparently being demanded by Satan the Koch brothers?

In the final episode, all of this fell apart, with adults behaving like especially dysfunctional children. (Emily Mortimer’s performance in the hospital room was embarrassing.) This was topped off by our Republican-because-Aaron-Sorkin-says-so anchor announcing that the Tea Party is the “American Taliban”. Pricing that Aaron Sorkin’s interpretation of a “good” Republican is a lunatic Democrat.

Bah. True Blood has greater verisimilitude.


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