July 9, 2012
What if all your dreams of a responsible, honest media came true? What if, for once, reporters asked the right follow-up questions and were informed on the day’s events? What if the media took responsibility for reporting the truth rather than some twisted form of he-said, she-said equivalency? What if the media took journalistic integrity seriously? Really, really, really, really seriously?
Such is what Aaron Sorkin is trying to accomplish with HBO’s “The Newsroom.” I know this, because it’s mentioned roughly 135 times each show.
Newsroom is essentially a show about what would happen if a group of gung-ho college kids took over a cable news show. Check that. “Newsroom” is essentially what would happen if you gave a group of gung-ho college kids an hour a week on HBO to make a show about a cable news show taken over by gung-ho college kids.
If “The Newsroom” were any more preachy, it would have to change its name to the 700 Club.
In Episode three of the series – after having Anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) publicly apologize for everything he’s ever done while hurling the rest of the media under the bus – Sorkin takes on the Tea Party.
Aside from getting the creation of the Tea Party wrong (this was not some spontaneous grassroots effort that was hijacked by corporate and political interests, it was corporate interests creating a a “grassroots movement.”) the show makes the exact same mistake the U.S. Media has long made with the Tea Party – it gives them far too much credit. The irony is not to be missed – in a show that will tell you every five minutes that journalism should be about facts and not ratings, it shakes the Tea Party tree as strongly as possible to give the show buzz.
By the way, “The Newsroom” is a show about the moral integrity of being a journalist.
While the show pounds you over the head repeatedly with its message, the acting is even more over-the-top. It is a credit to Sorkin that he’s somehow put together a formidable cast but has directed them to act as though they are all rank amateurs blasted on crystal meth.
While the show itself seems to be done by college kids, with high-school level acting, the storylines are broad enough to have been drawn by grade schoolers. While consistently mocking the stupidity of the media and conservatives, “The Newsroom” treats its own audience like idiots, spoon feeding them every moment of the way.
Oh, and in case I haven’t mentioned it enough, “The Newsroom” is about journalistic integrity. Seriously. Ask Sorkin, he’ll tell you. Forever.
More than anything, though, it is “The Newsroom’s” treatment of women that take it from being just a preachy, poorly acted fantasy to the all-out train wreck that it is. In the first three episodes, Sorkin has burnished his oft-commented on misogynistic cred. Basically, Sorkin’s treatment of his female characters could only be worse if he had each of them scream “I Need A Man!!” several times a show.
There is Executive Producer Mackenzie McHale (played by Emily Mortimer in the worst performance of her career), a “highly respected executive producer,” who is also the ex-girlfriend of McAvoy. We are to believe that McHale has thrived with an embedded crew in Iraq, but falls completely to pieces when around McAvoy. When McAvoy has a date (three dates, actually. With women who may of well just had “Bimbo” flashing above their heads.), McHale suddenly becomes a desperate housewife.
There is Associate Producer Margaret Jordan (played by Alison Pill in what might be the worst performance on HBO since Gallagher.) Involved in an inner-office relationship, Jordan falls apart four or five times an episode because of relationship problems and needs to leave meetings due to panic attacks.
There is up-and-coming host Sloan Sabbith (played by Olivia Munn, who may escape this dreck with a career). As of now, all we know about her is that she’s whip-smart and was promoted because she has great legs.
There is Leona Lansing, owner of the entire cable giant that runs Newsroom. Played by Jane Fonda (who was apparently cast to guarantee that no Conservative will ever watch the show), Lansing gets talked down to by President of the News Division Charlie Skinner (played by Sam Waterson as a cross between Uncle Billy Bailey of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and every last wise older male in every movie ever made) . Skinner gives Lansing a general lesson on media ethics 101, which is something we hadn’t heard in more than three full minutes.
For the record, “The Newsroom” is about the media and the importance of being a true journalist and the moral integrity it takes to tell the truth by standing up to the spin with integrity and showing integrity in the face of integrity of journalism. In case you forgot.
I don’t know much of Sorkin’s previous work on television, having never watched “West Wing” or “SportsNight,” but it’s entirely possible Sorkin has extreme problems with women. Or maybe he’s never actually meant one. It’s really something he should look into.
Overall, “The Newsroom” is an awful, preachy, sexist show that encapsulates the stupidity it tries to berate. A fictional show about a cable news station is, in itself, a nice idea. Maybe Sorkin should try doing a show like that after this monstrosity is cancelled.
To be fair, there are two bright spots to “The Newsroom,” in my opinion. For one, Dev Patel is a likeable actor. Two, “Breaking Bad” starts next week, so we can stop talking about “The Newsroom” once and for all and enjoy a show that doesn’t think its viewers are morons and doesn’t feel the need to smash its message over viewer’s heads 14 times a show.
July 2, 2012
I’m not a psychologist, but it doesn’t take a degree to diagnose that Chris Christie is a cowardly punk. And don’t forget, he’s the GOP’s favorite rising star.
July 2, 2012
Anderson Cooper’s sexual preference has never been much of a secret, but his coming out to Andrew Sullivan and the world in a touching e-mail truly resonates. Everyone’s experience on this planet is different, and no where is that more true than in the LGBT community. Just because “Ellen” and “Will & Grace” were on television doesn’t mean it is easy for many to come out of the closet, and it doesn’t mean that people are rushing to assure that the LGBT community has the same rights as straight people. And it doesn’t mean that violence against the LGBT community has abated.
Cooper coming out truly matters to millions of people. He is standing up and being counted. Well done, AC.
June 28, 2012
CNN is also reporting that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is alive and well and that Dewey beat Truman.
More on the SCOTUS decision to uphold ObamaCare from Think Progress.
June 27, 2012
My friends, the United States of America is at a crossroads. These perilous times have seen a rise in racism, misogyny, and outrage. The union cannot survive this level of anger for much longer.
This why it is vital for White Males in America to begin a serious and mature discussion about these issues. We must be open and honest about issues of race and gender. It is up to us to help America regain harmony.
These discussions must be held by White Men, and White Men only, as the Founding Fathers demanded. Black people and women are inherently biased, you see. As Betsy Rothstein of Media Bistro said regarding the recent Joe Williams/Politico debacle:
“If Williams wants to express lack of diversity in newsroom he should present it to bosses and owners, not publicly insult employer,” she tweeted.
Rothstein is correct. Williams sins are multiple, but making public statements about racism is the tipping point. As a Black journalist, Williams is too close to the story to have an opinion that should be shared. Despite being a woman who should only be covering such subjects as political softball games, Rothstein is correct in her assessment, and as a White person can view such issues without bias.
The subject of racism is best held by those who have never experienced racism. Only the colorless can truly appreciate and analyze the plight of people of color.
The same goes for women’s issues. As we saw in Michigan, women often feel they deserve an opinion on their own affairs, due to the fact that they have a v*gina. In reality, the exact opposite is true. Women are extremely biased by their own womanhood, and will often lash out wildly, using terms like “vagin*” to speak of their own body parts.
We White males have long showed we know what is best for women, as can be seen by how rarely we use the word “vag*na.” It is up to us to have a true discussion about how women can and should live, and we will do so without referencing icky body parts that we don’t truly understand. We come into this discussion sans bias and with the amount of ignorance such subjects demand.
The United States of America was founded by White Males, and it is time for we White Males to accept the awesome responsibility of telling others how they can live and act. Anything else is truly un-American.
June 14, 2012
Are you feeling bored? Are your ratings lower than a Jerseylicious repeat? Do you try to please everyone but end up just pissing people off?
Well, maybe it’s time to ask your doctor about Wolf Blitzer.
Taken in mass doses, Wolf Blitzer will leave you feeling refreshed and ready again for the world. Just one extra hour a day of Wolf Blitzer will give you the energy and purpose you’ve always wanted.
Side Effects Include, But Not Limited to: Ignorance, complete submission to authority, hatred of beards, inability to ask follow-up questions, mega-flatulence, confusion, disinterest, parvo, sallyquinnitis, erectile dysfunction, eagerness to watch Jerseylicious reruns, illiteracy and, in severe cases, mumbling fugues.
Ask your doctor if Wolf Blitzer is right for you.
May 5, 2012
Noted liar-for-Christ David Barton has been making the media rounds lately, pushing another book of blatant history revisionism. Having been a blogger for quite some time, I consider myself a leading expert on just about everything, especially Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers. Thus I feel it is vital for me to set the record straight and show to the world that Barton is a daft poppy-head (apologies for the technical historical lingo).
I haven’t actually read Barton’s book, “The Jefferson Lies,” mind you. But I come from the Naomi Schaefer Riley school of journalism that states implicitly that knowing a subject comes from the gut, not from actual studying or logical thinking.
This is why I feel the need to point out these unassailable, completely true facts about Jefferson and the Founding Fathers.
Jefferson, you see, was a virulent Atheist on par with Richard Dawkins. This becomes obvious when you read through Jefferson’s trio of unpublished Atheist books: “God? Please,” “God? Really, We’re Still Blathering About That?” and “God? If He Really Existed, Wow is He a Jerk.”
In these books – which are not available to anyone – Jefferson rips God a new one, and prognosticates on the same level as Nostradamus.
“If there really were a God, would he allow me to actually own people? The whole concept makes no sense. Sure, I own people and occasionally sleep with some of them. But I do so simply because I CAN,” Jefferson wrote.
Or then there’s his view on God in politics.
“Only the weak-willed and incredibly stupid want a theocracy or even think religion has any place whatsoever in an actual government. What a bunh of freakin’ morons,” wrote Jefferson.
Or his predictions on today’s political scene.
“Mitt Romney? Are you kidding me? When this happens, the entire Republican Party needs to resign in shame and go live on an island somewhere where they won’t bother anyone. Mitt Romney for President? LOL.”
Aside from being the first human to ever use the acronym “LOL,” Jefferson had other things to say about today’s politics. Such as this, which he told me in a dream:
“One day, Barack Obama will be President of the United States of America. And Conservatives need to stop filibustering everything he tries to do. It’s un-American.”
“I mean, he’d be just three-fifths of an American today, and most likely a slave owned by one of us founders. But I’m pretty sure these things will change, eventually.”
Jefferson was not the only Atheist founding father, of course. George Washington once said this to a fellow walking by him:
“You can enjoy your so-called God. I’ll be drinking your milkshake while you do.”
“You guys know that Ron Paul voted for the war on Afghanistan, right? Because of ‘political pressure.’ What a freakin’ phony.”
Or then there was Thomas Paine, who had this to say:
“A media that refuses to call a liar a liar is not a media. It is a bunch of high-paid entertainment reporters. Joan Rivers should be covering politics if that’s what you want. At least she has some balls.”
“David Barton is so full of crap that you should be legally allowed to plant roses inside of him. What a lying scumbag.”
These examples prove – beyond a shadow of a doubt – that everything you have ever learned about Jefferson and the Founding Fathers is a lie. They all thought God was a silly concept, that religion belongs nowhere near a government, and that today’s Republicans are douchebags who will invoke God to win arguments.
I understand that I will have my critics. But everything I wrote here is the absolute truth. Go ahead and try and disprove any of it. It will just show that you hate the Founding Fathers and the United States of America. As Jefferson said while conducting a magic show at a child’s party:
“God is an illusion. Biblical historians doubly so.”
May 2, 2012
“Politics is weird. And creepy. And now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality.” – Shepard Smith.
At some point in the foreseeable future, that big pile of cash isn’t going to be enough to keep Shep at Fox News.
May 1, 2012
“In politics, few talents are as richly rewarded as the ability to convince parasites that they are victims. Welfare states on both sides of the Atlantic have discovered that largesse to losers does not reduce their hostility to society, but only increases it. Far from producing gratitude, generosity is seen as an admission of guilt, and the reparations as inadequate compensations for injustices — leading to worsening behavior by the recipients.”
Enjoy your day, parasites.
April 28, 2012
As Floyd Mayweather prepares for his fight next week with Miguel Cotto, commentators are quick to point out that he will soon be serving time in jail. What they avoid talking about is why he will be incarcerated: Domestic Battery.
Mayweather – who should bank around $30 million for fighting Cotto – will soon be serving 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic battery charges in order to avoid felony charges. Has this set off a national discussion on athletes who abuse women? Hardly. A quick check of Google News shows these search results:
Mayweather, Cotto: 828 results.
Mayweather, domestic battery: 4 results.
In my search, I was able to find one story about Mayweather’s domestic battery: And in it, Mayweather says he isn’t guilty and compares himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
Mayweather’s domestic battery conviction is no one-time affair, either. In fact, one could strongly make a case that “Money” is an unapologetic serial woman abuser. Via Wikipedia:
- In 2002, Mayweather was charged with two counts of domestic violence and one count of misdemeanor battery. He received a 6 month suspended sentence, 2 days of house arrest and was ordered to perform 48 hours of community service.
- In 2004, he was given a one year suspended jail sentence, ordered to undergo counseling for “impulse control” and pay a $1000 fine or perform 100 hours of community service after being convicted of two counts of misdemeanor battery against two women.
- On September 9, 2010, it was reported that Mayweather was being sought by police for questioning after his former girlfriend, Josie Harris, filed a domestic battery report against him. Harris has accused Mayweather of battery in the past, but those charges were later dropped in July 2005 after Harris testified that she had lied and that Mayweather had not, in fact, assaulted her.
- On December 21, 2011, a judge sentenced Mayweather to serve 90 days in the county jail for battery upon his ex-girlfriend in September 2010. Mayweather reached a deal with prosecutors in which he pled guilty to misdemeanor battery in exchange for prosecutors dropping the felony battery charge. Mayweather also pled no contest to two counts of misdemeanor harrasment which stemmed from Mayweather threatening to beat his kids.
Mind you, Wikipedia is no authority on violence against women when it comes to professional athletes. A look at NFL Hall-of-Famer Jim Brown’s page doesn’t even mention domestic abuse, despite the fact Brown is better known now for his violence against women than his playing or acting career.
Sure, sportswriters and the media are occasionally prone to brief, quickly forgotten moments of navel-gazing as to why the profession ignores violence against women:
“This is in no way meant to diminish Vick’s crime, but it seems fair to wonder why there’s a conspicuous lack of outrage when we hear about athletes torturing women,” wrote Barry Rozner. “And whether a battered woman today matters less than a dog.”
Yes, in the sports writing profession, a dog matters more than a woman. Take yesterday’s episode of Friday Night Fights, when the universally acclaimed Rick Reilly interviewed Mike Tyson, and didn’t once mention the fact that Tyson is a convicted rapist and well-known abuser of women.
I have written of this subject several times in the past and it is my opinion that American sportswriters either are cowards when it comes to violence against women, or they approve of it. Because Floyd Mayweather is going to jail for battering a woman and all they can talk about is fight predictions. Here’s a prediction that will assuredly come true – Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will physically hurt a woman again. And sportswriters around the nation will ignore it again.
Because American athletes better not cheat, or play too aggressively or use performance-enhancing drugs. But beat a woman? Forget about it.
April 27, 2012
There are few things more political journalists like than the term “bi-partisan.” To the point they’ll use it
The House’s solid bipartisan vote for a cybersecurity bill sends a message to the Senate: Now it’s your turn to act.
The vote Thursday was 248-168, with 42 Democrats joining 206 Republicans in backing the measure.
President Barack Obama has said he will veto CISPA if it makes it to his desk.
April 20, 2012
As Mitt Romney begins his general election battle against President Barack Obama, intrepid reporters and pundits have stumbled across something about him that should terrify us all – Mitt Romney hates cookies.
Recently, in Pittsburgh, Romney insulted cookies from Bethel Bakery. This insult has reverberated across the nation. What kind of man hates cookies? I’ll tell you – an evil man.
Using historical research methods perfected by Jonah Goldberg, I have discovered that some of the most heinous men in history share one common trait – they despised cookies.
Take Adolf Hitler, for example. So many lives could have been saved if people had just read this passage in his book:
“Ich verachte Cookies und sie müssen von der Erde vertrieben werden!”
Translation: “I hate cookies and they must be driven from the Earth.”
Or there is the case of Charles Manson, who once wrote this in a poem.
“Wie Cookies und Böse, Mann, vergiften sie die Milch und der Mann isst sie und Speckschwarte und dann töten die Säuglinge von der Freiheit.”
Translation: “Like cookies and evil, man, they poison the milk and the man eats them and pork rinds and then kill the babies of the freedom.”
Chilling stuff, indeed.
These are just two cases, but it is obvious that people like Stalin, Jimmy Carter, Fidel Castro and countless other evil men have despised cookies. And no one has ever connected the two. It is time we see the truth behind cookie hatred – it is a sign of pure evil.
Am I saying that Mitt Romney will start a cult, commit genocide and put solar panels in the White House? Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying. That is why Cookiegate matters. In fact, it is the only thing that matters in the United States. Well, that and whatever Ted Nugent happens to say.
So remember, the coming election is about issues and you have two choice – a noted cookie lover in Barack Obama, or an evil, sick man like Mitt Romney who despises cookies and humanity. Choose correctly or pay the consequences.
March 7, 2012
For more on how a rag-tag group of Terkel, Barack Obama, Saul Alinsky and Derrick Bell planned on turning America into a dank, gray, totalitarian nightmare, click here.
March 1, 2012
I feel absolutely no sense of schadenfreude or any type of hate when I say I’m sorry to hear about Breitbart. Young men dying is a tragedy.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
March 1, 2012
While they were busy writing endless columns on such things as Obama’s manliness, whether or not Americans should wear jeans or whether or not Monica Lewinsky would bring down the nation, America’s famed band of “conservative and moderate intellectuals” failed to notice that the GOP was going insane.
They’re noticing now.
All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.
“Newt Gingrich said the American people have a right to demand two dollar and fifty cent gas prices. They have a right to demand lobsters grow on trees. This is economic nonsense.”
Once elected, those presidents curbed the id with the ego, common sense and reason. But now the G.O.P.’s id is unbridled. The horse has thrown the rider; the dark forces are bubbling. Moderates, women, gays, Hispanics and blacks — even the president — are being hunted in this most dangerous game.
But the remark also illustrates the Tea Party’s disconnect from reality. Except in the rarest cases, to work with one’s hands in modern America is to face a lifetime of very low-wage work. (And the exceptions do things that I suspect Tea Party activists would dislike almost as much as they dislike college: artisanal cheese-making, restoration of antiques, high-end floral arrangement, etc.—and anyway people who do those things typically have at least some higher education and often quite a lot.)
Yes, while the so-called moderate Republican columnists were sleeping, their party left them. More than that, their party is blaming them for their woes. So while people like Brooks, Dowd, Will & Frum will continue to spout what they consider conservative intellectualism, the simple fact is that they no longer have an audience. And their shrill criticism of the GOP is coming far too late for it to have any effect on political discourse.