A televised presidential debate where every question relates to a critical issue. A debate where the candidates feet are nailed to the floor until they fully respond. A debate where moderators have a right to push for meaningful, truthful answers and ask questions about how candidates plan to carry out their proposed transformations. A debate where commentators could ask Michele Bachmann “What did God sound like when he told you that he needed you to run for President?”
This dream debate is a fictional proposal made by a fictional news team in the television series “The Newsroom.” And, not surprisingly, a fictional Republican party turned down the idea. Newsroom is in its third season at HBO and I recently watched the first season on Amazon Prime.
The premise for the show is simple; a group of news people centered around a prominent anchor (played by Jeff Daniels) decides to elevate the broadcasting of national news. In the show’s own terms, they want to put on a production that includes no “speculation, innuendo, hyperbole, or nonsense” and to “provide news that is not flavored with a particular religion or moral bias” (gee, isn’t that a unique idea).
The show basically uses Republicans for target practice, but then aren’t they the ones who have allowed themselves to become the party of liars, frauds, and demagogues? I was a Republican until they became the party of silly distractions, bogus debate, and spokespeople for the rich. So yea, I like a show that craps on the like of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck who have turned the party into a far right joke. Republicans will see the show as “liberal bunk,” but this is about what Republicans have become—a party that twists the facts rather than face them (yea, I know it this is just my opinion, but show me how it is not true).
Never have I seen a show that requires the viewer to pay such close attention to the wealth of information provided in every episode. I find myself constantly rewinding and watching segments for the second time so I can grasp everything that put before me. Intellectually, Newsroom provides more to think about than any other show I have ever seen. It brings back memories of the television series West Wing, but is several times more complex. Watching this show is a challenge.
The show surrounds all of its political commentary in a fictional story about the personal lives of everyone working in the newsroom and the news business. The human story is exceptionally well done and without it Newsroom would be just a (boring?) documentary that no one would watch.
The writing on this show is outstanding—better—it is stunning. As someone who values good writing over everything else, I find Newsroom a pleasure to watch.
To me, Newsroom represents the news the way news should be done. Only if people are given information that is unbiased, truthful, and without prejudice, can citizens make the right decisions about their futures.
Here’s a great clip from the first show: