Newsroom: Season 1, Episode 2: News Night 2.0

Hopefully this won’t be as long as my last Newsroom post (I doubt it will be).

I don’t think most of these posts are purely about the show but it uses the episodes as a jumping off point to mini-blog posts.

“We don’t do good television, we do the news” MacKenzie Hale.

Here is what often confuses me about this show: isn’t the argument that you can do both? Is doing the news not good television? This is a pretty good quip that really doesn’t make sense in the larger context of the show.

The Pitch Meeting:

One of most underrated features of working in a newsroom are the meetings. I know most people hate them but I love them.

This is when the journalistic decisions get made (and then changed), where a clear picture of what the paper, TV show or website will look like. The meetings are where everything (hopefully) comes together.

Obviously, not all meetings can be great but I often think the pitch meetings are more interesting than the actual content that is produced.

“Fox hired someone with three Mohammeds in their name?” Will McAvoy:
This is where a lot of people get upset with Aaron Sorkin. These snide, throwaway, snarky lines have no real purpose other than a cheap laugh. On the other hand, I know people laughed so whatever.

Of all the IT emails I have read in my life that is one of the most straight forward ones I have heard. I know they are saying all these people are technologically illiterate but that’s not how it is in a good newsroom.

If an intern displayed the amount of incompetence with outlook as the rest of the staff displayed then they would be kicked to the curb.

Conversation between Reese and Charlie:

In my opinion, the best way for Charlie to approach it would be to say: “Look, we might experience short-term turbulence but we are focused on the long-term. I can’t have Will making short-term decisions that will effect the overall product”

I would also hate to be in HR and have to deal with Charlie.

“That studio is a courtroom. And we only call expert witnesses” Mac.

That’s absolutely stupid, a studio should not be a courtroom.

Having experts is a great idea and not having two people yelling at each other is absolutely awesome but the idea of an anchor is NOT to cross-examine someone or to throw them softballs.

Also wouldn’t everyone hate to be cross-examined on TV?

“How do you define best” Don Keefer.

AMAZING QUESTION… sadly it comes from the asshole.

Mac’s response: “I define it by the source”

That isn’t an answer and begs the follow-up who is a good source?

“There aren’t two sides to every story. Some stories have five sides, Some only have one. Biased toward fairness means that if the entire congressional Republican caucus were to walk into the house and propose a resolution stating that the earth was flat, the ‘Times’ would lead with ‘Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on shape of earth.’”

This is absolutely true. However the term “biased towards fairness” is misleading and smart people should come up with something better.

I find that the biggest problem with this is if there are more than two viable arguments. News stories are built with two arguments in mind and (often) there are more.

I would say the idea of an issue being one-sided is rare and that newsmakers should focus more on getting the three or more sides into a story.

“I don’t want to feel sorry for anyone. I want the facts” Mac.

Unfortunate opinion: I don’t think the majority of Americans truly care about the facts. When one of the most important questions to ask about who someone will vote for is “do you like them?” I think voting decisions are largely emotional.

I watched the Republican Presidential primary debates with a bunch of different people (politician junkies and political newcomers, Democrats, Republicans and Independents). After the debates people made emotional statements (IE: “I don’t like him” or “she is creepy” or “he is a jerk”) but they didn’t talk about facts.

TV is also a very bad medium for just facts. If people really wanted pure facts than don’t give them graphics and pretty people talking give them a spreadsheet. Just give everyone raw data (but given that people dislike pure numbers that won’t work).

“Have I done something to you?” Jim
“I swear I was just thinking the exact same thing. I have no idea why I’m being mean to you.” Maggie
“Now that you know that, you think you’ll stop?” Jim
“That’s the thing. It doesn’t feel like it. I’m just being honest here.” Maggie

Note to Jim: She be crazy, funny but crazy.

I also don’t really understand why people are so against being supervised. Having someone watch you means that when you prove that you can do it yourself and knock it out of the park your boss will have certainly noticed.

“I changed it to ‘which’ because ‘whom’ is for people.” Sloan Sabbith
“What’s the difference between a corporation and a person?” Mac
“Have you ever held the door open for someone?” Sloan
“Yes.” Mac
“Did you ask them for money first?” Sloan
“No.” Mac
“That’s the difference.” Sloan

It needs to be pointed out that Olivia Munn (actress that plays Sloan) is extremely hot.

I also don’t understand how this would be the difference. I have been a part of a ton of conversations about corporate personhood and until watching this episode had never heard anything about opening doors.

I sense that this is just a throw-away metaphor that I’m overanalyzing and am writing a lot so I will move on but hopefully will get back on this another time.

“You want me to do pole dancing while explaining sub-prime mortgages?” Sloan

I think I could even sit through an hour of fiscal cliff discussions if we had Munn pole dancing. This is the naked news phenomenon and I think it’s not a horrible idea. I’m pretty shocked that Mac is OK with it (where on the three Is and an A is this?).

We now finally confirm that Mac is absolutely nuts.

I won’t address Maggie’s story but it’s really fucking funny. I also don’t know anybody who would have hid under the bed (well, I might know people who would have hid under the bed and then made farting noises or loosened the screws on the bed or something).

After making fun of Mac’s email blunder for a long time (since I saw this for the first time) I have no more original jokes.

“I think I just accidentally sent it to corporate” I think that might be the most underrated line in the show.

“At the end of a romantic comedy that would make it OK” Mac about cheating on Will to fall in love with him.

I sometimes feel like I’m living in a drama, reality TV show, expose, sketch comedy or musical but I pretty much never think I’m in a romantic comedy. I haven’t watched any much movies in a while but I’m pretty sure they haven’t changed: is this the most unrealistic genre ever?

I would put romantic comedies with Sci Fi and Horror in the level of crazy shit that probably would never happen.

Also, why are people shocked that people would rather be dishonest? Even though people yell about it most people expect to be lied to and are OK with it.

That feeling you get when you know you are about to blow something and have a ton of people judge you on it is horrible. It’s probably worse than after it is over.

These things are incredibly funny when they aren’t happening to you.

If anybody in the newsroom ever asks if you need a drink the answer is always yes. If someone else is buying then don’t even bother responding, just grab a coat and make sure the person doesn’t back out of the deal.

“Be the moral center of this show, be the integrity” Mac to Will.

How would one person be the integrity? Everyone on the staff needs moral and integrity for the show to be good.

I won’t go into a rant about the Maggie, Don and Jim love triangle because I have no idea of who would want to read it. I also never expected these things to be so long and know that they could use a lot of editing but I don’t have the energy to do that.

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~ by realfactsandbeer on December 30, 2012.

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