Newsroom Season 1, Episode 6: Bullies

I had sat down to write a T’eo post, and had a bunch of drafts (including some that were really good, some that were really long and some that were really funny) but realized that it was in my own best interest to not post any of them. So instead I’m doing a Newsroom recap and am strongly considering doing more Colbert recaps.

The eye chart
I’m just amazed that both Mac and Will knew what the congruency sign was… for these people who seem woefully unaware of anything outside of their element they know that.

Mac: Have you tried Ambien?
Will: I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the Triborough Bridge eating scrambled eggs in my pajamas.

For really smart people (who know the symbol for congruency) they should know how rare that would be.

I absolutely love David Krumholtz (especially his work in Numb3rs… my god, is it math week for Sorkin?) You should also really know who you are paying to be your therapist.

Doc: You invented an Egg McMuffin

I love inventing and reinventing things, I had a friend who insisted that nothing was ever knew so every paper anybody wrote would have been written before. Strangely, this did not work for a defense for plagiarism.

Doc: What are you fucking around with me for?

I know that there are people who love their confrontational therapists but this would really strike me as annoying. I don’t need to pay a yes man but I also don’t need to pay a fuck you man. If you want someone to give you a hard time you obviously lack siblings.

Will: Certainly more courage than it takes to post an anonymous comment on a website.

I have had a lot of experience with Internet comments. I have made them (the least impressive), moderated, approved, denied, responded to and fact checked them (which is really horrible). What Will is doing here is stupid.

Comments are a sign of user engagement and is a way to attract advertisers, to do this segment you want people to comment. You also want people to comment on your terms and on your message boards.

He also is obviously feeding the trolls, this is stupid because we all know if you feed the trolls they will come after you.

Will: Is there any way of knowing if LollypopLollypop and SurrendrDorothee are the same person?
Neal: No

Now, I’m not saying this is a sure-fire way to tell but you could say if they were dealing with uncommon (not proxy) dissimilar (or similar) IPs and had very different types of typing then you could tell. Also I’m sure the website connects a ton of information so Neal needs to have a better answer than that if he’s the tech guru.

Will: In your wildest dreams, can you imagine Walter Cronkite saying LollypopLollypop as many times as I have in the last 10 minutes?
Neal: Not unless he was in an a cappella doo-wop group, no.
Will: He wasn’t.

This made me so sad. If Cronkite was in a doo-wop a cappella group I would get the record, CD and iTunes format… the record would be kept on my desk at all times. I’m still holding out hope that Will is wrong.

Will: Here’s what I’d love. You want to join the discussion, fine. I want to know your name, age, occupation, and level of education.

How would you verify this crap? I would hate to be the guy who has to go through each person’s past… background checks suck. So many people would use fake names and fake backgrounds (and I don’t blame them at all).

Mac: And how could we possibly verify someone’s name, age, occupation, and level of education?
Will: Neal?
Neal: We implement a third-party verification service.
Mac: All you had to say was, “We can’t” and the conversation would have been over.
Will: So it is possible?
Neal: It’s what the IRS uses when you’re filing online.

First off, people are incredibly scared of messing with the IRS, not as much with a website. People are trying to provide the correct information (and giving you things like a social security number) that they wouldn’t on a website. Also the IRS has more than one person doing their whole website. If one person was doing everything on any major news websites they would never sleep and quit within a week (I’m being generous, I don’t think most people would last four hours).

Will: I’m going to single-handedly fix the Internet.

Fixing the Internet without fixing humanity is stupid.

Will: And the US is in no more danger of coming under Sharia law than it is the rules of Fight Club.

I would be fine with implementing some of the rules of Fight Club but I really don’t want to see newborns fight (8th RULE: If this is your first night at FIGHT CLUB, you HAVE to fight). Most of the other rules are sound.

Don: How much effort does it take to scam the new system?
Neal: You’ve got to want it pretty bad.

Bullshit, scammers have such a leg up on any of these systems.

Neal: We implemented complex password requirements on the site because we knew it was catnip for some sophomore at MIT. It would take an average computer 57 days to get in.

That 57 days figure is probably based on a pure brute force attack. Anyone with any knowledge of cryptography would never do a brute force attack. I would love to go into different cryptosystems and how one would crack it but you really don’t need to.

Programmers have a great quote: “It’s probably user error” and it’s true. Someone could have set the computer to remember their password, picked a stupid password, wrote the password down or a thousand other stupid things.

Also if this person only wanted one members information (but didn’t care which member) they could try a number of them. The person could say “Forgot password” and have hacked the email and pick the new password up from there.

And perhaps the most talked about way, they could have talked with the person and convinced them to share the password with them.

Magie: The wife of a board member died and Will asked me to send flowers. I wrote on the card, “I’m so sorry about your loss. LOL.”
Jim: LOL?
Maggie: I thought it meant “lots of love.”
Jim: How are you still working here?

First: Why would you even say that? It’s a really odd thing for a person to say to someone that they barely know.

Second: Why would you even abbreviate that? Just write it out.

Third: I know a bunch of people who made that mistake… urbandictionary.com people

Fourth: I have no idea how the hell Maggie still has a job.

I’ve always wondered what happens if translators mess up or try to spin stuff. We don’t trust anyone else so why should we trust them?

Reporters absolutely need to know what off the record means. That makes this a fucking ridiculous thing.

Sutton: Will, I was proud to serve on the senator’s staff, and I’ll be proud to serve and support him should he choose to run for president. But that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with him on every single issue.

This is the right answer. I don’t know a singular member of government that I agree with on every issue. I routinely vote for people that I disagree with, I just hope that we agree on issues that I find very important.

Working for someone doesn’t mean (even in Washington) that you agree with everything they stand for (even though people may think that’s what it means).

Will: Gay marriage is now legal in five states as well as the District of Columbia. Has Mr. Santorum’s marriage been suffering as a result? Has he complained to you that he and Mrs. Santorum seem to be fighting more or talking less?

These aren’t the types of questions you should be asking a staffer. It’s unfair and really stupid.

Sutton: I am more than one thing. How dare you reduce me to the color of my skin or my sexual orientation? There are people who look just like me, thousands and thousands who died for the freedom to define their own lives for themselves. How dare you presume to decide what I should think is important? Yes, when it comes to equality for the gay community, Senator Santorum is wrong. But I am far more insulted by your high-handed implication that I need your protection.

This is one of the best speeches in any Sorkin show and it’s not even by a main character. Bravo.

Sutton: I am not defined by my blackness. I am not defined by my gayness. And if that doesn’t fit your narrow-minded expectation of who I’m supposed to be, I don’t give a damn because I’m not defined by you either. So get this through your head. I don’t need your help.

I don’t know what the commenters were thinking: Sutton won this round 10-8 over Will and it should have been 10-7. The counter right hit Will on the button and he was out on his feet through the rest of the interview. He came back with a nice lead hook on the teacher comment but it was utter decimation.

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~ by realfactsandbeer on January 20, 2013.

2 Responses to “Newsroom Season 1, Episode 6: Bullies”

  1. You totally left out one of my favorite scene(s) of The Newsroom….so far. When Sloan goes rogue while subbing for Elliot and Don’s meltdown (I think Thomas Sadowski does the best reactions) and the fallout with her, Don and Charlie. Yeah it was funny on the one hand and I thought all three actors were really good. But Sloan outing what a source told her that totally off the record was pretty serious stuff.

  2. Sloan going rogue was interesting because it illustrated a collision between journalistic ethics (don’t report what a confidential source told you off-the-record) and ordinary, everyday human ethics (don’t withhold information that people need to save their lives). The episode didn’t spell it out as well as it could have; when Charlie shouted, “The Japanese people are fleeing their homes,” Sloan might have retorted, “Good, thousands of them are going to die if they don’t flee their homes!” That’s what was at stake in that interview, and why Sloan was so angry that the translator was lying and Tanaka was refusing to admit on the air that the radiation level was going to seven.

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