Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom:” Putting News Reporting Back On Track

By James Turnage

I don’t usually do reviews or stories about television shows. I am making an exception. What is referred to as “reality television” has made me turn off my TV frequently. HBO has become the new standard for creativity and excellence in television.

I grew up watching the news: the real news. It wasn’t FOX, MSNBC or CNN; it was the news, what happened today, and follow ups on what had previously happened. We had reporters such as Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley, not personalities. They reported the who, what, why, where, when and how of a story, not the emotions or insinuations. We don’t have any of that today.

Last Sunday night, June 24th, I watched HBO’s “The Newsroom.” It stars Jeff Daniels and is produced by Aaron Sorkin. I’m writing about it because I was obviously impressed. It’s about an angry, dissatisfied television news anchor who is not everyone’s favorite person. In order to continue with his career, he went the way of all “newspersons” today: He reported the news that would please the advertisers and make money for the network. Enter a new executive producer, and former lover, who changes everything. He is reluctant and even hostile, but at the end of his first broadcast with her in the driver’s seat, the story of the BP oil spill tragedy in 2010 on the Deep Water Horizon off of the coast of New Orleans, he is secretly elated.

When the news was reported, as it happened, without regard for political bias and offering opinions, it was a valued and important element of our society. That honesty, the courage and commitment to the factual content of reporting facts to the people of our country no longer exists. Unfortunately, entertainment is the driving force behind our daily “news” stations.