In Defense Of The Newsroom Again or: An Open Letter To Aaron Sorkin
A few days ago I wrote an article in defense of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom. I stated very plainly that I disagree with criticisms of the show by certain people in the media and I made my snarky and (hopefully) humorous case as to why I think it is a well made show. I didn’t go into detail with rebuttals of popular criticisms, or even make strong arguments as to why the critics of The Newsroom had gotten it wrong, I simply said that people “don’t get it,” and moved on with my day. I had anticipated a few hundred people would read the feature, mostly people that stick around on this site and know my work and my style, agree or disagree with me, and move on. But then something interesting happened. It went viral.
Apparently being the only person on the entire Internet with a particular view gets you a lot of page views. Within a day or two I had sparked a Twitter campaign to #SaveNewsroom from hostile critics. My mission to civilize had spread and eventually got picked up by one of the stars of The Newsroom, Thomas Sadoski. As the Twitter campaign surged and more people found the article, it got picked up on Zergnet and other various websites. From there, I received a multitude of comments on the site and on Twitter, mostly from people that agreed with me.
But of course, not everyone agrees with certain things. Eventually a thread on the Television Without Pitty forums found the article and started to tear me apart. One person even had this to say about me:
“Whoa, a guy who thinks that people who don’t agree with him are dipshits is an Aaron Sorkin fan? Color me shocked.”
He also said this:
“I know a man who’s in the market for a new writing staff. I think you might be just the guy he’s looking for.”
Now, of course his statement was cloaked in layers of heavy Internet sarcasm, but it made me think.
First of all, the people in the TWoP forums were not wrong. My original feature was more of a light piece poking fun at the critics of the series, and was not meant to be taken as a highly researched or well-argued “takedown piece” on critics of the series. It was certainly not meant as a rally cry to begin campaigning to #SaveNewsroom. The feedback and criticism I got from the article were all welcomed and very informative, but unfortunately I did not put my best foot forward and anticipate the massive impact that my article would have. Yes, I do stand by all of the points that I previously made, but I agree with my critics and understand that there was definitely a better way to say them.
For example, I could have said that when the Los Angeles Times says that “The drama is weighted too heavily toward sermonizing diatribes,” what the Los Angeles time isn’t getting is that those “sermonizing diatribes” are actually expertly used to show two sides to an argument. Episode after episode of The Newsroom, viewers are treated to soaring and expertly written arguments, or “sermonizing diatribes,” from both sides of the political spectrum. In Episode 6, just when we think that Will McAvoy has had his “sermonizing diatribe” of the episode, we learn that his “sermonizing diatribe” was actually incorrect. He poured his heart into one side of the argument, and was then proven wrong. By a Republican nonetheless. So when the Los Angeles Times says that “The Drama is weighted too heavily toward sermonizing diatribes,” I have only two things to say. One, it’s not; watch the show. And two, learn to write like a human. Using big words doesn’t make you intelligent.
But that’s the beauty of hindsight, isn’t it? My original argument is published and has been read and I’m not about to change it.
But back to the TWoP forum and how someone sarcastically said that I might be just the guy that a man who’s in the market for a new writing staff is looking for. The man this poster is referring to is of course Aaron Sorkin, who reportedly fired his entire Newsroom writing staff. Despite the fact that this isn’t true, there was still a turnover of writers on The Newsroom and Sorkin is definitely looking for some more people to fill the void.
As well, the A.V. club had an article up not too long ago about this reported firing where the writer of the article said that he would be willing to apply for the job. He then joked about having a spec script (which is TV-speak for a speculative script emulating an existing television show, like The Newsroom, but with your own dialogue and plot-lines) and wanting Aaron Sorkin to hire him.
But hey, I’m a television writer and a longtime fan of Sorkin, and I actually do have a spec script of The Newsroom. So I figured that amidst all this criticism, both of me, Aaron Sorkin, and The Newsroom, I’d throw my hat in the ring and write this article with the hope that the Internet will once again carry me to viral fame and spread my message all the way to the creator and writer of The Newsroom himself, Aaron Sorkin.
Mr. Sorkin, your show is awesome, and I want in.