The Newsroom: News Night 2.0   Rewatch 
August 10, 2014 7:51 PM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

The newsroom team capitalizes on the great new start from the pilot by promptly screwing up.

MacKenzie recruits Sloan for a segment on the show, and accidentally emails the entire staff with the detail that she cheated on Will, angering him as he had specifically asked her not to talk about their relationship to anyone in the office. In preparation for a segment about Arizona's proposed immigration bill, Maggie is prepped to pre-interview one of Gov. Brewer's aides by Jim. She hides the fact that she once had a disastrous fling with the aide then makes a joke at his expense during the interview, which results in the Governor withdrawing the interview. The team scrambles for a replacement panel, but manages only a handful of idiots. Will slips a quote from Sarah Palin into the broadcast behind Mac's back, prompting her to chastise him and ask whether he's in or out,
posted by axiom (2 comments total)
"We don't do good television. We do the news."

MacKenzie's three rules:

1) Is this information we need in the voting booth?
2) Is this the best possible form of the argument?
3) Is the story in historical context?

These are questions every person who reads or watches the news should be asking themselves. For every manufactured 'barking dogs' scandal. For every sensationalized "YOU'VE BEEN LIED TO" headline. Are you watching good television? Or are you watching the news? The two aren't always mutually exclusive but the news should not have to be hyperbolized and packaged with graphics and pithy headlines in order to be worthy of reporting.

Just as The West Wing was Sorkin's extended political education of the American people for an idealized world, this show is essentially Sorkin's extended education of his viewing audience of an idealized news media. One where journalists rise above pandering and tabloid tactics, and report news stories that serve the greater good.

And man, is this episode a perfect lesson of how the best intentions are not always enough. Everyone has to be on board. Including your sources and interview subjects -- which is a problem because it's often not in their best interest to be as transparent as possible.

But the lesson this episode (and the whole show, really) is trying to impart that our news media should be informing us, not entertaining us.
posted by zarq at 11:43 AM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The "MacKenzie doesn't understand how e-mail works" thing ruined my suspension of disbelief in this episode. There's just no way someone who would be hired as a producer for a live nightly news broadcast in 2010 can't handle her own e-mail.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:21 PM on August 16, 2014

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