I love it when a writer, industry expert or what-have-you blows a gasket – I have no idea if Jeff Jarvis actually blew a gasket, but this is compelling, at least to me:
TV news relies on the obvious and the repetitive. I just watched a network news show in the US tell us that sitting in a car on a hot day can get even hotter. That would be stupid once. It is insulting the tenth time. It is unbearable the hundredth time.
Television news relies on conflict. Even BBC News depends on the jousting challenge. Far worse, CNN is about to resurrect the show Jon Stewart killed, the egregiously argumentative Crossfire (this is what happens when Stewart is allowed to take a summer off).
TV news relies on adrenalin, on convincing us that long-since-broken news is still breaking. Sorkin romanticizes the control-room rush of making deadlines that no longer matter now that news can be a constant flow online.
via HBO’s The Newsroom is a homage to everything that’s wrong with TV news | Jeff Jarvis | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk.
Jarvis is offering a critique of “The Newsroom,” an HBO show written by Aaron Sorkin about cable news. Sorkin is a reliably liberal writer who is best-known for having sex with Maureen Dowd when she wasn’t really old and writing entertaining scripts that appear on television and the silver screen.
I received a degree in News Editorial Journalism in 1997, and in one of the least-demanding degrees one could obtain, we understood that Broadcast Journalism was populated by idiots o the most special order: good looking, dim-witted, fools.
Print people tend to hate TV people, up to the point where the print people are invited on TV – which print Chud doesn’t want to be on TV? I’ve been out of the game a decade, and I’d love to be on TV. Dude, this is America, and TV is TV.
Regarding “The Newsroom,” I’ve not watched it, in part because I don’t have time (but yes, I do have a subscription to no fewer than 9 HBO channels) and in part because I see enough Liberal fantasy in real life to forego a Liberal writer and producer imagine a world where Liberal cable news was anywhere near as popular as the Real Life Fox News. As an actor, I like Jeff Daniels, but trying to imagine him as some kind of left-wing Bill O’Reilly (not a Con, btw) or Sean Hannity is absurd.
There is a simple statement for this: you cannot fit a square into a circle occupying the equal amount of square-footage. Square peg, round hole. “The Newsroom” exists as an exquisite Liberal fantasy whereby a hard-hitting Liberal commentator, buoyed by idealistic back-staff, begins to dominate the airwaves. It’s been tried, and it fails – Keith Olberman, Chris Hayes, Lawrence-O and the rest of the cadavers on MSNBC – it does not work. The Americans who watch cable news hate these people with a fiery passion, and no matter how many millions HBO dumps into this project, it ain’t gunna change.
If Sorkin’s “The West Wing” presented us with an intellectual POTUS who was a professor of history at some point (I think that was his thing, right?), then “The Newsroom” presents the weird view of the same applied to media. Fuck the politics, it’s literally an observation about the ‘grounded-in-reality’ part. Just as I can’t masturbate on a pumpkin and call it an embryo (/edgy, I know), so too can’t Sorkin write propaganda and call it relevant. You might view it, you might even like it, but at the end of the day, it’s slanted crap written by a talented hack aimed at the lowest common denominator, by which I mean the average Democrat who subscribes to HBO.