Daniels finally exploded because he sat between an arrogant liberal and an arrogant conservative yelling at each other -- and somehow he was the sensible center when he denounced the uber-patriotic straw woman. But the campus panel discussion he was on sounded a lot like "Real Time with Bill Maher," with Daniels getting to play Maher at the end. HBO, heal thyself?
Sorkin, talking through his characters, thinks that what America desperately needs are journalistic truth tellers to make democracy work. The people cannot rule by their own dimwits. They need the guidance of all-knowing anchorman prophets. As NPR's Linda Holmes perfectly summed it up, "It is to love America, but to be unable to stand Americans."
Near the debut episode's end, the news boss played by Sam Waterston lectures Daniels, "Anchormen having an opinion isn't a new phenomenon. Murrow had one and that was the end of McCarthy. Cronkite had one and that was the end of Vietnam." The betrayal of the commitment to impartiality is permissible if its end is the advancement of a leftist worldview.
It's downright bizarre for Sorkin to preach that the heyday of America was exactly the prime of arrogant and sloppy CBS bias under Murrow and Cronkite. The '60s weren't the heyday of TV journalism. They were the peak of Sorkinesque leftism, which presented America as a psychotic colossus polluting the planet and killing minorities in lands trespassed by Yankee imperialism. It was a heyday not for America but also for liberal journalism that enjoyed a monopoly in the "news" business.
What's funniest here is that Sorkin would present himself as a cable-news idealist when he prepared for the show by embedding himself with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. If there's anyone who better represents the victory of cynical egotism over idealism, it's Olbermann.
3. It's preposterous to suggest this isn't liberal activism, yet that's precisely what Sorkin is doing. He participated in a round of interviews insisting that he's not being political. He told New York magazine, "I want to make it clear, I'm not a political activist. ... I don't have a political agenda. I'm not trying to change your mind or teach you anything."
The idea that Sorkin would try and claim he's not political underlines how clueless he thinks the American people are. That's not "speaking truth to stupid." It's just shamelessly stupid deception.
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