Bob Woodward’s tell-all book Fear, which documents the first year and a half of the current Presidential administration in the United States, has been selling like hot cakes. Unsurprisingly, the reply from President Trump has been that the novel is largely a work of fiction and ultimately, “fake news”. With his battle against the media reaching new heights, we thought this was a good time to look back at an underappreciated HBO show and how it can return in a timely manner.
(WARNING: This post contains spoilers for HBO’s The Newsroom)
When it worked, HBO’s The Newsroom worked fantastically. Smart, aggressive and socially relevant, the show did a good job at portraying real events through the eyes of the media and illustrating the cost of losing the trust of the audience. Those moments were the show at its best, not when we had to sit through another love triangle debate that was occurring during work hours, only made bearable due to Aaron Sorkin’s quippy and impossibly unrealistic dialogue.
Some time has passed since the show ended, but does that mean the show doesn’t have anything left to say? Considering the current political climate and where the news media stands today, a show like The Newsroom could be an excellent platform to analyze and debate while also entertaining and informing. Here are five reasons why #HBO should green light a Newsroom comeback, even if just for a season.
Current Affairs, Make It Relevant Again
Let’s not beat around the bush here. No matter what anyone’s political point of view is, no one can deny that things are heated these days, with various groups clashing over what they think is morally right for the United States while flat-out disagreeing and antagonizing with anyone who doesn’t share their point of view. These protests and headlines seemed to have been amplified ever since President Trump came into office a year and a half ago. The headlines are writing themselves and a show like The Newsroom would be hard pressed to find stories to report on, as one of Trump’s biggest adversary, according to him, is the Fourth Estate itself.
Normally, a season of the show would cover a few real-world stories — some that carried over multiple episodes such as the Occupy Wall Street Movement — while others, such as the BP Oil spill, lasted just one episode. To not tire the audience from the grim state of affairs, the show would be wise to allow the newsroom members to tell other news stories amidst the anarchy and bullying that is befalling their profession. It’s gotten to the point where the press is now fighting back, with Op-Eds being published, including one recently published by The New York Times, nationwide editorials being published on the same day defending journalism, and the previously mentioned book Fear. Bob Woodward, the author of that book, is a two-time Pulitzer winning journalist from the Washington Post and is one of the journalists who wrote the Watergate story.
The show will be responsible for informing audiences and allowing them to question the information given, to create discourse and a dialogue, which is what the show did in its opening moments as it ripped into current perceptions and realities.
“”We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in our last election, and we didn’t…we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things, and to do all these things, because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore.”
President Trump’s Crusade Against The Media Can Be Explored From The Point Of View Of The Media
President Trump has been waging a war against the mainstream media and many of his supporters have also taken up arms against the press despite the lack of evidence as to why. “You’re fake news” has become a battle cry and a show like The Newsroom can show us what it’s like to operate in the mainstream press while those very individuals tasked with informing the public are persecuted for doing just that. It would be great to see the cast back in hot water and perceived as villains from various members of the general population while being caught in the middle of a media war against the head of their own government as they do their best to inform and educate. Trump has constantly belittled and bullied the press with increasingly dangerous paranoia, claiming any information that paints him in a poor light ( in his opinion) is by default, wrong. The show would give viewers the chance to see how journalists work in these situations, how they build these stories and the cost of running them. Season 2’s main story dealt with the editorial team running a huge story, only to realize that it was indeed, fake. Seeing this dynamic of journalists working hard to present the facts while working on repairing their reputation would be a great dynamic.
Will McAvoy Is A Registered Republican
Jeff Daniel’s character, Will McAvoy, is an interesting individual who has repeatedly criticized the Republican Party despite being a registered Republican himself. It puts him in quite the predicament but makes him a much more interesting character — one who challenges the status quo on live television, despite the damage it could do to his career. To see him take on that battle with an opponent who despises the mainstream media and a party that isn’t completely behind its leader would create an interesting platform for debate that I’m sure many of viewers could relate to, or at the very least, give them something to ponder about.
McAvoy starts the series off with a bang, declaring that contrary to popular opinion, “America isn’t the greatest country on the planet anymore”, a statement that seemingly became the banner for Trump’s initial campaign with his caption “Make America Great Again”. So both Republicans state that prior to Trump’s tenure as President, the country was in a bit of a mess economically, socially and politically. But McAvoy also isn’t portrayed as how a traditional Republican is often portrayed as in the media. Instead, he openly challenges the Republican Tea Party, calling them the American Taliban, and questions the direction those kinds of Republicans are taking the party. Years later, one has to wonder just what Mr. McAvoy, and by extension, Aaron Sorkin, are thinking about the current state of the country.
Now it should be stated that I’m not an American, and therefore not privy to the finer details of the politics. But I feel the show did a great job to inform a wider audience on current events in the country, the political landscape and just how a newsroom can help inform the public by presenting and analyzing facts.
Catching Up With The Characters
So, things have been pretty serious so far in this piece. Let’s calm it down a bit before we finish and consider that bringing the show back would be a great reason to get back with the cast and the actors who portrayed them for three years. Did they all remain at ACN despite the aggressive changes that were going on?
Will McAvoy and Emily Mortimer’s MacKenzie McHale were last at the funeral for their dear friend Charlie while also learning that they will soon become parents. How does being parents change how they view the world? Do they become more responsible for being honest journalists or have they stepped away for fear of backlash and ridicule? Or perhaps they’ve taken to reporting the news online as vloggers? It’s 2018 and McAvoy certainly had an audience, perhaps he runs opinion pieces at home and is ultimately brought back into service when the network realizes that it has a responsibility to its viewers to inform, not distract.
Some of the other characters have been paired off into couples, so if the show were to return, we wouldn’t have any dizzying love triangles to contend with (thankfully). The cast of characters are all pretty likable people and it became very easy to care for these characters because they were written so well and with personality for days.
So what do you think? Should HBO consider bringing back The Newsroom? Does the current state of affairs justify its return, or will it be ridiculed as an unwarranted attempt at “anti-Trump propaganda”?Let us know what you think, especially if you watched all three seasons of the show. Until then, here’s Jeff Daniel as McAvoy reenacting that powerful opening speech on Bloomberg Politics, only this time with President Trump as the subject to give you an idea as to where this can go. Bear in mind that this was in May 2016 and the facts and realities have changed a bit, but it’s still a small peak as to the idea. After that, why not read up on our latest entry in our 1001 Movie series and who the real master villain of the MCU is.
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