‘The Newsroom’ 2.1: “Period.”

Thank you, Adam, for getting things rolling. And to Raheem, for teeing me up with the Occupy/RomneyBus commentary. If I could create my own news beat, it would be an amalgam of those two topics.

I don’t own a TV, which makes it hard to watch HBO. Thankfully, I was down at Alley Katz on Sunday evening, chatting with bartender Katie, when we realized that they carry the HBO package. I ended up watching the episode on an HDTV (how weird is ‘The Newsroom’ in high def?) in the back room, and I’d say that I heard at least 65 percent of the dialogue over the din of a nearby foosball match.

So, let’s see: Will is a push-over now, Jim’s on the campaign trail with Mitt Romney, the Lansings are fuming because they couldn’t help sculpt SOPA and Maggie has weird hair—presumably from a bad styling she received from a salon called Africa.

Speaking of SOPA, do you honestly think they wouldn’t let Reese into the House of Reps over Will’s “Tea Party is the American Taliban” bit? I won’t pretend to know the inner workings of Capitol Hill, but I’m not sure I’m buying that one.

And along that vein, there is no way the Romney campaign doesn’t allow Jim Halpert on that bus. First off, Romney had little to no stake in the tea-baggers at that time. Second, any journalist denied access to a campaign bus as a form of retaliation is going to make public the fact that that’s the kind game the politician plays. And it wouldn’t just be him: The entire press corps would be on the candidate’s ass (“Which of us is getting kicked off next for something we wrote?”), and I’m not sure Romney would be ready or willing to take that sort of heat so early in his campaign.

One scene on which I should actually have some insight is Neal’s visit to Occupy Wall Street. For those of you who don’t know, I was somewhat a part of the movement, in the sense that I wrote and edited for the Occupied Wall Street Journal, and most of my skill endorsements on LinkedIn come from the woman whom Dan Rather once claimed the entire movement rested upon.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit early for me to speak to how well Sorkin got it. You could say (as Raheem did) that he afforded Neal the foresight to show the Occupy’s non-leader what the movement’s eventual demise would be (no coherent message), but then we’re making the same classic mistake that the media made that autumn. Let’s ride this one out a couple more episodes, and I’ll try to speak a bit more to Sorkin’s accuracy. One thing he did get wrong: the hand signals certainly weren’t used as often or quite so vigorously in general assembly meetings that early in the movement. Also, those meetings were public. I don’t ever recall press being kicked out or discouraged from attending.

My take on the episode? It was necessarily expository, and so necessarily “meh.” I probably would’ve enjoyed it more if I weren’t watching it in a bar, but them’s the breaks.

Grade: B-

Previous Newsroom posts:

Raheem on 2.1.

Adam Khan on 2.1.

Season 1 recap.


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