You can watch the whole first episode of HBO’s new series The Newsroom on Youtube. At no cost, you can marvel at just how awful a show about journalism can be, managing to be exquisitely sanctimonious and clueless at the same time.
Here’s the shtick: Jeff Daniels plays a cable news anchor who discovers his inner Walter Cronkite, as his new producers remember what it’s like to do real journalism. In fact, the first episode is about science journalism. In about fifteen minutes, the producers completely decipher the Horizon oil spill, down to the quality of the concrete and the physics of ruptured deep-sea drills. In the real world, journalists like Julia Whitty at Mother Jones, Richard Harris at NPR and Abraham Lustgarten at ProPublica chewed away for weeks, even months, to get the story. But in Aaron Sorkin’s twisted universe, you can figure it out based on–well, based on a volcano you made for your school science fair project.
Honest! I’ve cued up the tape for you here. Give it till 44:55 and you’ll see I’m not making this up.