The Spectacle Blog

Dumb and Dumber: Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer in “Newsroom”

By on 7.11.12 | 10:19AM

In  the HBO drama "Newsroom," of which I've caught snippets, Jeff Daniels plays an apostle of light, showing a fearless fidelity to the facts as an anchorman exhausted with ratings-driven trivialities. His bottomless integrity leads him to defend the honor of "primaried" Republicans like Bob Bennett, who was the "most conservative" member of the Senate, according to the anchor (this should gives viewers an idea of what his character considers "facts"). Daniels's character is outraged at crazies within the Tea Party movement who are so addled that they would knock off a worthy conservative like Bennett. Emily Mortimer plays his British-born producer who eggs him on in his crusades, whispering such profundities into his ear as "nothing is more important than a well-informed electorate." The British are coming, the British are coming, to save our democracy! Sam Waterson plays the flawed but sage executive pleased at his ratings-be-damned news team. He informs his boss played by Jane Fonda that "Media Matters" approved of a recent broadcast. Playing mildly against type, Fonda is concerned that the show is insufficiently respectful to the new Republican Congress and to the rich. After all, she "has business" before these guys and might find herself seated next to one of the Koch brothers at a Manhattan party. So greed, not fairness, is her basis for asking Waterson to tell his news team to "tone" it down. Aaron Sorkin is the "mind" behind this show and it is not a very interesting one: every concept he mouthes through his characters flows from the arrogant assumption that liberalism is the font of all wisdom and thus should serve as the arbiter of any story's or debate's parameters. This is "balance." 

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