There’s a generation of political activists, and I’m one of them, for whom “The American President” and “The West Wing” are sacred texts to be quoted and paid homage to on a regular basis. Sorkin, to his credit, made politics sexy, and he also did a lot to make many realise that politics could also be a noble trade. On top of that, Sorkin also had effects that I suspect people don’t often realise.
I, for example, am much more sympathetic to some conservative arguments (espc on guns) as a result of Sorkin’s writing through the characters of John Hoynes and Ainsley Hayes. In Ainsley Hayes, for example, Sorkin created a sympathetic conservative character that few conservative writers of fiction have ever managed to match.
You would think, then, that I’d be looking forward to Sorkin’s latest outing, HBO’s “The Newsroom”. I am, and I’ll watch it, but with a certain degree of nervousness. The cast looks good (Jeff Daniels is a very underrated actor) and looks like it has some good lines, only there seems to be something samey about it. It starts out with a liberal losing his cool over the state of the American media. Isn’t that how “Studio 60” (A criminally under appreciated show, by the way) kicked off? Is this going to be another liberal whinge fest?
I ask this, by the way, as a liberal. Now, Sorkin deserves the benefit of the doubt, and I have only seen a single trailer so I could be totally jumping the gun. But I would love to see a strong and regular conservative character who is not an idiot, not because I agree with conservative values but because putting eloquent liberal characters up against morons demeans liberal values. Some years ago, Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly debated each other on the air. Now, I don’t like O’Reilly, but I’ll tell you something: He knew his stuff, and it was good television, and not in the usual yah-boo Fox/MSNBC way. It was two men rationally, calmly and respectfully discussing their political differences.
Sorkin’s the man to write that type of exchange of view as drama. Let’s see some of that on “The Newsroom”.