People turning on HBO Sunday evening must have thought they'd accidentally switched channels to MSNBC.
In the third episode of Aaron Sorkin's new drama The Newsroom, those involved in the fictitious cable news network ACN all basically became MSNBC employees mercilessly attacking the Tea Party whilst comparing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) to the late Joe McCarthy (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):
The episode was done largely as a flashback. At the core was a meeting between heads of the parent company Atlantis World Media including CEO Leona Lansing played by Jane Fonda as well as ACN's news division president played by Sam Waterston. This dramatically took place the day after the 2010 midterm elections.
ACN's program Newsnight has taken a hard turn to the left in recent months, and ratings have dropped by seven points. Top brass aren't happy, and they're taking Waterston to the woodshed for it.
Snippets of the “past” were shown beginning with the controversial Olbermann-like anchor played by Jeff Daniels starting a broadcast with an editorial comment addressing how he’s been asleep at the wheel like many "journalists," and is going to start attacking forces in the government supposedly destroying the nation.
That, of course, would be the Tea Party.
To demonstrate just how far to the left he was willing to go, he and his production team decided to only give about three minutes to the attempted bombing in New York’s Times Square in 2010
Back in the boardroom, Waterston got chewed out for this decision because everyone was switching the channel from ACN to the other cable networks that were giving this more airtime.
Waterston responded, “Media Matters, Think Progress, Howard Kurtz and the Columbia Journalism Review all praised our coverage of the Times Square bomb.”
One can plainly see some of the furthest-left, most biased entities in our nation basically have a hand in HBO's new offering.
What should one expect from a network that features Bill Maher and has a hit program that used the decapitated head of former President George W. Bush as a prop?
As the show continued, Daniels went on a lengthy, factually-challenged rant against the Tea Party besmirching folks like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Jim DeMint, and Allen West while conveniently pushing to raise taxes on the nation's richest one percent.
Potentially worse, mixed in with characterizations of real people were manufactured personalities that don't exist.
The producers concocted a phony member of Congress called Bryce Delaney just defeated in a primary by a Tea Party candidate.
During an interview with Daniels, Delaney claimed he lost because he said at a townhall meeting that Obama wasn’t a socialist. He also made the awful “mistake” of co-sponsoring a bill with a Democrat that provided for homeless veterans to receive housing vouchers and services such as counseling and job training.
This is tremendously scary stuff, and a bit unethical in my view.
By mixing fake characters in with real politicians, Sorkin is free to say anything he wants without sticking to facts as the overwhelmingly large percentage of viewers aren't going to know who's real and who's an illusion.
Back in the boardroom, things were really beginning to heat up. We found out that AWM as a result of all the Tea Party bashing has lost the backing of the Koch brothers.
Months prior, Daniels went on a lengthy rant accusing the Kochs and Americans for Prosperity of being behind the Tea Party movement - almost as if written by the leftists at the George Soros-funded Think Progress.
Sorkin on Sunday was proudly channeling some of the most left-wing views in America today, and just like Think Progress and MSNBC doing so without regard to fact or context.
But the worst was yet to come.
It's now election night 2010, and Daniels interviewed another fictitious Tea Party candidate victorious at the polls and refusing to answer questions about the looming debt ceiling vote.
Daniels perfectly exemplified all of the far-left's unfounded paranoia that not raising the debt ceiling would have caused a global financial cataclysm.
Back in the boardroom, Fonda has now taken over the meeting, and demanded to know what Waterston's done to Newsnight.
"I engineered a situation," Waterston replied, "wherein an executive producer with a unique ability to bring out the very best in an anchor with a unique ability were paired to do a news broadcast this company can and should be proud of."
“And rebrand ACN as MSNBC’s more combative brother?” asked Fonda.
"We did the news," he countered.
"For the Left," Fonda correctly interjected. .
"For the center," objected Waterston.
Fonda then asked what likely most intelligent viewers were thinking. "Are you f--king out of
This led Waterston to do his best Sorkin. "For the center, Leona. Facts are the center. Facts. We don't pretend that certain facts are in dispute to give the appearance of fairness to people who don't believe them. Balance is irrelevant to me. It doesn't have anything to do with truth, logic, or reality."
These lines almost came verbatim from an interview Sorkin did with New York magazine in June:
I don’t believe the truth always lies in the middle. I don’t believe there are two sides to every argument. I think the facts are the center. And watching the news abandon the facts in favor of "fairness" is what’s troubling to me.
But Sorkin wasn't done, for through Waterston he sneered, “America just elected the most dangerous and addle-minded Congress in my lifetime.”
After things got even more heated, Fonda told Waterston that the news division he oversees is only responsible for less than three percent of AWM's revenues.
"You don't make money for stockholders," Fonda scolded, "which I have a fiduciary responsibility to do."
"Well, last night," Fonda continued, "the voters ousted 21 percent of Congress, including seven members of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. Three of those seven are AWM's most reliable friends on the Hill. Now, the congressmen that will be replacing
them are the same people that [Daniels] has been making look like f--king morons for the last six months."
"They've done a pretty good job making themselves look like morons," replied Waterston.
"I have business before this Congress, Charlie," objected Fonda, "And whatever you may think of these people, which is the same thing I think of them, they hold the keys to the future of AWM."
So even Fonda - who appears to play the only sane character on the program, mind you! - agrees with the left-wing view but is opposing it exclusively for business reasons.
This is the exact same offensive falsehood promulgated by the left: business people only go against liberal positions for money NOT because they have deep-seated conservative views.
Regardless, Waterston countered, "News organizations are a public trust with an ability to
inform and influence the national conversation."
"I know," responded Fonda. "That's why I bought one."
She then informed her employee that they're not candidates anymore, they're Congressman, and Daniels is going to tone it down.
Waterston objected, "If Joe McCarthy sat on the House Subcommittee for Communications and Technology, would you have told Murrow to lay off?"
"No," Fonda answered.
"Why?" asked Waterston.
"Because he was a genuinely bad guy," Fonda replied.
"Michele Bachmann's called for Congress to be investigated to ferret out House members who are un-American," Waterston said.
"Michele Bachmann is a hairdo," rudely responded Fonda. "I'm not worried about Michele Bachmann."
"I wonder how many people weren't worried about McCarthy," objected Waterston.
"You know, Charlie, a lot of people might argue that [Daniels] is on a witch hunt," offered Fonda.
"And a lot of people might argue there are witches out there," Waterston countered.
"I'll fire him, Charlie," said Fonda as the musical score got more tense.
And this was largely where episode three concluded.
When you add it all up, HBO and Sorkin have for all intents and purposes recreated Keith Olbermann, one of the most biased, hateful, and factually-challenged commentators to ever appear on television, and allowed him along with his staff to present a far-left view of America absent any regard for the truth.
Yes, HBO is now MSNBC.