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'Newsroom' And Sorkin Contacted By Joe Paterno's Son

You know your show has truly made it when you get an appreciative phone call from the son of a disgraced ex-football coach who actively covered up the disgusting behavior of a child molester.

The emotional plotline of the July 15 episode of HBO's The Newsroom actually dealt with the 2011 attempted assassination of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the subsequent media reports that Giffords had been killed, as the networks rushed to deliver the erroneous news after National Public Radio had made the claim. In the episode, the staff of the fictitious News Night, hosted by Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), struggled with the decision whether to report the Arizona representative's death without confirmation and ultimately chose to hold off on the report, despite pressure from network brass who were more concerned about TV ratings.

Aaron Sorkin

The Paterno family—no strangers to playing the victim card in the face of evidence that Coach JoePa knew about assistant coach Jerry Sandusky's proclivities for young boys and did nothing to stop his reign of terror—saw this episode and immediately recognized how the situation paralleled their own, as the elder Paterno was pronounced dead by the media 12 hours before he had actually, y'know, died. After viewing the July 15 episode, Joe's son Jay Paterno reached out to Newsroom creator/writer Aaron Sorkin to express his gratitude for shining a light on the responsibility of the news media when reporting the death of a public figure.

In an email to Sorkin, Rep. Giffords' husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, also shared his appreciation for the way that the show handled the issue. Always one to pat himself on the back, Sorkin told The Hollywood Reporter, "He was describing what it was like being in their living room watching the show together. For him, it was a very, very moving experience," adding, "In that instance, he obviously had a much more personal connection to what was happening on the screen than the average viewer; it meant the world to me."

While I agree with the sentiment that news outlets are in too much of a hurry to break a story in their mad dash for TV ratings, the episode was heavy-handed as usual with Sorkin. How did you feel about it?

- Joe Paterno
- Aaron Sorkin
- The Newsroom (2012)

Written by: Chrononaut
Sep 6th, 2012, 5:22 pm

Aussie Greg

Message Posted On Oct 17th, 2012, 7:19 pm
Hi Joel. Don't mind reading differing opinions about a work but just saying "heavy-handed as usual" or "always one to pat himself on the back" doesn't come across as a well-thought out review. It's really only just a step above "SORKIN SUX!" Develop your theme. Make your argument. If you think he's heavy handed, cite some examples and show us how it could have been done better. If you think he's self-agrandizing, then show us his raw ego at work. Otherwise this piece is no better the the rant of some whiney YouTube troll, and I'm sure you're better than that.

Message Posted On Sep 7th, 2012, 7:48 am
I can't stand when people say that you shouldn't criticize TV or movies, unless you can make them yourself. That's a cop out. Anybody who gives an hour of their life to watching an episode of The Newsroom has every right to criticize Sorkin.

Message Posted On Sep 7th, 2012, 7:36 am
Joel, If you could produce topical, entertaining shows like Aaron Sorkin does, then your criticism MIGHT have some validity. You don't and it doesn't.

Level 3 (36%)
Since: 16/Feb/12
Message Posted On Sep 6th, 2012, 8:41 pm

The Newsroom is heavy-handed, but subtlety isn't exactly ideal for criticizing the loud, boisterous newsmedia.

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