Monday, June 25, 2012

Media Monday--THE NEWSROOM

Originally, I was going to review True Blood again since it was even more awesome than last week (I think I'm developing a serious crush on Christopher Meloni). And then I remembered it was being followed by the premiere of a new series, The Newsroom, and I said to myself, "Self, hold on. Let's take a look at it, because you like things like this."

As usual, I--or Self, it's hard to keep the talking to yourself things straight--was right.

I was hooked from the get-go. Jeff Bridges reminds me of Bill Mahr which can be both good and bad depending on whether or not you care for Mahr. I don't mind him, so I was onboard. But really, and if this doesn't draw a ton of response from reviewers I'll be shocked, what instantly put me on the side of Will McAvoy was his response to a question about America being the greatest country in the world.

America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. But it could be.

I love this, and the preceeding rant, because I think McAvoy says what so many people feel and are scared to say. We hold on to the nostalgic view of a country that could and would conquer anything to prove we could but because we believed it to be the right thing to do. Now this viewpoint has gotten us in trouble more often than not (anybody thinking Vietnam War right now?) and it can also be considered just an excuse to go and be all big brother and condescending toward other nations. But I've always been a person who believes that the attitude or intent behind an action is just as important as an action itself. Or maybe that's just my criminal justice degree sprouting it's ugly head.

I digress. As usual.

The series is actually set in the not-too distant past, most likely to take advantage of the numerous stories to be rehashed and exploited. Case in point--the first episode deals with the BP explosion in the Gulf, which happened in April 2010. It was amazing, honestly, to find out all these things that, I'll be honest, I didn't have a damn clue about before. This is shameful, considering I live in Florida only about an hour from the coast of the Gulf. Most of the blame falls on my hand, but one of the things I took away from the show last night keeps going through and through my head.

I'm paraphrasing, so I may not have it down correctly, but McAvoy's new executive producer says something close to--"The point of the news is to inform so people can partcipate in the debates that shape the world."

Like I said, paraphrasing, but the sentiment is essentially the same.

I'll admit, I don't watch the news. I read the paper for headlines, the crossword, and the Limelight section. Why? Because I know my local paper is biased as hell. The reporting on the local channels is a joke at the best of times and throw-a-remote-at-the-television inanae at the worst. I don't have any respect for the industry anymore.

But I remember growing up, watching the News with Peter Jennings Monday through Friday because my grandfather did. Even if I had no clue what was going on, I still watched. For one, it was the only thing on the television and for two, I believed if my grandfather thought it was important, than obviously it had to be. Ah, youth.

The disintegration of the news industry into an arena more prone to rattling on about which star wore it best on the red carpet or the drug problems of some starlet to absolute sensationalistic crap has turned me off just as much as the overly biased opinions of commentators and reporters. I don't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican. I care about how you present the picture, if you can look beyond your own personal biases to the facts of a story.

All this being said (and good Lord, where the hell did that come from?), The Newsroom will make you think. Since I love shows that make me think (and yes, I'm aware I also love shows that don't--whatever), this is a go for me.

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