Friday, July 6, 2012

Episode 2: Newsroom 2.0

While the pilot episode was fairly on point factually, even if the timing was unreal, episode two slips more into fiction when trying to portray a horribly botched newscast.  And, their forays into what really happened at the time were inconsistent in their political bent.

During the rundown meeting Arizona SB 1070 is brought up as their main story just three days after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. This bill is the Arizona immigration bill that the Supreme Court just handed down a decision on as of June 25th of this year. Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill on April 23, 2010 as the show tells us, but it never became law due to a quick injunction thanks to a lawsuit filed by President Barack Obama. The injunction will likely be lifted soon and a Constitution-friendly version of the law should begin to be enforced.

Blogger Neil suggested a man named Hector Nunez in the meeting as a possible “face” of illegal immigration. Hector Nunez and his story of having his license revoked after his name was used in a “The Pacific Northwest Insider” story that revealed his immigration status is wholly fictional. The paper doesn’t even exist. There is a “The Pacific Northwest Inlander” that fits the description, but no “Insider.”  What’s more, the State of Washington, where Hector purportedly had his license, has issued full licenses to illegal immigrants since before that story would have appeared.

The three "panelists" who appeared on the broadcast to defend the bill were all fictional (although definitely based on real-life people).

The opening of the broadcast featured a “Top Stories” segment that briefly hit on some interesting stories of the day. The statement that Greece activated a stimulus package on or before April 23, 2010 is inaccurate. While their credit was downgraded around this time, Greek aid wasn’t activated by the European Union until May of that year.

Republican Sue Lowden’s failed U.S. Senate candidacy in Nevada did include some quotes about paying doctors with chickens, but she never recommended we go back to that exact system. The blurb on this subject is in direct political contrast with Will McAvoy’s later defense of Sarah Palin’s inexplicable ramblings on Fox News. It also happens to be a bit late. Jay Leno had already made fun of her the previous week.

I’ll comment on the whole “Newsroom 2.0” concept in a separate blog, but there were some serious flaws in this week’s show that make me sure that this blog was a good idea, as many people believe everything they see on TV.

I would also like to apologize for the tardiness of this week's blog. It was a holiday week.

Brian William Waddell is a foodie, beer geek, and author. His numerous blog posts range from food to politics. He also has a book of poetry, Fractured Prose, available here, and is ready to publish his second poetic endeavor.


  1. With a show presenting true events with the benefit of hindsight, it's always tricky to know how much of the "new" information presented should be accepted at face value. Please keep up these posts!

  2. Great idea for a blog, but please cite your sources for information as much as possible! It will directly increase your credibility when fact checking. Thanks.

  3. i agree. love teh blog but please cite your sources so i can fact check for myself as well :)

  4. Just found your blog- thank you for taking on the task. As a fan of The West Wing, I was looking forward to Newsroom. In fairness, though I enjoyed West Wing, I did not agree with most of the politics, and Newsroom is really testing my ability to separate the "show" from the slant.
    One thing that made me race to Google was the statement Will made on-air that American soldiers contracted VD at a rate of 18000 per day.
    It took some time, but this is just crazy bad propaganda. The total number of cases from 1942 to 1945 was only 148,595.
    Anyway, I'll continue to read your work and thank you for the effort.

  5. @Anonymous, thanks for reading. Interestingly, I had to re-watch that portion of episode 3 to be certain of what war they were discussing at the time. The 18,000 per day number was apparently accurate for World War I. By World War II the number reportedly dropped to 606 per day. But, since the show referenced WWI, it was dead on. Check for verification.