Monday, September 9, 2013

2.8: Election Night: Part 1

After a long week off, The Newsroom kicked itself back into gear for the first of two hours about the last national election. There were some things that got just a little mixed up or left out though. Those things were facts.

Monday, August 26, 2013

2.7: Red Team III

Last season the episode that needed little-to-no fact checking was the one where they covered Osama Bin Laden's downfall (coincidentally, also episode 7). This season it looks like this is that episode. It was a great episode, and while it didn't have the historical resonance that the one from last season did, it also worked to propel us into Benghazi and the poor reporting that happened throughout the country in that debacle. The way they explain away their own poor reporting in that case is perfect, and also gives an opportunity to correct it first and win back the trust of the public. But, that's just a guess.

The fact is that Will's bits of trivia are accurate, and Don's amazing quotation of the exceptional resignation letter by Representative Thaddeus McCotter is also properly represented. He resigned amid a scandal involving fraudulent petitions. The representation that 30% of soldiers treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center have Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI's) seems to be close enough to accurate based on page 28 of this study. And yes, Jim's reading of federal law regarding chemical weapons is accurate.

And finally, based on the seven-or-so minute cut-up I watched of it on YouTube the night after the Benghazi attack (it only had about 700 hits at the time, now every iteration has at least a million), the film that was blamed for causing the attack for some time was absolutely horrible. It had no value, artistic or otherwise, and I will not link to it here. If you want to watch it, just Google it.

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.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2.6: One Step Too Many

Let's start on a part of Genoa that is in its second mention this week, MX-76, the item on the helicopter load out that seems to not have a name. First off, MX can mean a number of things, including, and most likely in this case, either Military or Missile Experimental. Charlie Skinner calls MX-76 a euphemism, but really it would just be a designation of a weapon system of some sort that would likely be classified. Could one jump to the sarin conclusion from this? Yes, but not for the reason Charlie seemed to. And, it's a huge stretch considering the United States has never used sarin. Plus, the description of the people with boils is more consistent with white phosphorous than sarin anyway (as I discussed here).

Monday, August 12, 2013

2.5: News Night with Will McAvoy

The format of this episode was interesting as it followed the various things going on throughout a single episode of News Night. It was different for the show, but it worked from an entertainment standpoint. So, how did the show fare as far as the facts go this week? Let's find out.

Monday, August 5, 2013

2.4: Unintended Consequences

Fact: The wig that Alison Pill, as Maggie Jordan, is wearing looks terrible. The reason that Maggie Jordan is wearing that hairstyle, however, is likely the most poignant and moving moment in the 14 episode history of The Newsroom. That aside, let's look into some actual facts.

There is no way, in the first few days of October 2011, that Maggie and Gary "Is that really your name?" Cooper could have followed the 100 U.S. troops that searched for Joseph Kony. The reason? Sending troops to Africa for that purpose was not even announced until the 14th of October. As usual, fuzzy timelines are used to support their plot-lines. And no, the ends do not justify the means. The 490th Civil Affairs Battalion is a real thing, and so are cattle raiders.

For the record, and you can check the links from last week, yes, death by asphyxiation is a reality with sarin gas. However, this is regularly due to the inability of the lungs to function after exposure to the neurotoxin rather than choking on one's own vomit. Vomiting is colorful and sounds violent. Simply ceasing to breath is not nearly as exciting.

This is a fairly straightforward definition of an NGO, or non-governmental organization. It's simply a global non-profit.

The Danish "Fat Tax" was real and was really repealed in November of 2012 after about one year of existence. And, the statement that Africa has 1,944 languages is Sorkinese for "about 2000."

What do you think about using the full name of Rick Perry's ranch on a newscast? Comment below or on the Fbook page.

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.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Episode 2.3: Willie Pete

While Operation Genoa is, as a whole, fictional, the show is doing what it can to make it seem like a story that someone might chase. The part of the story I'd like to address this week is what chemical agent was used during Genoa. The description in the show of people being burned is not consistent with sarin. It is, however, possibly consistent with white phosphorus. Here I will summarize the effects of each chemical, but for a better description of sarin click here and pay special attention to the Health Effects section, and for more on white phosphorus click this.  Sarin does not cause burns or boils on the skin; it's a nerve agent. It is very deadly but burning isn't one of its properties. White phosphorus, on the other hand, has a propensity to burn anything flammable within range. Charlie Skinner revealing that using white phosphorus improperly may be enough for a war crime will likely be important later.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Episode 2.2: The Genoa Tip

I will start off this fact check with a simple statement, one that I will not repeat in subsequent posts: Operation Genoa is pure fiction.

This episode is plagued by timing issues much like many of last year's episodes. This episode is special though as it features stories breaking both too early and too late. The first little piece of information dropped on the show is a case of being a little slow on the uptake. The journalists who were released from the Rixos hotel in Libya were all over the news by the morning of August 24, 2011, but the news team is talking about it on the morning of the 25th. Also, by September 19, 2011 people were getting arrested for wearing masks at Occupy Wall Street protests in Manhattan. The show doesn't get to them until the 21st, despite having the 19th as a part of the show. News clearly travels faster where you don't speak Sorkinese.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thank You to All My Readers

A huge thank you goes out to all of you reading this for making the past few days busier than I could have imagined. With over 1,000 unique people (compared with fewer than 6,000 between last August and this past Saturday) visiting the site over the past three days, I feel like I'm not yelling into an empty room anymore.

Thank you all very much for caring about the facts at least as much as the love triangles.

Your Obedient Fact Checker,

Brian William Waddell

Monday, July 15, 2013

Newsroom Episode 2.1: First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers

It's good to be back. For those of you returning from last year, I offer a hearty welcome back. For those of you new to this blog, or new to the show as a whole, I'd like to give you a big welcome. I've missed you.

As always, this blog is full of spoilers, but why are you looking up the facts if you haven't watched the show? Without any further ado, these are said facts.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Out of Context

A quick note before the real fun begins tomorrow: When I say something is taken "out of context" it means it is not given the proper frame for people to really be able to understand the situation or quote involved. If you take issue with me saying that something is "out of context" in a show that rarely gives any context while I go to the trouble of giving the context, then you will be consistently disappointed with this blog. Any quote given in part or without background details is taken out of context, and I will do my best to put it into context. I am usually not saying anything about whether the quote is being misrepresented on the show or misused, just that it has a context and I aim to give that context.

There was a comment about some of the stuff being not "out of context" during Episode 10 last season that I mistakenly deleted. I stand behind every inch of text in that particular blog.