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.
But then there is the targeted killing of Anwar Al-Awlaki. By all accounts Al-Awlaki was killed on September 30, 2011. How did News Night know a drone had killed a United States citizen nine days before it actually happened? Your guess is as good as mine. I just can't understand the inability, or thinking it just isn't important enough, to get a simple date right. I know this is a work of fiction, but it's historical fiction and getting the history right is the quickest way to make your historical fiction better than all the rest. The lack of attention to detail is really starting to seem lazy. When you don't have to even change the names on your ripped-from-the-headlines stories you should at least double-check the dates. How are all those consultants you hired working out for you, Mr. Sorkin?
The timing was right on the Troy Davis execution. The background of the story was also fairly accurate. I couldn't find anything specific about lobbyists interfering in a pro-execution way, but then Don couldn't get confirmation either. So, I guess we're even on this one.
The quote that was misattributed to John Dillinger is actually a Truman Capote statement. And yes, it is a fact that Willie Nelson does do the best version of You Were Always on my Mind.