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.

First thing first, since we know few details of Operation Genoa at this point, I will simply state that there is no special operation carried out by the United States military by that name that has been revealed to date. The use of nerve gas is at issue here. There is nothing in the timeline of The Newsroom that fits this description, but back in 1998 CNN and Time reported on a Vietnam War special op dubbed Operation Tailwind. The reports alleged that U.S. forces used sarin gas to kill defectors to the enemy from the U.S. military. That is not just atrocious, it's unthinkable. This story was debunked and retracted about three weeks later. This could very easily be the basis for this storyline. Or maybe it isn't. The fact is, a major news outlet has erroneously reported the use of nerve agents by U.S. forces in the past and settled wrongful termination suits with the producers who ran the story.

Some of you probably let out a boo when you heard the acronym SOPA. Well, the Stop Online Piracy Act was, at the time of this show, in its infancy and was not introduced until late October of 2011. The idea that a media giant would have been angry about being left out of the conversation to help mold the bill is entirely believable.

While it felt like more references were thrown in to support the date of this episode than would have been last season, they found a way to keep their stuff together this time. The fall of Ghadafi's compound, the Washington D.C. earthquake, and the dropping of charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were all accurately portrayed as occuring on August 23rd. And yes, Steve Jobs did resign on August 24th.

I'm going to stay away from the drones for now as I believe this issue is building to events that happen at the end of September of 2011. I will address it when it comes to a head then. But for now, the referenced AUMF is the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists that was adopted shortly after 9/11 and gave the president expanded powers to go after terrorists.

I will also stay away from the Occupy Wall Street storyline for now as that is clearly just ramping up and from what they've shown so far the origin is fairly accurately documented.

As far as a couple new characters that are not a part of the newsroom staff go, Shelly Wexler and Cyrus West are not real people. 

Welcome back News Night, I feel like we're going to have more in common this year. Like facts.

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. Thanks for looking into this stuff!

  2. I've loved the show from the first episode, but I'm a newbie here. I follow the "real" news enough to know that the most outrageous quotes and stories on The Newsroom are too often true. The infamous Spencer Bachus quote was over the top though, and it prompted me to go online to check it out. I had a feeling somebody would be doing this. I'm so glad I found you. Keep up the good work!

  3. Thanks for this blog! Aaron Sorkin said in a behind-the-scenes of this episode that Genoa is based on Operation Tailwind.