Liberal television show creator Aaron Sorkin's show about the news industry, “The Newsroom,” debuts on HBO next week. Sorkin gave an extended interview to the entertainment publication Vulture in which he displayed his political biases and complete lack of understanding of Republicans and the news industry about which he has written a television series.
Sorkin told Vulture he thinks the mainstream media is too biased in favor of “fairness,” that his ideal liberal Republicans like David Frum are never on television when the complete opposite is true. News programs and cable news shows are dominated by liberal Republicans, like Frum, who populate the cocktail circuit and the conservatives for whom they have nothing but contempt are rarely seen on these programs. Sorkin goes on to say that the liberal Republican news anchor “The Newsroom” revolves around is ideologically closest to Jon Huntsman. Of course, Huntsman was President Barack Obama’s former Ambassador to China, and spent the Republican primary season thumbing his nose at conservatives while seeking the favor of cultural elites on the coast with fashionable photo spreads in magazines such as Esquire, Vogue and Time, publications that, like him, routinely mocks conservatives.
According to Sorkin, the media is too fair and doesn’t call out lies:
The thing that I worry about more is the media’s bias toward fairness. Nobody uses the word lie anymore. Suddenly, everything is “a difference of opinion.” If the entire House Republican caucus were to walk onto the floor one day and say “The Earth is flat,” the headline on the New York Times the next day would read “Democrats and Republicans Can’t Agree on Shape of Earth.” I don’t believe the truth always lies in the middle. I don’t believe there are two sides to every argument. I think the facts are the center. And watching the news abandon the facts in favor of “fairness” is what’s troubling to me.
Sorkin is half-right. For example, there were numerous lies and misrepresentations in the Trayvon Martin case. The media referred to George Zimmerman as “White” and then as a “White-Hispanic,” covered up footage in which Zimmerman’s scars were visible to falsely present an image of a person who was not hurt on the night of the shooting, and fabricated slurs and words Zimmerman never uttered in his 9-11 call. Others in the mainstream media did not call not describe these reports as "lies."
Of course, Sorkin also reveals his inherent biases in this statement by framing the “House Republican caucus” as the villain in his hypothetical about people saying “the earth is flat.” This shows that Sorkin thinks Republicans are stupid and the media is fairer toward Republicans than liberals, which is beyond absurd.
When asked if a “Republican with moderate-to-liberal beliefs” is science fiction, Sorkin amazingly responded that such Republicans are not on tv and the clueless interviewer -- and presumably someone who would know something about television and news -- agreed with Sorkin, by saying such figure were not “anywhere lately.”
According to Sorkin:
For the last year or so, but really since Obama got elected, I’ve found the most interesting op-ed political writing to be from Republicans who are looking at the extreme right and saying, “Those guys aren’t with us. I don’t know what happened here, but they’ve kind of co-opted our brand name. But these aren’t Republican values.” Guys like David Frum, Mark McKinnon, Andrew Sullivan. Even George Will. I hadn’t seen that guy on television.
One wonders how someone who has shown such blatant ignorance of the current news landscape can write a show about the news and can be taken seriously. The very types of liberal, Rockefeller Republicans Sorkin claims are missing from the news landscape are those news executives consistently seek out for interviews and comments in order to portray them as ambassadors of the right. Oftentimes, those brought on to represent the right-of-center view on news shows are hardly conservative.
Sorkin then says he is not a political activist:
And, I want to make it clear, I’m not a political activist. I’ve met political activists, and they’re for real. I’ve never marched anyplace or done anything that takes more effort than writing a check in terms of activism. Honestly, I’m a storyteller. I’m just as happy doing this as writing Sports Night or The Social Network or anything else. I don’t have a political agenda. I’m not trying to change your mind or teach you anything. I’m not able to teach you anything.
Of course, as Breitbart News’ Christian Toto wrote, Sorkin’s claims of not having political agendas is false. But don’t take Toto’s words for it. In the very same interview, Sorkin is asked, “Have you ever felt like you wanted to be a sideline coach for Obama?,” and Sorkin answers by saying he would advise Obama to raise taxes on people he deems as wealthy:
There have been times when I have wished that I could make a rhetorical suggestion. For instance, you need the wealthiest people to pay higher taxes. Why not frame it as a patriotic sacrifice?
When asked if there is a Republican whose views may most resemble the liberal Republican news anchor around which “The Newsroom” revolves, Sorkin said that “the most interesting person to write would have been Jon Huntsman” and “ideologically, he (Huntsman) is closest to Will (the news anchor).”
In the 2012 GOP primary, the Huntsman campaign thought the best way to win the Republican nomination was to be condescending toward and dismissive of conservatives, a strategy that backfired so badly and turned off so many primary voters that Huntsman’s conservative record as Utah’s governor was not taken seriously and his future in the Republican party is probably forever ruined.
From this interview, it seems as if “The Newsroom” will be as insufferable and ungrounded in reality as the Huntsman campaign was.