There was a time when everyday Americans trusted Dan Rather for their objective news. He was considered a voice of the people, a challenger to the established authorities. Then he broadcast a falsified report on President Bush’s time in the Air National Guard. He disgraced himself, and he resigned.
Now he’s been relegated to writing for Gawker, the same website that brought the world the execrable Wonkette. And at Gawker, he’s been relegated to reviewing Aaron Sorkin’s new show on news – The Newsroom. Here’s what he said:
Episode 3 of HBO’s “The Newsroom” is deeper, broader and better than the two previous installments. (And I thought the first two were excellent.) I wasn’t sure before — I had my doubts — but this latest in the on-going series convinced me:
“The Newsroom” is important television, the closest we’ve had to “must-see TV” in recent years.
What exactly makes Sorkin’s Newsroom, a critical failure, such a boon for Rather? Let Rather explain:
The reason is that it digs deep to reveal the innards of big network television news–the teardrops and laughter, the sunshine and storms that go on behind the scenes and below the surface. And it reveals the danger of big business being in bed with big government, whether the government is led by Republicans or Democrats. This is especially dangerous when it comes to big businesses that own, as a small part of their overall operations, a national-distribution news organization.
In this episode, the most important, most interesting, most revealing scene is where the owner of the corporation (played superbly by Jane Fonda) tells the head of her news division, “I have business in front of this Congress!” She’s complaining about her anchorman and his newscast covering news in ways she knows will displease Congressional leaders whom she needs for business advantage.
Rather is still busily portraying himself as a good journalist, as opposed to the defanged newsman who once cut Bernie Goldberg dead for reporting liberal bias at CBS. No wonder he likes Sorkin. He loves Sorkin’s insider mythmaking, Sorkin’s presentation of the “old-school newsroom” that functions as a singular, monochromatic outlet for his own perspective.