HBO’s The Newsroom is one of my favorite TV series because of it’s brutal honesty about American Politics and the way our media is operated. At the forefront of that is Will McAvoy, portrayed by Jeff Daniels. McAvoy, the anchor who did what many people in journalism do…fall into the cycle of regurgitated bullshit for the sake of ratings.
I started re-watching the show recently. So I figured I would share some of my favorite moments from the show in hopes that you too may watch it. It’s very raw and entertaining to say the least. I wish we had it in 2020 to dive into some of the issues among the media and political sphere.
The First Step In Solving Any Problem is Recognizing There is One…America Is Not The Greatest Country in the World Anymore
Chances are you have probably seen this clip from the show. This is literally the opening scene to the show and it is glorious. I love that the show begins with such a powerful monologue. Jeff Daniels is one of the most underrated actors in my opinion. I love how you can hear the pain in his voice near the end of this amazing speech once he begins discussing the shortcomings of America.
Gabby Giffords Shooting
On January 8, 2011, the media infamously called Gabby Giffords dead after being shot in the head only to retract it when she did not die from the gunshot. This is one of the most powerful scenes in the show. It was this moment where the entire news team bought in to “Let’s do the news.”
With President Reese Lansing barging in the newsroom to tell them to call the death, they all stick it to him. He turns to Don (one of the best characters by far) for his opinion. Don says “it’s a person. A doctor pronounces her dead, not the news.” YOU’RE A FUCKING NEWSMAN DON! Reese leaves pissed and then Will goes on a rant about fucking over the owners and doing what they should have been doing all along…the news.
Don Tells the Pilot
May 1, 2011 was a day in which America won on a monumental level. Our armed forces killed Osama Bin Laden. Don, along with Elliot and Sloan, were stuck on a plane when they got early word about what happened. As people in the plane started getting alerts to their phones regarding a major national security announcement, panic began to set in.
When Don was about to tell the people on the plane what they knew, the flight attendant passionately tells him to not take over the cabin in which he vents his frustration to her. She calls in the captain. It was then Don understood why she was in a frenzy over it. He eloquently tells the captain, first officer and flight attendant that “our armed forces killed Osama Bin Laden for you tonight.” One of the most beautiful moments of the show. Most of us remember where we were when we heard about what was happening on September 11th, 2001. For all pilots and flight crews, I can’t even begin to imagine what this moment was for them. I thought The Newsroom painted that picture with such grace and impact. I can’t watch this scene without being moved to tears.
You Wanna Play Golf or You Wanna Fuck Around
Jane Fonda who plays Leona Lansing, Owner of Atlantis Cable News (ACN), has an amazing back and forth with Director Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston). It started with her brilliant Jesus and Moses golf hypothetical. The premise of the hypothetical was Leona being pissed that Will went on air and called the Tea Party the American Taliban. Obviously she has interests that need to be protected and Will breached those interests during that newscast.
Republican in Name Only (RINO)
This was a full fledged attack on the Tea Party. Back when the show was airing, we were seeing the rise of the Tea Party. Monologues like this is why Aaron Sorkin is no longer writing for television. This was the pinnacle of how raw The Newsroom was. The reason I find this one to be so significant is because I believe that Donald Trump does not get elected without the rise of the Tea Party in the early 2010s.
Booing a Gay Soldier
One of the biggest issues I see within our society is everyone loves to preach how pro military we are until those serving may not hold the same beliefs. During a Republican debate in 2011, a video of a gay military captain, Captain Stephen Hill, played and it was booed by members of the audience. Will goes full Will McAvoy attacking the Republican candidates at the debate for being so pro military but not defending a gay soldier after the audience boos.