The first episode of HBO’s The Newsroom tells of journalists desiring to bring the fourth branch of power back to television. RT looks at how the truths about journalism expressed in the show are more honest than what Americans see on the news.
Slapping the face of mainstream American journalism and speaking truth to power
“When you ask, what makes us the greatest country in the world – I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about,” says the main character of the new HBO series “The Newsroom,” Will McAvoy.
The fourth branch of power is finally back hitting America’s screens in a TV show, not in reality.
“A lot of countries do things better than the United States, but we can’t even have that discussion – because you are shouted down as unpatriotic,” said editorial columnist and author Ted Rall.
Brutal truths on what journalism should really be about and the passion to question the status quo as well as the fear mongering of real broadcasts – examples of absurdity taken to an extreme on TV news are aplenty in the new show.
As viewership on real mainstream media plummets, the show adds insult to injury by portraying common news show behavior, including finger-pointing and pretending to be interrupted to add fuel to the fire. Amid critical reviews, a TV show about the news – more honest than real news.
“Show business is doing a better job than the news business in presenting news. It’s a complete flip around,” said media critic and blogger Danny Schechter.
“A lot of reporters, producers and news anchors who look at this show should be blushing, should be thinking ‘Urgh, he got us here,’”, said news commentator TJ Walker.
When a fictional anchor fights for substance on the news, he is resisted by the system in real American mainstream newsrooms – this straightforwardness is a myth.
“Nobody really likes to bite the hand that feeds them,” added TJ Walker.
Instead, infotainment is king.
“There is a deliberate effort here to say, truth be damned, we have to do what we have to do to get audience. It seems to take years before truth catches up with news,” said Danny Schechter.
Until then – there is no room for real news in US newsrooms.
“You’ve got way too much crap focused on just vapid stuff like reality television, what happened jersey shore,” said Ted Rall.
The mainstream media today focuses on pitch and spin, not angering corporate owners or challenging the system. Uncomfortable issues, opinions deemed politically incorrect or the questioning of long held beliefs about America, it seems, are best left to TV drama.