July 19th, 2012
11:09 AM ET
Aaron Sorkin responds to 'Newsroom' critics
Although it's been picked up for a second season, Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom" has weathered a healthy amount of criticism.
His pilot for the HBO drama, which premiered in June, was said to be rich with "many, many problems"; filled with cartoonish characters; and, a criticism that Sorkin has since addressed, lacking in authenticity.
Sorkin told NPR's Fresh Air that he's always envisioned "The Newsroom" to be "aspirational."
"I like writing about heroes that don't wear capes or disguises; it's aspirational," he said. "You feel like, 'Gee, it looks like the real world and feels like the real world - why can't that be the real world?' ... The show is meant to be a fantasy set against very real and oftentimes very serious events."
In his perspective, "the critics and the audience who are reacting as hostilely to the show as they are" partially think that Sorkin's "showing off an intellect and an erudition that I don't have," he said.
"I'm not pretending to have it. I know that I don't have it," Sorkin assured NPR's Terry Gross. "I phonetically create the sound of smart people talking to each other. I'm not one of them. The characters I create would have no use for me."
Listen to the interview in full here. What do you think of "The Newsroom" so far?
soundoff (108 Responses)
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HBO has taken a turn for the worse lately ,from a programming perspective. Progams like Girls,Veep, and The Newsroom are lacking in the kind of edge that I expect from this network. I expect this kind of programming from Fox or ABC, HBO should expect more from themselves, the viewers certainly do.
Dear Mr. Sorkin; please don't let the critics dissuade you from continuing this show. As someone who lived in Nevada for 10 years (and thankfully escaped) your second episode couldn't have been more right on. I lived the negatively and stupidity everyday – remember chickens for health care? The writing has been sharp and witty and I have to say that this is now my favorite show on TV and I look forward to it every week even though it brings back memories I'd rather forget! Is this a liberal show – the naysayers would say that but it is more than that – it's truth – just ask someone who really lived and breathed the results of it everyday. The Koch brothers are behind more than the Tea Party and you should write about that. Keep the controversy coming!
Be proud of Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin. You gave us something to watch on TV, a show that makes us think and then Google to find out more.
Agreed. I consider myself relatively well-informed, but this show has consistently had me researching topics. I would be astounded if Sorkin is only reproducing what smart people sound like and does not have the intelligence I think he does.
I Love the show!!! Wish we had real news show like this.
your keep reading though right? lmao
Stop hating and go worry about your own lives(?)
It's an AMAZING show. I LOVE 'Will's rants and the underlying relationship dramas, but at the end of the day, they are struggling to just report truth. I think it's GREAT. I also think Jeff, Emily, and Alison are FANTASTICALLY cast for their roles.
I wanna live in a world where this kind of news reporting is the norm. Love Will's rants, he says what we are all thinking. His smackdown on the TMI Reporter hit the nail on the head. With reality shows ruling the roost, thank god for HBO, I love this show!
ithe show is a little unrealistic, but i have to say i due tune it at times.
this show is making summer that's for sure!
I find it to be a very entertaining show that is quite believable. The casting of the characters could not have been better. It has become my favorite "reality" show.
I'm in the same boat.
I love the cast and Idea, unfortunately, the story is garbage.
Evidently, to Sorkin, "Real News" should look like : Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
sam has put uncle arthur's day away. any further details can be discussed at your leisure otherwise samantha and uncle arthur can fly forward... sam and uncle arthur are both sorry to each other for everything that has happened.... if there are any further explanations please discuss with sam or sam is going to twitch her nose so uncle arthur will be having a lovely vacation in siberia. good night.
who has the time to write these exhausting paragraphs? oh wait a minute its coming to me now.....vitamin e
shut up its only 6am for the love of God
shut up its only 6am for the of God.
After a Life Time spent working for Media Networks in India & the UAE ... This show is one of the best I have seen that Highlights the fact that the NEWS MEDIA across the Globe should stop trying to ENTERTAIN and start reporting the NEWS without any personal bias Or Political Agenda as they are the True Guardians of Democracy ! Bravo Mr. Sorkin ... I hope this show Runs for at least 10 seasons and creates public awareness against Networks & News Organisations with Political Agenda's and creates awareness amongst the viewers at large about the way the NEWS programmes are being Hijacked to further Political Views and Agenda's of owners rather than give an objective and unbiased view of events that transpire !
you wrote this paragraph at 3:48am...somebody had a big night last night. congrats!
I enjoy the show. The writing is witty, and it shows how a real newsroom SHOULD editorialize, specifically, in the search for TRUTH, regardless of what side that comes down on. The real news (FOX News, MSNBC, etc.) is partial to dems and repubs respectively. I like the idea that Daniel's character takes swipes at both sides to expose the truth and motives behind positions. Admittedly, though his character claims to be a Republican, he does go after R positions a great deal, though in fairness, there is much to go after them for. Examples of how informative news broadcasts slant the news: FOX, to my knowledge, never once mentioned the connection between the Koch borthers and Citizens United, or their support of the Tea Party and Scott Walker. MSNBC went after the connection with a vengeance, but downplayed the connection between Solyndra and the Obama administration, something FOX News ran with ad nauseum. Wouldn't it be better for a more INFORMED electorate if the news just reported the NEWS without fear or favor?
I do not think I have ever seen a sentence with over 50 words in it before.
I love the show. I am a moderate Republican and I enjoy the rants regarding the things i hate about my own party. and i enjoy the flow and feel of the show. very enjoyable. i was a fan of WestWing, Charlie Wilsons War and Moneyball. Excellent work aaron keep it up!
The newsroom is fantastic! If you don't like it you're a Republican for sure. Because the reporting is always after the fact, hindsight is a major factor in the write, as Sorkin has said in almost every show at the end. duh!!!! what is wrong with people? What has happened so far that has NOT been true?
this liberal should never forget where is grandparents ran from.
Every show gets even more liberal. I wouldn't mind it if there was some here and there but when the whole thing is just about how bad GOP is, it's a joke. He should not have gotten the show, good idea that has been washed down the drain with all the biased crap.
jeff daniels is a survivor in acting...he's always working and a great actor, i wish he was more respected in the industry, i've see him on broadway..he's a true threatre professional
i cannot believe most people are in front of a tv that long.
i think the comment was quite clear, i also cannot stand weak people either..
YOUVE JUST BEEN TRACKED...
What I really want to know is was Mr. Sorkin walking and talking in a long, unnatural sounding monologue as he spoke these words?
"...walk with me..."
i have no respect for weak women. i have no respect for weak men either.
I have no respect for weak comments.
Best new show on TV! Needs to spotlight a strong female character soon, or I will lose interest...all the women are essentially weak...
Librals (like myself btw) already believe what the show is preaching. It seems intent on slamming the right, which at a time like this in our history is more part of the problem than the solution. We should be finding ways to understand each other, not slam each other. Be the change you want to see in the world. Don't just sit around criticizing other.
aspirational? it is about people who read the news!! who cares!!!
sigh. yes, the human background of the characters. what shenanigans will they get into next week sort of ideas. why do you watch ANY fictional tv show? its a story being told about the people and what they do. which oftentimes is them doing the news.
I can't believe that people actually don't like this show. It is the best thing on tv right now and I can't wait for each weeks episode. Maybe when you hear things that go against what you think is right and real it makes you uncomfortable for embracing the scare mongers. People like Michelle Bachman like to scare people into believing nonsense just to advance her political agenda. Why are so many people in the US so scared of the truth and why do they mistrust their government so much. Fox News has done a wonderful job at scaring the hell out of many US citizens for no good reason – some of what is presented on Newsroom clearly show the way news can be skewered to further someone else's agenda and just scare everyone. Wake up US and start listening to what is real (I am not saying the Newsroom is real – just that it does show some glaring discrepencies on what is being reported by the real newsrooms). Canadians are just shaking their heads over what is happening in the US nowadays – thank God for the 49th parrallel!!! You have no idea how the rest of the world is laughing at you and how your politics has deteriorated to the level of complete nonsense, total dirty politics and of course the scare factor. You get what you vote for – unfortunately!!!
It's a TV show, if you don't like it, don't watch. "The Newsroom" is just another victim of a 24/7 media news world in which we live. 20 years ago a show like this wouldn't be criticized the way it is today. They have to talk about something. Air time to fill!
The show is not ultra liberal, it actually keeps pretty on fact with the way it deals with the news issues. Unfortunately the conservative movement has moved so far to the right that things like truth, facts and reality are now branded as ultra liberal propaganda. That makes for a sad commentary for society.
Bravo response....facts always fluster the Right Wing (and the Left!)...that entire segment about the way the Govt was supposedly spending $200 million a day for an Obama trip (which was completely untrue) and the way that people like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin went onto spread those fallacies like truths was sad..and hysterical at the same time...BRAVO Mr. Sorkin for shedding light on...THE TRUTHS instead of what politicians (L or R) want you to believe. Keep pulling that curtain away to show the miserable self-serving, blind egomaniacs that it appears ALL politicians are!!!
uh, folks, it's a TV show ok... personally I like the show, I think the writing alone causes people to at least think about the issues of the day and possibly spark some conversation. Again people it is a TV show. I prefer The Newsroom to say almost every other show on TV, except for The Big Bang Theory (another well written show). It is entertainment with an edge, an edge that appears to have some people upset. Of course please feel free to disagree with me and turn on something more true to life like Big Brother or Real Housewives of wherever....
Love this show....No one cares what the critics say.
The show inspires us to be better. Yes I like gritty "the world as it is" shows to, but there is nothing wrong with characters that we want to be. Sorkin is a genius, regardless of what he says.
Newsroom is well-written; West Wing was, too. Sorkin is very good at writing witty dialogue. He's also good at spin and telling a "truth" in a misleading way. For example, the episode about the conservative Koch brothers highlighted that they are worth from more than their liberal counterpart, George Soros- a truth. But Sorkin ignored that the Koch brothers' contributions are rated as on par or lower than those of Soros, except by the Center for Responsive Politics, which was created by a group heavily funded by Soros. Each show contains more than a dozen such misleading, but factually correct, items to slant the show to match Sorkin's liberal perspective. Sad, really, that an otherwise good show has been turned into a propaganda machine.
just another biased liberal putting out garbage.
Newsroom is a show with an opionion. In the era of CNN where we would get the "balanced coverage" of Hitler's Germany taking the Czech Republic, Newsroom dares to hit us with some stark facts and the show's opinion of them. Hurray for Sorkin and Newsroom.
Only in USA would most of these comments be focusing on the election. Get over yourselves! People can sit and watch Fox News and not complain but they have to complain when a great, optimistic and heartwarming show comes along because its not republican enough? It is pretty sad and pathetic that you can't see passed your obnoxious politics. America the great? It's not anymore but it can be if you ALL LIGHTEN UP.
I have watched every episode so far and love it. I know that it's not very realistic... that's clear because the main characters actually seem to care more about telling the truth than pandering for ratings – something that seems to have disappeared in modern "journalism." My great hope is that this show (and other forces) with inspire the 4th estate to reclaim their vital role in our democracy and start searching for the truth again.
I really like this show, witty, intellectual and driven with tons of action. I find myself just looking forward to the next episode and the next...Keep them coming...
II can no longer stomach this show because of the unrealistic, constant personal fights fought publicly in the newsroom. Would two "newsroom" people really air their most personal grievances/lover's quarrels over the heads of colleagues, who then pitch in with advice? It seems silly and indulgent that week after week several people have dramatic public fits while coworkers look bemused or roll their eyes. I heard an interview in which The Newsroom was called "entirely authentic." I don't believe it. While the characters are certainly intelligent and passionate in their politcal views, they are utterly unprofessional and immature and I cannot believe this show is representative of ANY but the most disfunctional newsroom. I know....it's supposed to be heightened effect and all that, but I have stopped watching because I stopped caring about any of the characters.
Best show on television in a long time. Brilliantly written. Quick, witty dialogue. I really hope this show lasts a long time. I think the people who don't like it, just don't get it. LOVE Aaron Sorkin!
People like this show or hate it. I don't care about the people who like it, I'm one of them. I want to know who the people are that hate it and why. So I comb through the comments and here's what I hear. A lot of them don't like it because they say, the people are trying to sound intelligent. So I guess these people hate it because they prefer people to be dumb or they prefer shows that dumb it down because its a strain on them. Some of them describe the snappy dialogoue as liberal propaganda. Suggesting that real people don't talk like this. Which real people are they talking about? The one's that need the writer's to dumb it down so they can understand it? Clearly, they don't like liberals or propaganda. So they would prefer to hear shows that promote conservative fairytales about the make believe world that most americans don't live in, except those that are in a permanent perpetual drone state. Well that narrows it down considerably. Sounds like they should be watching the reruns from leave it to beaver. Good night and good luck.
HBO – quit f&$#ing around and bring back DEADWOOD, please.
Deadwood, Rome, Carnival and The Wire make The Newsroom looks a breakroom...
It's called HBO GO. You can wallow in your Deadwood re-runs until the end of time.
My husband and I LOVE this show! We look forward to seeing it each week. We are extremely excited to see it's been picked up for a second season.
My wife and I love this show and wait for it every week with anticipation. I love how Sorkin is skewering Faux Noise and teabaggers in congress by simply pointing out that they are liars, and "balance" and false equivalencies do not journalism make.
Also, Alison Pill is cute.
"Doctors pronounce people dead... not the news..." OUTSTANDING... When's the DVD come out? I'll be first in line...
I really wanted to like this show, but by episode three I could no longer stomach the preachy, ultra-liberal agenda that Sorkin is pushing. This is nothing but mainstream propaganda disguised as "intellectual television" in a difficult election year for the Dems...and HBO is only too happy to help 'em out. The dialogue can be snappy, but the characters are wooden...or, worse, stereotypical (Dev Patel should be embarrased). I gave it four hours of my life; now I'm out.
Anyone else appreciate the irony that a show about a newsman re-committing himself to tell "both sides of the story" focuses only on one side every week? LOL, oh Sorkin, you are such a kidder!
It's NOT ultra-liberal, you've just been drinking that yummy Fox Kool-Aid.
Mary Dove Facts are both sides of the story. You need to stop watching Fox.
Can't believe Sorkin has to pretend he's not a "smart person" for this article. "Dumbing down" is not just one of the show's themes apparently.
It is one of the best ,real show on TV ! I got hooked the first week and anticipate each episode ! Wonder writing,and acting ! Can't wait to purchase season 1 DVD !
The problem with Sorkin is that there is nothing honest or real about his work. While he is capable of great stuff (Social Network), he is also just like his idol David Mamet; devastatingly overpraised and a real-life embodiment of the 'emperor's clothes'. 90% phony...10% genius.
We just love, love, love this new show. We are news junkies and this is the most realistic news show ever. We save each episode so that we can go back to it again and again. We're very excited about another season. The cast is amazing together.....seamless.
I wanted to love this show. I've been a fan of Aaron Sorkin's other projects (especially "West Wing") but "The Newsroom" just bores me to death. I can't get interested in the characters, the overall tone is condescending, and I actually stopped watching after the third week. What a shame.
I agree. Sorkin is smart but that doesn't mean everything he will do will be a winner.
One of the most entertaining shows on TV. I can understand why many folks don't like it because it requires them to listen and to think. These are the same people who probably run for congress!
Love it and love the concept. It's very fresh and original. Sometimes it's a little hard to keep up with the lightening fast, witty dialogue, but then every show can't be The Bachelorette or Big Brother. Congrats HBO and Sorkin.
But then most white people are gay.
That's weird. I see you speaking but all I hear coming out of your mouth is "Ooga Booga! Ooga Booga!"
Go chuck your spear somewhere else, spear-chucker!
I think that eagles nest person is gay !
Once again Jamal, your GAYDAR is working!! Congratulations!! Welcome to the dark side buddy! I'm glad you can finally be honest wiht yourself! Now you can finally stop hiding behind your tough man personality and be ALL you can be! By the way, what did you not like about the show? Just curious if your able to use Big Boy words.
This is a great show. Do I see it as the ultimate reflection of reality? No. Because it's a freaking TV show. What I love about it is its idealism–they're "preaching" about things that NEED to be preached about. Why is it that we Americans have made such a virtue of cynicism? Why have we so disconnected from feeling and expressing outrage with being lied to by the media? This show, while fictional in that the characters don't exist, still presents FACTS. Verifiable facts: especially check the bit about Tea Party funding, it's important. That's what makes this show great–it, hopefully, prompts its viewers to THINK.
Unfortunately I don't receive this show – I guess I'll have to wait for it to get to netflix. From what I hear it sounds great.
I find the polarization of the comments interesting – they seem to parallel other polarization.
It would be helpful if people commenting here indicated their political leaning as well. I think we would see a close correlation.
Well, I for one... thoroughly enjoy this show. IMO... Great writing, mixed in with real world story-lines. Wonderful acting. Love Sorkin's work.
Also loved The West Wing, which is arguably one of the best shows ever. Another of Sorkin's brilliant works.
I have always liked Sorkin's work and the dialgoue from The Newsroom certainly has his talents attached to it. The dialogue is interesting, smart, and payful at times. While I enjoy Jeff Daniels, Allison Pill, & John Gallagher, Jr. and the roles they play, I also find that some of the other characters are just not likeable.
Definitly a show for sissy white boys and gays.
Hey Jamal, Have you ever heard the term "Me thinks he doth protest too much"? You can come out of the closet now big boy... no ones going to beat you up! Why don't you give the uber gay comments a rest and put some actual depth into your reasoningfor not liking it. I' just sayin' you big tough "Man" you! 🙂
I absolutely love it! I have missed the west-wing, Sorkin style bantering! Very intelligently written and definitely makes me think which is rare on TV these days!
I do not like the show, the characters are too over the top especially Jeff Daniels and Sam Elliot. It doesn't matter that it is a fictional newsroom. The show is partially based in real world activities. I can't see the characters behaving so unprofessional in a supposedly "professional" environment. Not the best HBO has done!
By Sam Elliott you must mean Sam Waterston – a really superb actor – as are the rest of the cast. Should have your info right before you post. LOL
Actually I'd like to see Sam Elliott playing Sam Waterson's part. Actually I'd like to see Sam Elliott play any part Sam Waterson's played. That would be neat.
I smell a meme coming on.
I am loving this show so far
Liked How to Make it in America
VEEP was horrible, no idea how that got nominated
Wanted to like this show but it is absolutely terrible. One of the worst on TV at this point. Just bad all around.
I think the show is pretty good. Unfortunately it leans left wing. All we need is another left wing drama. How about the main charactor takes an objective look at current events. I use for example saying that the Tea Party is being taken over by extremeists. If you take an objective look at the Tea Party, their goals are less government, less government spending and fighting government corruption. Since when is that extremeist? And they recently had Jane Fonda on. That in of itself is extremeist. Jane Fonda, aka, Hanoi Jane during the Viet Nam war went and did a media campaign for the Viet Cong. I am not sure why she wasn't tried as a traitor and put to death. No matter what your feelings are about anything you don't go over to the enemy of your country and help them. She needs to go away and never be seen again. That view is not extreme. Extreme would be to hunt her down and take her out for her sins from the 70s and I am not suggesting that. I just think she doesn't need any attention or money for doing anything for the American public.
I am so disappointed in this show. I so look forward to anything HBO puts on Sunday night but this show is just horrible. The characters are unlikable and the attempts at witty banter always fails with a thud.
Unlike the West Wing that was cutting edge and thought provoking, Newsroom just comes through as one sided and preachy. It seems like the show was rushed and they never took the time to develop real charachters while writing it.
It's the worst thing HBO has put out in years.
I agree with you 100%. The only 'smart sounding' conversations are based on 'past tense' news stories that are just being retold from a 'what should have been done' perspective (you know, hindsight is 20 20). The characters are lukewarm 'nothings'... there's not one of the characters that I like or could identify with... the main news guy, played by whathisface, acts like he is 19 years old and says REALLY stupid and immature things. If the writer didn't have the actual NEWS to plaigarize from, he'd have nothing. People who like this show really need a life. There's nothing redeemable about this hbo show, but then, that's hbo for you. True Blood, another piece of pig manure.... even worse.
I think Newsroom is the smartest show around. It shows the inner guts of a news production along with human frailties. It exposes the opinion shows mascara ding as news shows. It also pokes at the reality shows which are not really reality shows. They are scripted with bad actors.
Love everything about this show! It is entertaining and smart. Who cares if it's not "reality"– it's what reality SHOULD be in journalism. I'm glad the example is out there somewhere.....maybe soon on actual news shows?
It's not a good show, even if you forgive the lack of realism. The characters don't successfully sell their respective beliefs. The dialogue is far too cute.
It's a shame, because the cast is really good.
Newsroom is the most intelligent show on air right now. Smart and witty, and rooted in real news.
Breaking Bad is about a million times better.
Why is it that – for the most part – the critics hate The Newsroom, while viewers love it? Why don't the "critics" get it? I keep hearing that it's not realistic, but really, is it supposed to be? Was West Wing realistic? Is any tv truly realistic. This is entertainment televsion, not reality television (which is also not really "realistic"). Just sit back and enjoy – that is, of course, unless the fast-paced banter where everyone has the perfect thing to say is not your cup of tea. I choose to suspend my disbelief and appreciate the well-produced, acted, and written spectacle of it all.
it doesn't have the realism of True Blood or Game of Thrones apparently
I think a lot of critics are uncomfortable at how close the show hits the mark on how fraudulent our infotainment media has become. If they praise the show, they are by extension criticizing their own masters.
Best show on TV. It's TV, it's HBO not reality, you want reality, go out-side. As for Sunday night, it's HBO night. Good work Aaron, keep it up.
This is the best show on television right now. It is a FICTIONAL news agency. The writers have explained that, yes, it is easy to write a story once you already know how it ended. Going back in time and doing it right is an entertaining concept. Critics, get over yourselves or watch network television.
There are two things I like that maybe part of the criticism. I like that it is set in the past. Last night the big story that broke was the Congresswoman Gifford's shooting. We (the audience) know what the right thing to do was in the situation that was presented. It gives you a sense of empowerment to know what's right. Secondly, the fact that it the woman who cheated on the man in the McAvoy back story. For once, the man isn't the jerk who crushed a woman's soul by leaving her. I enjoy the show and I'm going to give a fair shot. Oh, look at me! I buried the lead.
Saw the pilot show and Aaron is still one of my heroes. The writing was sharp, there were well developed characters and the dialogue flowed, as usual. However, if I had to criticize: The West Wing characters were flawed yet had many endearing qualities. This is where Newsoom falls short. The show has not one character with an endearing quality (or certainly not like those as well utilized on West Wing). Sam Waterston's character comes closest but unfortunately he's not on as much as I'd like to see. Give it some time to grow and hopefully it will blossom.
'Newsroom' is fantastic. I am amazed how quickly the show is over and I am dreading having to wait another week to see the next show. I worked in D.C. and a great deal of the interactions are right on mark. I love the interactions and to those critcal of the show...you are the snobs. Get beyond yourself and enjoy a fun fast exchange of actions and reactions. I am so sick of the 'reality tv' which isn't and it is so enjoyable to see Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer and all the cast have fun. In many ways the fact that the show theme is going against 'ratings' vs. 'honest' TV and the Newsroom is going against 'critics' vs. 'fans' in reality is actually FANTASTIC and shows how today's critics don't understand today's fans! Great going Mr. Sorkin. Very excited about another season!
Ghey liberal cr@p about a baby and his cigar-smoking, talking dog.
i was riveted by your insightful post. Can you please expand on this talking dog with the cigar?
I am so enjoying this show. I'm grateful there is a show like this that makes you think. For example, in a heated exchange between Sam Waterston's character and Jane Fonda's, she claims Michelle Bachman is nothing but a "hairdo" – not dangerous as McCarthy was back in the 1950's. Waterston challenges her on that – how can she be sure? Well, now look at what Bachman is doing in REAL LIFE – saying that our gov't is being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood – her accusations/evidence look very much like McCarthy and "Commies" no evidence but stirring up fear.....and this show was written before this hit the"real" news. Makes you think. Truly. Thank you HBO!!!
I agree with the critics. This show is completely removed from reality, only further reinforcing the stereotype of an ultra liberal media elite. It's hard not feel like you are being force fed this agenda. It's condescending to viewers. Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer are fantastic in their roles. I just wish they had a better storyline. It's a stupid premise. Alison Pil is beyond annoying to watch. They need to get rid of her.