Aaron Sorkin apologizes for ‘The Newsroom’

Aaron Sorkin, right, with Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama, who interviewed Sorkin at the Tribeca Film Festival.
(Peter Foley / EPA)

Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama “The Newsroom” has one more season, but before it leaves the air, the show’s creator wanted to clear the air with his fans. And he took a moment during an event at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Monday to do just that.

“I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with ‘The Newsroom’ and I apologize and I’d like to start over,” told his fans, according to Buzzfeed. At the time, Sorkin was on stage being interviewed by Jon Favreau, former speechwriter for President Obama (not the “Iron Man” director).

The series, set at the fictional cable news outlet ACN, follows a hard-charging anchor, played by Jeff Daniels, and his squad of producers who seek to uncover the hard news underneath the media noise that the series suggests many news organizations fall victim to.


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While many fans hoped “The Newsroom” would return Sorkin to his glory days of “The West Wing,” with smart people saying smart things in clever ways, the series has been accused of playing Monday morning quarterback with the news. By setting the series in the recent past, Sorkin’s characters have often made the “correct” choice that many real-life news organizations failed to do when the actual news was breaking. However, this lecturing tone was not what Sorkin says he intended.

“I think that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding,” he told the audience. “I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done. That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind. I set the show in the recent past because I didn’t want to make up fake news. It was going to be weird if the world that these people were living in did not in any way resemble the world that you were living in, so I didn’t want to make up fake news, and also, I wanted the option of having a terrific dynamic that you can get when the audience knows more than the characters do .... So, I wasn’t trying to and I’m not capable of teaching a professional journalist a lesson. That wasn’t my intent, and it’s never my intent to teach you a lesson or to try to persuade you of anything.”

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Sorkin did say he was proud of the series, which won Daniels an Emmy last year for outstanding lead actor in a drama series. But he did express his desire to start the series over in order to implement the lessons he learned over three year of writing it. He did his best to be humble in the face of those who mistake the writer for the characters he creates.

“I haven’t become an expert in anything,” he said. “I’m not sophisticated when it comes to politics, when it comes to journalism. I’m not as smart as the characters are or, as you can see, as articulate. I want to make it clear: I don’t know nothin’.”


Sorkin and Favreau’s entire conversation can be heard here:


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