Aaron Sorkin Denounced as Relevant For Running ROLLING STONE Story On THE NEWSROOM
December 09, 2014, 02:10 AM
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Aaron Sorkin is a highly successful screenwriter for television (The West Wing) and movies (A Few Good Men). I had never paid that much intention to Sorkin until he pulled off the high degree of difficulty screenplay for the The Social Network, the Mark Zuckerberg biopic. And then he landed the even more unlikely Moneyball, the Brad Pitt baseball statistics movie.

His latest project, the HBO series The Newsroom with Jeff Daniels as a heroic crusading anchorman, has apparently been a dud. But Sorkin still manages to outrage the easily outraged. From the NYT:

Even by his own reputation for stirring up intense reaction from critics and viewers of his work, Aaron Sorkin kicked off an unusually fevered backlash on Sunday night with an episode of his HBO series, “The Newsroom.”

Mr. Sorkin, in an astonishing case of prescience, created a plot that hewed closely to the recent article in Rolling Stone magazine about an accusation of gang rape at the University of Virginia.

In examining issues about the inability — or unwillingness — of the legal system to respond adequately to rape victims, as well as how journalism ethics parallel the legal system, Mr. Sorkin presented an argument that some critics found disparaged the credibility of rape victims.

Here’s a revealing paragraph from this New York Times article:
“Some critics questioned HBO for running the episode even as the details of the University of Virginia case — and Rolling Stone’s coverage — are being debated after the magazine backed off its initial account over questions about the accuser’s credibility. “There could not have been a worse time for this episode, airing in a week when there really are questions about ethics in journalism, and about how we cover sexual assault and rape in the media,” Eric Thurm wrote for the Grantland website."
Shouldn’t the quote read:
“There could not have been a better time for this episode, airing in a week when there really are questions about ethics in journalism, and about how we cover sexual assault and rape in the media”?
Here’s another NYT paragraph:
And Libby Hill, writing for the AV Club, said: “Aaron Sorkin doesn’t understand who the victim is. He doesn’t understand how empathy works. And he, as a rich, powerful, white man in the United States, doesn’t understand that he is among the most privileged people in the world.”
That’s pretty ho-hum boilerplate and certainly won’t get Ms. Hill in any trouble with anybody who matters. But what if the NYT paragraph had differed by only a single word:
And Libby Hill, writing for the AV Club, said: “Aaron Sorkin doesn’t understand who the victim is. He doesn’t understand how empathy works. And he, as a rich, powerful, Jewish man in the United States, doesn’t understand that he is among the most privileged people in the world.”
Change one word and her career would be over, right? Unless she could prove it was a slip-up by the reporter or copy editor and have one of them ruined instead. Or reveal she was Jewish, too.

That might make the basis of a good screenplay by Sorkin.