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Culture Shock

Newsroom season 3, episode 1 recap


For the last season of The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's foray into the trials and tribulations facing a large media company in the 21st century, I'll take the opportunity to review the show that achieves the impossible: it makes journalism look sexy.

Back when season one premiered on HBO, I was still in high school, young, wide-eyed and deeply interested in journalism. Now I'm a junior in college, older, narrow-eyed (blame it on the lack of sleep) but still deeply interested in journalism. I guess that's why I still watch this show. Cause honestly, this show sort of stinks, there's a reason it was just barely renewed for a third and final season. Lead character and protagonist (?) Will McAvoy is the newsman that none of us admire to paraphrase the AV Club, McAvoy is the aging, white, male baby boomer that will mansplain that catcalling is somehow endearing and that his long and arrogant soliloquies speeches are filled with wisdom.

It's 2014.

Speaking of 2014, season 3 takes us back to 2013, more specifically spring of 2013, and even more specifically to the day of the Boston Marathon bombings. To most, that day marks a horrific act of domestic terrorism, but to most journalists (who I assume are the majority of the show's audience) the Boston bombings also signified the strengths and weaknesses of social media and citizen journalism. Sorkin takes note of this and the script reflects his opinion of the matter.

It's stupid and useless.

Will and Mac, journalism's power couple, the protectors of truth, are wary of reporting based of social media reports (reasonable considering last season's Genoa catastrophe) however, this comes to hurt them in the end as ACN falls from second to fourth place in cable news ranking as the episode comes to its end.

Meanwhile, Neal, quite possibly the only journalist at ACN that openly embraces 21st century technology, dips his toes into encryption and classified government secrets a la Glenn Greenwald. After receiving a tantalizing message via encrypted messaging, Neal is told to go to the bathroom of a restaurant where he will find a flash drive filled with government files.

True to the whistleblower's word (there's a Sorkin-esque dialogue with appropriate pronouns) Neal finds a flash drive with nearly 36,000 classified documents in a toilet's tank. How sanitary.

Neal goes on to tell Will and Will goes on to tell Neal that he's committing treason and espionage and seems to completely miss that point that Neal is in possession of a huge story about American propaganda creating an actual bloody conflict in Kundu (which obviously is in Africa, the last vestige of barbarianism in the world apparently). This is the storyline I'm most excited for and I'm really looked forward to see where Sorkin takes us with it.

Maggie is still Maggie, Jim seems to be falling for Maggie again and Sloan is still the show's best character.

I guess this can be considered the beginning of the end.

The Newsroom is on HBO every Sunday from 8 p.m.-9 p.m.

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