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Aaron Sorkin Insists to NBC That He's Not Known For His Liberal Politics

On Thursday's NBC Rock Center, just days after calling for more liberal media bias against conservatives, left-wing screen writer Aaron Sorkin dismissed the idea that he has a reputation as an outspoken liberal: "I don't know so much about my being known for my liberal politics.... I don't have very much political sophistication at all." [Listen to the audio]

Correspondent Savannah Guthrie skeptically replied: "Really, you're not known for your liberal politics?" Sorkin argued: "I don't feel that way about myself. Maybe I am. I've met activists, I'm not one of them. You know, they'll march. They'll do things that are hard. I, I don't."

Sorkin recently told USA Today that his latest project, HBO's The Newsroom, had a "bias toward fairness," even as the article went on to tout how the show's lead character, anchor Will McAvoy played by Jeff Daniels, "goes after the Tea Party activists and billionaire Koch brothers who helped fund it for seizing control of the Republican Party..."

In a review for The New Republic on Friday, ABC News correspondent Jake Tapper ripped Sorkin's leftist fantasy:

McAvoy – and, by extension, Sorkin – preach political selflessness, but they practice pure partisanship; they extol the Fourth Estate's democratic duty, but they believe that responsibility consists mostly of criticizing Republicans. This is done through the oldest trick in the book for a Hollywood liberal: by having McAvoy be a "sane Republican" who looks at his party with sadness and anger.

On Rock Center, Guthrie failed to challenge Sorkin on the show's obvious agenda, simply noting: "His latest project, The Newsroom on HBO, a comedy drama tackling themes of romance and politics set in the world of cable news." Turning to Sorkin, she observed: "This is kind of the newsroom of your dreams." Sorkin replied: "It absolutely is."

Guthrie described the main character this way: "Sorkin's protagonist, played by Jeff Daniels, is a news anchor on the rebound from a sort of nervous breakdown....Daring to tell the nation what it doesn't want to hear." A clip played of Daniels as McAvoy running down America: "There's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math- "

After accepting Sorkin's laughable denial of his liberal politics, Guthrie and host Brian Williams gushed about him like adoring fans. Williams confessed: "My only problem with his work is how dumb it makes me feel, which is not a long walk on any day." Guthrie chimed in: "Well, we're all in that club, aren't we? I mean it's almost like another language we need to translate....You know, he obviously is incredibly intelligent....he's pretty humble about it."

Wrapping up the segment, Williams told Guthrie: "Great profile. I envy you the time you spent with him."

Here are portions of the June 21 segment:

10:20PM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: His latest project, The Newsroom on HBO, a comedy drama tackling themes of romance and politics set in the world of cable news. This is kind of the newsroom of your dreams.

AARON SORKIN: It absolutely is.

GUTHRIE: All those moments spent at home watching, throwing things at the TV, now you can say how it really should be done.

SORKIN: I'm – honestly I'm not trying to say how anything should be done. But in a romantic comedy, you know, love works the way we wish it would work and here the news works the way we wish it would work.

GUTHRIE: Sorkin's protagonist, played by Jeff Daniels, is a news anchor on the rebound from a sort of nervous breakdown.

JEFF DANIELS [AS WILL MCAVOY]: YouTube, YouTube!

EMILY MORTIMER [AS MACKENZIE MACHALE]: Will, now you're just a crazy guy shouting YouTube!

GUTHRIE: Daring to tell the nation what it doesn't want to hear.

DANIELS: There's absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we're the greatest country in the world. We're 7th in literacy, 27th in math-       

GUTHRIE: You are known for your liberal politics. Your lead character is a registered Republican.

SORKIN: Well, first, I don't know so much about my being known for my liberal politics. These characters aren't, you know, vessels for me to say what I want. I don't have very much political sophistication at all.

GUTHRIE: Really, you're not known for your liberal politics?

SORKIN: I don't feel that way about myself. Maybe I am. I've met activists, I'm not one of them. You know, they'll march. They'll do things that are hard. I, I don't.

GUTHRIE: You're not that motivated?

SORKIN: I'm not.

(...)

10:25PM

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Savannah, you touched on this. My only problem with his work is how dumb it makes me feel, which is not a long walk on any day. But I go days without quoting the framers to the Constitution.

GUTHRIE: Well, we're all in that club, aren't we? I mean it's almost like another language we need to translate. I don't speak Sorkinese fluently either. You know, he obviously is incredibly intelligent. He says that he, of course, was the youngest of siblings that were much, much smarter than him and he just had to keep up, so he's pretty humble about it.

And it's not just the content, it's also the length. He says most television scripts, the ones he writes, are 20 to 25 pages longer than the average one because he puts so many darn words in them.

WILLIAMS: And as you mentioned, the angst already about his daughter liking his...

GUTHRIE: What a moment. He has all the anxieties of a writer with far less success, and yet here he is, a household name practically, for writing. That's something pretty rare in Hollywood.

WILLIAMS: Great profile. I envy you the time you spent with him. Savannah Guthrie, thank you as always.

GUTHRIE: Thanks.

-- Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Kyle Drennen on Twitter.