Aaron Sorkin's Fictional Republican: Why Must We Hate Gays, Science and the Poor?
The HBO series Newsroom on Sunday continued its clumsy examination of liberal media bias. In the Aaron Sorkin-created series, "Will McAvoy" (played by Jeff Daniels) is a "Republican" anchor at the fictional ACN network. Yet, he constantly bashes members of the GOP in the harshest terms. In the September 15 season finale, McAvoy, who in a previous episode referred to the Tea Party as the "American Taliban," huffed, "I call myself a Republican because I am one."
In the episode, which was set on election night 2012, McAvoy then proceeded to denounce the party he claims to be a member of: "...Now I have to be homophobic. I have to count the number of times people go to church. I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con." Talking on-air with a fictional Republican operative, Daniels's character lectured, "And I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect in the 21st century. But most of all, the biggest new requirement, really the only requirement, is that I have to hate Democrats." [MP3 audio here.]
Earlier in the episode, McAvoy ridiculously suggested that Democrats don't nominate extreme candidates: "Who's Allen West on the left? Who's Joe Walsh or Michele Bachmann?"
Perhaps Mr. Sorkin, who writes and produces the show (and is a well known Hollywood liberal) is unaware of Alan Grayson, a Democratic Congressman who said the Republicans want people to "die quickly" and warned of the "blood that drips from [Dick Cheney's] teeth."
On the September 8 episode of Newsroom, Daniels mocked the concept of liberal media bias.
A partial transcript of the September 15 episode is below:
"WILL MCAVOY" (Jeff Daniels): What media are you talking about when you say media? ACN?
"TAYLOR WARREN" (Constance Zimmer): Yes.
MCAVOY: Well, continue.
WARREN: I worked in the Romney press shop and I can tell you that on average over the last six months, "News Night" did 14 negative stories about Republicans to every one... Hey, Molly. It's New York. - Copy. - Coming to you shortly. Stand by. If Republicans do 14 crazy things in a month, does that mean the unbiased thing to do would be for us to concoct 13 additional crazy Democrat stories?
MCAVOY: Who's Allen West on the left? Who's Joe Walsh or Michele Bachmann? A 14-1 ratio of negative stories and your takeaway is is that there's a problem with the storyteller.
WARREN: Who did you vote for today?
MCAVOY: You know I'm not answering that.
WARREN: I thought you might because you revealed your party affiliation on the air last year.
MCAVOY: I did. I identified myself as a Republican because I thought it was fair to give to the viewer given the commentary I was delivering.
WARREN: A commentary that ended with you calling the Tea Party the American Taliban.
WARREN: And in the body of the commentary - was a blistering indictment of Republicans.
MCAVOY: Exactly the opposite. It was a blistering indictment of people who aren't Republicans.
WARREN: Well, who's to say who is and who isn't?
MCAVOY: On that night, I did.
WARREN: I want to remind you you asked me to pursue this area.
MCAVOY: I understand.
WARREN: And I'm wondering, with all respect, do you call yourself a Republican so you can make a claim to credibility when you attack the GOP?
MCAVOY: No, I call myself a Republican because I am one. I believe in market solutions and I believe in common sense realities and the necessity to defend ourselves against a dangerous world and that's about it. The problem is now I have to be homophobic. I have to count the number of times people go to church. I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con. I have to think poor people are getting a sweet ride. And I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education and intellect in the 21st century. But most of all, the biggest new requirement, really the only requirement, is that I have to hate Democrats. And I have to hate Chris Christie for not spitting on the president when he got off Air Force One.
— Scott Whitlock is Senior News Analyst at the Media Research Center. Follow Scott Whitlock on Twitter.