Thanks, Sis: The Newsroom Thread


If this ends up costing CHARLIE, of all people, his job, I will burn this whole fucking Internet to the ground.

I’ll do it.

Quick takes: Yes, you should have broken up with Nina, Will, because she was way too invested in your career and it was creepy, like get your own life lady, but you could have done it in such a way that made it clear that listening to her was your problem, and not hers. We are all to blame for taking shitty advice once we’ve, you know, taken it.

I am starting to feel about this the way I felt about 2-3 season West Wing, where this horrible thing was coming for the people I loved, and I wanted to crawl into the TV and HELP THEM. I am worried about Mackenzie right now, legitimately. I should e-mail her. Tell her to meet me for martinis.

Poor Taylor getting shitcanned for making sense. I know the “set in the very recent past” thing makes some people insane, but the reason I like it is that it lets you tell the “what if Normandy had failed” kind of story. What if things had gone the other way, Romney had listened and acted like a grownup? Plus I love the actress and NewsNight should hire her as a Republican consultant of some kind because her Bitch Factor 12 is exactly what poor hapless sadsack Jim needs.

And a bartender is kind of exactly what Maggie needs. Sometimes you don’t WANT somebody who’s going to be all up in your head all the time. God.

I could write volumes about Charlie hanging out in the control room watching Will every night. I’ve said this before, but nurturing someone’s talent and convincing them to put that talent to its best and highest and hardest use is something you never quite get over doing to someone.

Mack and Don being friends is nice. Don needs friends, and thank you, show, for giving us male insecurity and body image stuff, because women life each other about this shit daily and then feel bad that men don’t, when men do, only they don’t assign stories about how they suck because of it.

Story assignments. So there’s this trend lately where you shut down your newsroom and everybody works out of the car or the Starbucks or something, and you have a conference call instead of a meeting, because there’s the Internet and not all the computers need to be connected and everybody has a computer anyway. And it saves the company on real estate, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

What is a bad thing is losing the room.

I was covering a trial once, years ago. Brutal testimony, day after day. The courthouse was closer to my home than to the office, and so I would come home and write the stories and e-mail them in, and then I would sit. In my house. Alone. With the testimony ringing in my head. Around about day three I started driving the extra hour back to the office just so I could process everything with everybody around me instead of alone. So I could bounce ideas off other people. So they could talk me off a ledge when I got too intense about something. So they could suggest angles I hadn’t thought of. So that I could do the same back.

The room is everything, to a storyteller. I know some writers work alone and shun feedback and I respect that but I don’t GET IT. The room helps you sand off the rough edges. The room calls bullshit on things. The room sees something you missed and the room says I could have done it better, which makes you try harder and reach farther and make it perfect because you don’t want to let the room down.

Jerry sat alone in that edit bay and he did something so shit-stupid I threw an empty soda can at the television because HELLO THE GAME IN THE BACKGROUND. And he probably did it for a lot of reasons, and he’d probably been alone with his thoughts and his anger and his helplessness and his fear for a while. Pictures of dead little kids. Reports of civilians blown to pieces. All those months of searching. You start to think to yourself, if I could stop a war, what wouldn’t I say? If I could stop it happening again, what wouldn’t I do? And the weight of a lie like the edit he made is nothing compared to the weight of that.

When your job is to take all the horror in the world in through your pores every single day, you lose it like he did — shouting down CHARLIE of all people in a meeting, Charlie who carries more of this than any of the rest of them, Charlie who was in a bar in Da Nang — on a weekly basis. But the room pulls you back, bungees you to a chair, takes away your coffee and makes you chill. The room saves you from yourself, and Jerry was alone in the dark.


2 thoughts on “Thanks, Sis: The Newsroom Thread

  1. Just watched. Came here. Great comments.
    I read most of the book that Dan Rather’s producer wrote about the whole TANG thing with Bush. What I wanted was a trial where under oath you could see how this shit happened. But I didn’t really need to know that the people at CBS got shit from the White House and the higher ups were happy to walk it back. What I wanted to was to know how did Karen Hughes and her people do it? What their a plan to create this sort of real yet fake document so that if they ran it they would send in the Font Clowns to destroy it’s credibility? Or was it, “We are well and truly fucked, and then Karl Rove or Hughes noticed that the fighting Keyboarder found a flaw. It would involve embracing the crazies but it also gave them an out.
    Personally, I’m of the mind that someone (Hughes was the one who scrubbed his record before) knew of worse shit, but Rove decided that if they leak Flawed real shit it will through the focus away from the real incident that lead Bush to not fly again. (Coke, crashed plane? drunk flying?)
    I’m saying all this because we know that they got the story wrong, but who’s to say that it isn’t just a way to cover up an ACTUAL story? That would be just the kind of thing they did with TANG. Oh we dropped Sarin gas, but not there, but not the whole “sarin gas” thing will be tainted by this false planted story.

  2. Bush 43 famously dared some Texas Monthly reporter to find the plane he’d crashed, back before he made his big run @ the governor’s mansion.
    I don’t know if the tail numbers on all the drones ever got checked against his squadron’s aircraft or not.

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