Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Newsroom: Counterpoints (8/26/12)

Let's get crackin'.

1. Newsroom Argument - Raising the government's capacity to borrow doesn't mean it will borrow more money.

Yes it does. And President Obama agrees, which is why his own ridiculously optimistic budget projects at least 600 billion dollar deficits through 2017. Between 1961 (the inauguration of JFK, and the beginning of Kennedy's mythical Camelot) and 2011, the Federal government has run a deficit 46 times and has run a surplus 5 times.

It shouldn't have to be said, but whenever the Federal government runs a budget deficit, it must borrow money. Considering that the government runs a deficit 9 years out of 10, it's pretty safe to say that raising the debt ceiling is tantamount to borrowing more money.

Perhaps the 42% Sloan was talking about in the show were the people who were intelligent enough to realize how hopelessly spendthrift our government is.

2. Newsroom Argument - Many TEA affiliated politicians and (traditional) Republicans say loads of incendiary and incorrect things, which makes them the American equivalent of the Taliban.

No, they say those things because voters are dumb. In the reality of the 24/7 news cycle and the fact that the average attention span grows shorter and shorter by the day, politicians have to say ridiculous and inflammatory things in order to gain attention. Remember the old saw: the only bad publicity is no publicity.

It's not like the Republicans and TEA members are alone in this. There are plenty of Democrats on the other side of the aisle saying the same things. For example:

The only reason why prominent, powerful politicians say these things is because that's the only way they think they can reach out to voters. That's a pretty terrible indictment on the American people, when you think about it.

3. Newsroom Argument - Voter ID laws are attempts by Republicans to suppress votes cast by blacks and other minorities.

I'm actually split on this. On the one hand, it's extraordinarily likely that this will disproportionately discourage black people from voting. On the other hand, there are probably enough stupid voters out there who believe voter fraud is a huge issue.

In the long run, voter ID as a form of vote suppression is a mere blip on the radar. Tennessee law already provides citizens without valid ID a free photo ID provided that they can prove citizenship and residency in the state at their local driver services (DMV equivalent) center. Those type of requirements are not undue burdens on the electorate, considering it's the same requirements you have to go through to register to vote. And nobody is suggesting that's a method of voter suppression.

Let's wind back the clock 19 years ago to 1993 and the Motor Voter law. Republicans decried this as a Democratic attempt to boost voter registration among black voters. And they were probably right. Ultimately, they were probably right. But again, it didn't matter then.

Both parties are gearing up their voter turnout machinery. If Republicans want to implement ways of suppressing voter turnout through legal means, it might not be honorable. But politics isn't about honor. It's about winning. This is the way the world works. Not with a good intention, but a selfish one.

4. Newsroom Argument - 80 million in profit means nothing because of 14 billion in revenue.

Hey, Sorkin. Profit != revenue. The average S&P 500 company has a net income margin of 8%. For a company that does 14 billion in revenue a year, that means a profit of 1.12 billion dollars per year. 80 million in profit means 7% of their bottom line gone. Suddenly that's not chump change anymore, isn't it?

5. Newsroom Argument - Greater fools make this country great.

Only fools say that.

Well, folks. That just about wraps up season 1 of The Newsroom. Assuming this blog is still going strong by the time the 2nd season premieres, I'll be there crafting the counterpoints to Sorkin's political arguments.

1 comment:

  1. I certainly hope you are still around for season 2 My sister in law and I thoroughly enjoyed the couterpoints, and I have enjoyed reading your blog immensely. Would love a final post about the Newsroom's first season, what you liked about it, what you didn't like about it and what Sorkin needs to do to make season 2 better. I would be very interested in your thoughts.