Monday, July 29, 2013

The Newsroom: Counterpoints and Retrospective (7/28/13)

Watching this episode, I noticed that I wrote down a lot less than usually do. There are a few points to address but not nearly as much as last time. That being said, time to get down to it.

1. The GOP primary candidates are an absolute disgrace for not standing by Captain Stephen Hill when his video was booed by members of the audience during the debate. Had Romney intervened, he would have won the election then and there.

I watched all of the GOP primary debates during the 2012 campaign season and I vividly remember two instances where the audience's reaction made me cringe visibly. That was the first one. I will readily admit that the GOP candidates are cowards because none of them could, politically speaking, defend Captain Hill in the face of such boorish behavior.

But all politicians are like that. They can't afford to go against the people who elect them otherwise they get voted out of office. When then-candidate Obama talked about revising NAFTA to help blue collar workers in front of blue collar crowds while having his aides privately reassure backers that he had no such intentions of doing so, that was also an example of political cowardice. But the Newsroom didn't show that.

Well, it couldn't have, chronologically speaking. But considering that the subject was on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the President's recent actions to repeal it, the show could have questioned the President's own stance on the subject before and after he became President. He was against it while he was scrapping for votes in the blue collar districts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. But he gets to "evolve" on the issue and the Republican candidates don't get the same implicit benefit of the doubt?

That's slanted coverage. It's too partisan to accuse one party of political cowardice and not mention the other. Both parties are equally opportunistic and cowardly, subject to the whims and fancies of their largely uneducated constituency. For McAvoy to be a Republican and excoriate his own party and spare the Democrats represents a very curious type of political allegiance.

2. Let's throw more fancy terminology and credentialism at the audience to advance the plausibility of Operation Genoa.

I get the fact that The Newsroom has to sell Operation Genoa as something plausible, but the story just falls apart when you apply an actual plausibility check against the story. The Marine who met with Mackenzie and Dantana said they were going door to door looking for their captured fellow Marines and the helicopters started spraying white phosphorus and Sarin everywhere? Even if the extraction team is wearing MOPP suits, there's no way they can count on the hostages wearing the same. If you were going to gas an area you were trying to go door to door through to find and extract people, you'd be extracting corpses.

There is no tactical rationale for using Sarin and white phosphorus to suppress the indigenous population, even if they couldn't get an AC-130 to loiter on the other side of the border. From what most journalists have gathered, the likely course of action for an extraction team in trouble is to get themselves into a Black Hawk Down situation (indiscriminately slaughtering civilians and militia alike). Carpeting an area with nerve gas just makes no sense.

3. Boycott Lockheed because they make the Hellfire missiles that Predator drones use.

If you have such disdain for the drone program, wouldn't it make more sense to use your limited airtime to excoriate the Federal government and the Obama Administration rather than to direct your fire at the defense contractors who are just filling an order requested by the government?

To paraphrase an argument from Thank You For Smoking, if some drunk driver kills himself in a car collision, do you go banging on the door of General Motors questioning their role in the incident?

4. The campaign bus is nothing but free media for the candidate. When are we going to be able to ask the hard hitting questions?

All those questions that Jim Harper, fearless journalist, asked were the same questions that political reporters and journalists asked candidates and aides during the campaign season. Perhaps he should get over the fact that beat reporters attached to the campaign bus are complete nonentities.

5. Shout "tequila!" after you take a shot of tequila.

You had me at "tequila!"

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