In a live interview at the Tribeca Film Festival yesterday, Aaron Sorkin surprised everyone by issuing an apology for the first two seasons of The Newsroom. This incredibly refreshing moment of candor was touched off by a question from interviewer Jon Favreau (President Obama’s former speechwriter, not the guy from Swingers) regarding what Sorkin had learned about the media during his time writing the show:
“I’m going to let you all stand in for everyone in the world, if you don’t mind. I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with The Newsroom and I apologize and I’d like to start over. I think that there’s been a terrible misunderstanding.
I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done. That was and remains the furthest thing from my mind. I set the show in the recent past because I didn’t want to make up fake news. It was going to be weird if the world that these people were living in did not in any way resemble the world that you were living in.
Also, I wanted the option of having a terrific dynamic that you can get when the audience knows more than the characters do. So, I wasn’t trying to and I’m not capable of teaching a professional journalist a lesson. That wasn’t my intent and it’s never my intent to teach you a lesson or try to persuade you or anything.”
The interview went on to explore a number of other interesting topics, including Sorkin conceding that the writing for the show is sometimes subpar and that he is “just now starting to learn how to write it.”
While some critics have panned The Newsroom for being overly sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing, it has nevertheless earned several award nominations, including an Emmy win for Jeff Daniels for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series last year. The third and final season will premiere on HBO this fall.