Monday, November 24, 2014

The Newsroom #303 11/23/14 "Main Justice"

by Catherine Giordano
Grace Gummer plays Hallie


Boisterous Buffoonery

A “bacchanal of boisterous buffoonery”—that pretty much describes every episode of HBO’s The Newsroom, although this was the first time a character on the show flung out that over-blown phrase.   

If the previous episode was all about ethics and honesty, this episode was all about ethical lapses and dishonesty.

The FBI has raided the newsroom to confiscate hard drives and who knows what else.  They are thwarted and the effort is aborted when Charlie has the crew turn the cameras on the newsroom and threatens to broadcast the raid live. It was a bluff, but the FBI backed down.  

All the bed-hopping that happens among the newsroom’s staff is about to have consequences. There is a new director of HR and he is coming down hard on producers having sexual relationships with the people they supervise. He’s suspicious of don and Sloan and they are lying through their teeth about their personal relationship.  

The Lansings are trying to save ACN from a hostile takeover by finding a friendly buyer.  They have a possible buyer, but the cure may be most than the disease. He wants to turn ACN into some hydra-headed network of mini networks catering to 100 different niches. At last the buyer is honest. The Lansings are trying to sell the station before the news of the FBI raid gets out. That kind of news would definitely hurt the sales price. 

Hallie has a new job. She’ll be working for an online news group with a pay-per-view policy. Are these payments bonuses or commissions? Will Hallie sell out her journalistic ethics in order to pander sensationalism?  It looks like she will? 

Neal’s source got in touch with MacKenzee. The source is a beautiful young Pakistani woman and she gives Mac an ultimatum—release the news about the CIA disinformation that caused 39 deaths or she will dump all of the 17,000 documents that she has onto the media.  Mac wants to handle the news responsibly, but will she cave? 

The FBI has found Neal.  He is in Venezuela—a country without an extradiction policy with the U.S. so much for standing up for principles.  McAvoy has heroically tried to protect Neal.  He got Neal to tell him the name of the source so the FBI would focus on him instead of on Neal. The plan worked out great--to a point.  McAvoy thought that the FBI would not dare to arrest at TV news anchor star.  But at the end of the episode, he is served with a subpoena. McAvoy's boisterousness is definitely subdued as he wonders if he is as big a star as he thought he was.

There was one segment of the show that didn't seem to fit.  The government climate scientist that Peggy met the airplane. McAvoy interviews him on air apparently without a pre-interview. The government guy announces the end of the world due to climate change. No buffoonery; only bleakness. His message: We are doomed and it is too late to save us. Newsroom often weaves true facts into its stories. Is this one of those times?  Id the future of the planet as bleak as this guy presents it? The show gives us no clue. McAvoy just shrugs. Maybe there will be a follow-up in the three remaining episodes.

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