The Newsroom and the fictional character Will McAvoy, played by Jeff Daniels often makes me wish I lived in their world — a world where broadcast journalists tell the truth – fearlessly. If America’s news desks were manned by anchors following in the footsteps of those like Murrow, Cronkite, Brokaw, Rather, Olbermann and others, I get a sense that the world would be a far different place. Truth is the cure for diseased and distorted thinking, also known as right-wing conservatism.
McAvoy (Daniels) begins by playing a clip from the memorable opening statement by former Counter-terrorism Chief Richard Clarke in his testimony before Congress in 2004.
“Good evening, I’m Will McAvoy, this is News Night and that was a clip of Richard Clarke, former counter terrorism chief to President George W. Bush, testifying before Congress on March 24, 2004. Americans like that moment. I like that moment. Adults should hold themselves accountable for failure. And so tonight, I’m beginning this newscast by joining Mr. Clark and apologizing to the American people for our failure – the failure of this program during the time I’ve been in charge of it to successfully inform and educate the American electorate.”
This type of honesty is almost unseen in American journalism, especially from the Corporate Media. Fox News viewers, and disciples of the right-wing radio cult leaders are the most ignorant and uninformed, because they’re motivated by hate, not by truth.
“Let me be clear that I don’t apologize on behalf of all broadcast journalists, nor do all broadcast journalists owe an apology. I speak for myself. I was an accomplice to a slow and repeated and unacknowledged and unamended train wreck of failures that have brought us to now. I’m a leader in an industry that miscalled election results, hyped up terror scares, ginned up controversy and failed to report on tectonic shifts in our country, from the collapse of the financial system to the truths about how strong we are to the dangers we actually face. I’m a leader in an industry that misdirected your attention with the dexterity of Harry Houdini, while sending hundreds of thousands of our bravest young men and women off to war without due diligence.
The reason we failed isn’t a mystery – we took a dive for the ratings.”
“And now those network newscasts, anchored through history by honest-to-God newsmen with names like Murrow and Reasoner and Huntley and Brinkley and Buckley and Cronkite and Rather and Russert…now, they have to compete with the likes of me, a cable anchor who’s in the exact same business as the producers of ‘Jersey Shore.'”
“From this moment on, we’ll be deciding what goes on our air and how it’s presented to you based on the simple truth that nothing is more important to a democracy than a well-informed electorate. We’ll endeavor to put information in a broader context because we know that very little news is born at the moment it comes across our wire.”
“We’ll be the champion of facts and the mortal enemy of innuendo, speculation, hyperbole and nonsense.”
So why can’t all news anchors be like the fictional character Will McAvoy? Leave us a message in the comments.
And that’s the way it is. Good night, and good luck.
Watch the video embedded here: