Aaron Sorkin is sorry that you didn't like "The Newsroom"

There's no apology quite as unapologetic as a Sorkin apology

Published April 22, 2014 5:05PM (EDT)

Aaron Sorkin         (AP/Chris Pizzello)
Aaron Sorkin (AP/Chris Pizzello)

Well, this is rare: Aaron Sorkin has apologized.

Sort of. Per Capital New York, the show runner for "The Newsroom" told an audience at the Tribeca Film Festival: "I think you and I got off on the wrong foot with ‘The Newsroom,’ and I apologize and I would like to start over."

Sorkin is very much aware that critics and journalists have piled on the show both for its dopey, airheaded female characters and for its use of real news stories, reported out the "right" way by Sorkin's characters, as a way to criticize real journalists who don't have the benefit of working in retrospect. So his apology became an elaborate justification for his decision to use real events in his fictional narrative: "I set the show in the recent past because I didn't want to make up fake news,” he said. “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 are living in." OK! But the way the journalists dealing with real events on "The Newsroom" always seemed to know exactly how to report out breaking news or deal with campaigns was arguably weirder than a fictionalized news story.

Indeed, Sorkin's apology was, by its end, less an apology for his show than a lament for his own role as a cultural punching bag, one whose creative decisions had been misinterpreted ("I did not set the show in the recent past in order to show the pros how it should have been done," he said, though that was widely perceived as the practical effect) and who is, indeed, under attack. "I am frightened that market forces are winning," Sorkin said. Market forces, in Sorkin's worldview, privilege what is stupid over what is smart; if anything he does is not a commercial or critical success, it's because people are too wrapped up in blogs (that faceless nation of Internet Girls Sorkin publicly deplores) to acknowledge that what he's doing is good, that it ought to be given the benefit of the doubt, that his justifications are empirically correct.

Never mind that his show got three seasons on HBO and his next step is a heavily hyped biographical film about Steve Jobs. The market forces, it seems, are pretty much on Sorkin's side.

By Daniel D'Addario

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