Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's not. But it can be - Opening rant from The Newsroom

I know I'm late to this. The Newsroom debuted while I was on vacation but I finally caught up with it last night.

Aaron Sorkin is the brains behind this show and the principle writer. He's a hero to political nerds like me because of West Wing which he also wrote (along with A Few Good Men, the American President -- you can see the pattern). His writing is great because he's incredibly smart.

The opening rant in HBO's The Newsroom is Sorkin at his best. This is powerful because the rant is accurate. The United States is no longer the best country in the world. We have fallen into a state of disrepair and no one can say so. Jeff Daniels accurate and frank rant can only be said in a work of fiction. Why? Because those who profit from the rotting of the U.S will shout down anyone who publicly calls them out with chants of "USA USA USA" and accusations of treason. How long would Brian Williams last if he had made such an outburst? Even without the gratuitous attacks on Barbi and her generation?

The only thing Sorkin got wrong (aside from the verbal assault on Barbi and her generation) was the United States ranking on infant mortality. The Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook ranks the US as 46th in infant mortality (Cuba has a lower infant mortality rate than the US). There are 177 countries with higher rates of infant mortality (which is where the confusion lies). USA USA USA.

"We sure used to be...The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore."

It's true.  So what are we going to do about it?

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