Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Reality, TV, and Me

I suppose if I had to choose someone to write my story for television, it would be Aaron Sorkin.  Even so, it was weird.

I knew that the shootings were going to be featured on The Newsroom; I'd heard a reference to it in the promos. Chronologically, it fit perfectly into the lull after the new year, when the Gulf Oil Spill had retreated to background noise and newsrooms around the country were searching for the next big thing,  I thought I was prepared.

The story arc became very clear when TBG reminded me that Christina-Taylor's question, framed in my car on the way to meet Congresswoman Giffords, was about pollution and the destruction of the Gulf Coast.  That was the running motif to our domestic worries in early January of 2011.  I'll never forget it.

Big Cuter, watching The Newsroom in San Francisco on a break from studying for the Bar Exam, was more startled than his parents.  He's usually the one with the calendar in his brain, keeping track of what happened when.  In this instance, it was only obvious to him after the fact.

I guess you had to have been there.

For us, sitting on Douglas, clutching our own selves, too personally involved to even glance at one another, the sequence of events was immediately recognizable.  The inaccuracy of the initial facts being reported - not the least of which was Gabby's death - hit TBG hard.  For him, the worst part of the whole event was sitting in the UMC waiting room, watching talking heads declare that his congresswoman had died of her wounds.  If she were gone, what had happened to me.... to the family members of the others crowding the waiting room, knowing nothing but what was broadcast on the screens attached to the ceilings. 

"That news cast such a pall over the room," he remembered.  The need for speed crashed against any considerations of accuracy.  Getting it first was more important than getting it right.  Jeff Daniels' protege says it best: This is a person we are talking about.  Or, as TBG continued to opine, "real people were affected by their inaccuracies... seriously...."

It's our story.... it's a part of history.... and I am still amazed that I am at the center of it all.  I'm sure that The Newsroom will move on to the Arab Spring and the snowstorms in the USofA because that's where the reporters went after lurking in Tucson for a few weeks.... waiting for the next big thing.

I don't feel like a very big thing.....


  1. I still haven't had time to watch The Newsroom. I love Aaron Sorkin's shows. He's absolutely brilliant. I think I can watch it on HBO to Go on my iPad when I'm at the gym.

    It must have been surreal to watch an episode that so closely resembled reality. Even to this day, thinking about that day gives me great anxiety. And Daniels' character is correct. These are real people and there are real consequences to not getting reporting right. Look at the health care ruling and how CNN and Fox got it very wrong. It really irks me they care more about getting the news out there fast and don't care about the accuracy. Maybe that's why I don't really watch the news anymore and only get my news online.

    Have a great day.

    Megan xxx

  2. The Newsroom is definitely a worthwhile show to check out! I make sure to keep up with it just to be a part of all the conversation it has stirred up! From the highest reaches of our Media institutions, like NPR and The New Yorker, to just a few Dish coworkers of mine chatting around the lunch table, I feel like the show is everywhere! I bet you can totally find it on HBO GO. I always bring my iPad to the gym too, since I hate being subjected to whatever they have on the TVs there. I use my Dish Remote Access app that connects me with my home TV through the sling adapter so, if you have Dish, that’s another good option for gym entertainment! Otherwise, I would certainly recommend tracking down episodes of The Newsroom if you like a show that really gets you thinking!

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