Consensus regarding last night's premiere of The Newsroom seemed to be that the only thing worse than the episode was the Will McAvoy as Christ figure trailer than preceded it. The second season debut appeared to elicit a collective groan from everyone on Twitter except a certain subset of journalists. Which ones? The ones who just happen to be paid by HBO.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, last fall Aaron Sorkin hired 13 consultants, including magazine editors and cable news anchors to cultivate a more "realistic" strand of "moral eczema" for second season of The Newsroom. Perhaps Sorkin should've thrown them a promotional fee because the paid journalists and political strategists were all over and Twitter and Facebook promoting last night's dour, self-important season premiere.
Looking forward to Aaron Sorkin's next season of "The Newsroom" debuting on HBO in July. I was a consultant for the show.— Natalie Allen (@AllenCNN) June 30, 2013
At least Allen disclosed her role as a paid consultant—something MSNBC's Chris Matthews neglected to do when interviewing Newsroom actor Jeff Daniels on his show last month:
"It's the most organic show I've ever watched, it seems to come out of itself every week, it seems to grow like a human being," Matthews enthused. "That's what makes it so unpredictable and so fascinating to people."
PR for The Newsroom wasn't in the lengthy job description Sorkin sent his 13 consultants last fall.
"I'll be coming to you for everything from simple research questions to: 'What kinds of conversations would there be about how to cover Trayvon Martin? Sandra Fluke? The contradictory stories about the circumstances under which Bin Laden was shot?'" he wrote in a lengthy welcome note to the group last fall.
He added: "I'll ask you to tell me what you think and then to tell me what the really smart person in the room who disagrees with you would say. I might try to get an argument started between two or more of you."
Here's a free bit of advice: no one wants to hear Aaron Sorkin's take on Trayvon Martin. Not now and not in 2014.