When the real-life Republicans are just too scary, the good liberal viewer flees to HBO, where the Republicans are just waiting to be deflated with a smarmy line about school prayer, science or terrorism. Just as the family sitcom reassured viewers about the state of the nuclear family, HBO reassures liberals about the state of their ideology, nurturing them and coddling them, until they are ready to reemerge at the next political rally.
The message that The Newsroom feeds to liberals is that they didn’t have enough self-esteem, they weren’t as self-confident, as abrasive and as biased as they should have been last time around. And that’s a welcome thing, not for anyone who still harbors hope that a sane two-party system will prevail, but those who want to see liberals destroy themselves, their institutions and their ambitions.
If liberals acted in public life the way that they do on The Newsroom, they would be signing their own political death warrant. The Newsroom‘s message to the media is to be more openly biased. And who wouldn’t welcome that? The media’s last shreds of credibility come from its pretense that it is neutral. The day that news anchors routinely take to the air, announce their political affiliation and begin to rant about Republicans is the day that the last pieces of their empire come crumbling down. The day that every news channel is MSNBC is the day that they will all have to divide the MSNBC audience among themselves.
The liberal media is already following that path, and their newspapers, magazines and news shows are turning into ghettos because of it. The Newsroom berates them for not following it quickly enough. And the faster they go down that road, the less influence they will retain. If I wanted to destroy the liberal media, I would encourage them to follow The Newsroom’s model. And while they won’t listen to me… they will listen to Aaron Sorkin.
The real topic of The Newsroom is egotism and it’s the perfect mirror for the destruction of the administrations of two egotistical Democratic chiefs who self-destructed because they had as little impulse control as The Newsroom‘s protagonist. The celebration of self-destructive behavior is self-destructive and it programs the Democrats to seek out the next cycle of egotistical, self-destructive politicians.
A failure to recognize one’s own flaws means an inability to change. Hell is being trapped in one’s own flaws forever. And that is The Newsroom, it is a hell that liberals have made for themselves, a Sisyphean exercise in which they roll the boulder endlessly up the hill, only to be flattened by it, and then resume the same exercise without having learned anything in the process except to push the boulder even faster next time.
The Newsroom reeks of its own smugness. It is entirely self-reflective. Its politics are a matter of identity. And that identity creates its own universe. There are universes like that already in cloistered urban centers, in ideologically-gated communities and in academia. And when their inhabitants mistake the larger world outside as being no different than their universe, the contest between the ideology and the world begins.
To the sociopath, the universe is a solipsistic place. So too the modern liberal sees the world as a place on which to force his own sense of internal identity. He reacts to the “otherness” of those who don’t share his political identity by trying to stamp them out. If he can’t physically destroy them, then he retreats to physical and mental enclaves where he destroys them intellectually over and over again, fighting battles against legions of ghosts and shadows, mocking and ridiculing them out of existence, until he is forced to face them in real life and attempts to treat real people the way that he treated the imaginary obstacles to his ego.
With The Newsroom, the cycle continues as, anticipating defeat, liberals retreat to a safe place in an imaginary version of the past, in which they can line up all their enemies and knock them down like rows of toy soldiers, in which everything seems clear and certain, and their side always wins. Their hibernation is a good sign. It’s a sign that they are afraid they are about to lose.