If you aren’t watching The Newsroom then you should be. It’s a new Aaron Sorkin show on HBO that combines a great cast with a unique method of weaving real-life events, politicians, and public figures into the world of ACN (Atlantis Cable News), a fictional news network that competes with the real-life Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is the anchor of a fictional 8pm news program on ACN called News Night.
McAvoy is a Republican, but the Tea Party refers to him as a RINO (Republican In Name Only). McAvoy flips this around and says the real RINOs are members of the Tea Party. The Tea Party claims the country was founded as a Christian nation even though this goes against everything this country fought to obtain. They believe Democrats and liberals are out to destroy America and that compromise is a sign of weakness.
Early in the season one finale, McAvoy tells his audience the story of Dorothy Cooper, a 96-year-old black woman who has voted for 75 years but will be denied that right due to Tennessee’s voter ID law. She doesn’t have a driver’s license and she doesn’t have a passport. As McAvoy explains it, the reason Republicans say they passed voter ID laws is to combat voter fraud, but that would be a solution without a problem. McAvoy says it’s actually a solution to a different problem, the problem Republicans have getting certain people to vote for them. He says, “life would be a lot easier if certain people just weren’t allowed to vote at all.” People like Dorothy Cooper. Later in the episode Cooper’s niece sums it up with a simple question: “Why did my aunt become less American because she doesn’t have a card?”
This and other events in the episode leads McAvoy to call out the Tea Party as the RINOs they are. Here is McAvoy’s list of Tea Party traits and beliefs that make them the Republicans In Name Only:
- Ideological purity
- Compromise as weakness
- A fundamentalist belief in scriptural literalism
- Denying science
- Unmoved by facts
- Undeterred by new information
- A hostile fear of progress
- A demonization of education
- A need to control women’s bodies
- Severe xenophobia
- Tribal mentality
- Intolerance of dissent
- Pathological hatred of US government
They can call themselves the Tea Party. They can call themselves conservatives. And they can even call themselves Republicans, though Republicans certainly shouldn’t. But we should call them what they are: The American Taliban. And the American Taliban cannot survive if Dorothy Cooper is allowed to vote. – Will McAvoy, The Newsroom
There are of course plenty of Aaron Sorkin haters out there and that’s fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I know he has the reputation of using fictional dialog to set people straight in the real world, and this is entirely true. But the Republican Party and the Tea Party have given Mr. Sorkin plenty of material to play with, and the result is a highly entertaining show.