Early reviews slammed Aaron Sorkin's new HBO show The Newsroom; Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker, for example, feels it "gets bad so quickly that I found my jaw dropping." But a bona fide TV news legend begs to differ. "The show gets close to the bone of what really happens behind the scenes in newsrooms and the boardrooms that govern them," writes Dan Rather at Gawker. He applauds the show's effort to expose mass audiences to news teams' central dilemma: Whether to focus on the public interest or pander for ratings.
The show's protagonists decide to take the former approach, despite the odds against them. And that could prove a model for CNN, writes David Carr in the New York Times. The network has been "clobbered" by Fox News and MSNBC, and let's face it, entertainment sells better than solid information. Yet "there is also a sizable audience that tunes in for updates on actual news," Carr notes. CNN should "stick to coming up with a well-cooked, nutritious news diet" to "feed a loyal, reliable audience"; after all, it's still making $600 million every year. Then, when "the world threatens to blow apart," ratings will soar. Click for Rather's full piece.