Why I don’t like the episode 5/1 from The Newsroom

Warning: Spoilers for season 1, episode 7 of The Newsroom.

Warning: Also contains potentially annoying political commentary featuring bleeding-heart liberal views.

I am rewatching The Newsroom at the moment, getting ready for season 2. When I watched episode 7 last year, I didn’t like it, and I feel similarly this time around. Normally, throughout West Wing, Studio 60, etc., Aaron Sorkin gives both sides of a dispute or issue. In this episode, however, we only get one side and that’s hurray for killing Osama Bin Laden.

Don’t get me wrong, Osama Bin Laden was an evil, horrible individual. I in no way condone his actions, but he was also a pathetic old man, living in a house in Pakistan. It’s not as if he was Hitler or a Bond villain. If he’d been arrested, brought to trial and imprisoned for life, I would have been supremely happy.

There’s something to be said for putting the worst people on trial. The Nazis, for example, were put on trial at Nuremburg. They were given the opportunity to defend themselves in court, despite how vile they were. It would be difficult to say that Bin Laden was worse than the heads of the Nazi party.

It’s hard for me to celebrate his death when the US has committed so many acts of brutality in their quest to get him. Almost 3,000 innocent people died on 11th September, but how are they worth more than the hundreds of thousands of people who have been killed in vengeance for that act? Not just the people who perpetrated the act, either, but a lot of the time innocent men, women and children.

If the US had responded to 11th September by sending in small teams to assassinate all of the people responsible, I might not have liked it, but I would have understood. Bombing entire countries in retribution is nonsensical to me.

So, what does that have to do with an episode of Newsroom? Well, it dredges up all of those feelings for me. What should be a massive tragedy on 11th September that everyone has sympathy for, is tainted for me by the uncontrolled, rage filled response that followed.

If someone attacks a man on the street for no reason, you’re instantly on the man’s side. If he turned around and beat his attacker to death with a brick, then attacked everyone surrounding him and killed them too… Well, your sympathy just isn’t there any more.


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