Monday, August 26, 2013

The Newsroom: Institutional Failure

Institutional Failure is a fascinating topic. No one person is responsible when something goes wrong, as the reason for multiple eyes on the same topic is so one person sees what another does not. The Red Team, as Don explains it, refers to red blood cells, whose job it is to clean up the mess white blood cells make in fighting infections. The Red Team pokes holes in the story the original team created to make sure there are no messes. The education system is often said to "institutionally fail" at its job, with a single teacher not being to blame for the reading levels of his/her students or a young adult being unable to graduate from college after six years. Institutional failure is not sharing that there are holes. Maggie apparently never told anyone that she was not present when Jerry interviewed Stomtonovich six months before the Genoa Report aired. The fact that he was alone in the room, and therefore there were no witnessed to whether Stomtonovich ever said "it happened" was problematic. Jerry tried to claim that it was said, just not on camera, hence Maggie's earlier interview with Rebecca. Will and Charlie both had a confidentiality issue prohibiting them from learning that their sources were apparently one and the same, but perhaps somehow this could have been discovered anyway. I agree with Don in that holes were seen, but Jerry cutting raw footage was the major problem behind it all.

The Newsroom "Red Team III" (S02E07): After 11 months of working on the Operation Genoa story, Will is brought in on the third Red Team. Later the third, Charlie green-lights it. He isn't surprised, as he has heard the same story but wouldn't identify his source. [so is the lawyer insinuating that Will's source is Shep, the same as Charlie's?] Jim fought the story, believing that it didn't feel right. Sloan and Neal stick with him, but have their own reasons as well: Don continues to worry about the possible mass riots and soldiers' safety, and Sloan thinks it shouldn't run until after the election. Will decides that he trusts Charlie and Mac, so things move forward and the special airs on September 9th. Immediately after, Stomtonovich calls, angry that he was taken "out of context." Charlie and Mac believe he's just upset and don't think anything of it, believing the raw footage to be real.

The next morning, it is troubling that the DoD takes its time responding. It turns out that they brought in the Attorney General and offer to de-classify information to prove that "Genoa" didn't happen. [it's so much more difficult to prove things 'didn't' happen...] That night, Sweeney speaks live on Elliot's show, noting that a "guilty conscience" is why he came forward. However, when he talks about a traumatic brain injury, they cut the interview short. [I agree with Sloan - that must have looked horrendous!] The staff comes together in the middle of the night to look at the whole story. Sweeney lied about why he got a Purple Heart, and a TBI could mean memory issues. Then, Maggie admits that she wasn't in the room with Jerry during the interview with Stomtonovich. Mac starts to worry that she led Valenzuela because he offers NO original facts in his interview. [ouch!] It turns out that the tweeter didn't die, his prepaid cellular package ran out. Charlie goes to talk to Shep, who shares that his son died because of a career move. He worked at ACN but posted things on the internet he didn't like about the show. Neal told him not to, but he did it anyway and wound up fired. Because Charlie didn't do anything to stop the firing, Shep manufactured the helicopter inventory as an "F-U" to Charlie. [this guy is just a military press liaison, I thought? Will claimed that his guy was "better than POTUS," no?] This leaves only Stomtonovich, so Mac looks at the raw footage again. Because Will gave her a lesson in sports clocks, she notices the shot clock jump around in the background. She confronts Jerry, who admits it, and she fires him. He claims that he's now unemployable and that it wasn't 100% his fault, so he's seeking $5M over wrongful termination. It also means that ACN must retract the entire story. This whole situation spooks the team into not fully investigating the Benghazi story, which is gaining in prominence.

The day before the 2012 Elections is the fifth day of ACN employees talking to the lawyers. Don claims that it was all Jerry's fault, as he cooked an interview. Fingers point to Jim, who wasn't there more or less for personal reasons, and he would have stopped it from happening, as he knew better than to trust Cyrus West, who led Jerry to Sweeney. Will, Mac, and Charlie decide to resign, but Leona tells them they cannot, as she loves ACN and it makes her proud. [Rebecca seconding that was awkward, but perhaps not as much as Leona telling Charlie to "Get it Back," referring to the trust of the public.]
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