The Newsroom, S1 Ep6 – Bullies

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Your ridiculously impossible mistakes make me LOL!

Now it’s time for my very least favorite part of this episode: Maggie’s storyline. I won’t go into many details, but apparently someone complained to HR on Maggie’s behalf about Will creating a hostile work environment. The reason? Maggie guesses, as she discusses this with Jim, that it was because of Will’s reaction when she a) mixed up Georgia the state with Georgia the country, and then unrelatedly sent a card on Will’s behalf to the wife of a board member who had just died that said “I’m so sorry for your loss. LOL.”  Because, see, this woman in her mid-20s who has lived in the US all her life didn’t know probably the most common internet-speak acronym in the English language.  She thought it meant “lots of love.” Understandably, Will yelled at Maggie for these things. Jim wants to know how Maggie hasn’t been fired (Yeah, I like Maggie, but so do I). She says she’s good at dodging bullets.  Okay.  Mr. Sorkin, please stop writing only your women characters making utterly, impossibly ridiculous mistakes.  I laughed when it was Donna—sometimes, while I was cringing.  I could pretend it was okay because Sam made similar mistakes once in a while.  But it’s even less funny now, and the fact that the love interests on the show find it endearing just comes across as really patronizing at this point.  So, anyway, this story line comes about because Jim and Maggie have to do opposition research on Will to see if they can keep ahead of the tabloid stories.  We’ll get back to that in a moment.

Sloan, on the other hand, gets some really interesting (if still problematic) development in this episode.  This is set on April 11, 2011, after the tsunami in Japan but right before everyone found out how badly it had damaged the Fukushima nuclear reactors.  Sloan, it turns out, is fluent in Japanese and is friends with the spokesman for TEPCO.  Olivia Munn, BTW, was raised for many years in Japan so her fluency is real.  So, Sloan acts as a translator for ACN during their pre-interview with TEPCO about the state of the reactors.  The spokesman says they’re at level five, which is very bad but fixable.  Sloan seems unconvinced, though, and asks all the rest of the staff to leave the conference room.  Off the record, he reluctantly admits that he’s heard rumors that the radiation will rise to level seven.

Because those wacky girls will do anything for pretty clothes, right? Gah.

Meanwhile, Elliot can’t run the 10 o’clock show tonight, so Don wants Sloan to do it.  She doesn’t feel ready or able, but no one else is available.  Don reassures her that others will write what she’s saying, and he’ll be in her ear the whole time—and, in case she needs more incentive, her wardrobe will be Gucci.  Anyway, she goes and asks Will for advice on how to get the TEPCO guy to tell about the level seven radiation leak on the record, on the show tonight.  Will tells her not to let up until the guy tells the truth, and then ends up berating her for the times that she has let someone lie on her economics show.  He doesn’t yell, but he is mean.  Still, Sloan doesn’t look too shaken and does appear to take his advice to heart.

Back in Jack’s office, Will admits that he knows he pushed her too hard and ended up scaring her.  He hates scaring people.  Jack wants to know why he hates it so much, and Will doesn’t seem to know.  He does know that he shook Sloan up, though, because she’s a veteran reporter who wouldn’t normally make the kind of mistake she did.

That’s the transition to Sloan anchoring at 10:00.  She’s talking to the TEPCO spokesperson, this time though a Japanese interpreter on the other end.  But when they won’t give her the answer she wants, Sloan ignores Don’s instructions to wrap up the interview and keeps pressing.  She also objects to the way the interpreter is translating her words, demanding more precision.  Don’s consternation grows as Sloan gets more and more insistent, and then goes around the translator, broadcasting in Japanese.  But when she goes back to English, it isn’t better, because she finally just comes out with what her friend told her in private, off the record—making it a statement of her own.

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