Friday, July 12, 2013

Food For Thought

As we head toward the first regular weekend on the downhill side of 2013, food and hunger are on our minds, for multiple reasons. Conveniently, we're also looking at a feast of news stories to choose from today.

There's the bitter fruit of the GOP that continues to rot that political party from the inside out. This was exemplified by a mostly party-line vote in the House on Thursday, on the Farm and Food Bill. With that vote House Republicans made it clear they expect all of America to shell out billions of dollars in subsidies to Big Agriculture. At the same time, they also expect Americans who are poor - including children and the elderly - to go hungry indefinitely, as Republicans refused to fund any portion of the traditional food aid package, primarily food stamps.

There is the spicy meat of the immigration bill too, though it also seems that legislative topic may have passed its 'use by' date, also thanks to the obstinate and ignorant extremists in the House GOP. The stale nutcake of the George Zimmerman trial is also on the news buffet, though frankly, as people who have a bit more refined palate for news, we're pretty tired of that tabloid fodder.

Of course, the fiery stew of turmoil in the Middle East continues to boil and make a very explosive mess. The Syrian civil war is rolling on, and sectarian violence continues in Iraq, even as Egypt's latest revolution attempts to move toward its next phase.

For all the choices on the news menu today though, since it's Friday, we're looking forward to the weekend, and to our collective guilty media pleasure - specifically, the HBO show 'The Newsroom,' which begins it's second season this Sunday.

For far too many spoiled, bitter pundits inside the Beltway and in New York, hating on Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom' during the show's first season became the "cool" thing to do. Even many writers and journalists whose parents haven't bankrolled their dabbling in news media threw potshots and low blows at the show, in desperate attempts to appear cool.

For many of those working in the media who haven't had traditional paths to success, who've busted their backsides for years and worked their asses to positions of prominence, the show is a humorous, overwrought paean to what great media - and specifically, the news media - really should be.

For all the snark and bitter "hate-watching" comments many media hacks have already been gleefully tossing around, the stories produced by "The Newsroom" parallel many of the tales told in newsrooms our staff and friends have worked in or known over the last thirty years - stories that primarily only members of the media have seen, heard, or experienced regularly. We certainly don't think those stories should remain just the purview of those in the media.

We'll admit - many of our professional colleagues tend to turn their noses up cynically at fare like 'The Newsroom,' that are basically stories they've already had a taste of before.

That's certainly not something we'll do this weekend, with the comfort food for the spirit that is what "The Newsroom" really is for us and others in the media, who are lucky enough to work ourselves to the bone doing something we love.

TV, in general, may not be the perfect form of entertainment escapism - but 'The Newsroom' gives us a taste of what media, done well, should really be like.