You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Why Aaron Sorkin Is Right About the Huffington Post

'The Newsroom' scribe gets it right in worrying about the impact of our snark-infested culture

During a panel discussion earlier this week previewing the new TV season, I worried, in regard to journalism, that “the metabolism of the Web is making us stupid.”

Aaron Sorkin is equally concerned — and just as accurate — when he suggests the same culture is making us nastier as well.

Now, I’ve been among the chorus of critical voices regarding Sorkin’s HBO series, “The Newsroom.” But that shouldn’t diminish his insights as a media observer, which have been honed through years of dramatized analysis, from “Sports Night” to “The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” to “The Newsroom.”

Certainly, it’s hard to argue with Huffington Post’s knack for generating traffic, so much so that its cryptic headlines and teases have given birth to a feed designed strictly to decode and spoil them.

But it only reinforces Sorkin’s case, frankly, to see HuffPo staffers respond to his comments, as quoted in Mother Jones, with volleys of snark, as if there’s no room for legitimate criticism or self-reflection regarding the manner in which they operate.

It’s worth noting, too, that Huffington Post and Sorkin should be ideological allies, inasmuch as both tilt toward progressive politics. So his broadside is all about the site’s excesses, and not so easily dismissed as just another partisan skirmish. (Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Sorkin has lamented the steady slide of media standards, having weighed in a few years ago regarding how the media has “de-creepyized voyeurism” in a piece via — wait for it — the Huffington Post.)

Of course, even bothering to raise these questions risks being branded a fuddy-duddy, and railing against the influence of the Web, at this point, does have an obvious “You kids get off my lawn” quality. It’s simply a no-win situation, however good it might feel (especially if you have your own TV show) to vent about it, as Sorkin did by having “The Newsroom’s” protagonist say, “Snark is the idiot’s version of wit, and we’re being polluted by it.”

Still, just because you can’t change things doesn’t mean you have no right to gripe about them. And whatever I might think about “The Newsroom,” Sorkin deserves credit for having the guts to wade into these snark-infested waters.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • AMERICAN HORROR STORY: 1984 -- Pictured:

    'American Horror Story' Recap: Welcome to 'Camp Redwood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the season premiere of “American Horror Story: 1984” entitled “Camp Redwood.” Welcome back to “American Horror Story,” which in its ninth season travels back in time to the 1970s and 1980s to play in the slasher genre. Only one episode into the season, it already [...]

  • Connie Britton BlogHer Summit

    Connie Britton on ‘Friday Night Lights’ Remake: ‘You Need to Let it Go’

    Connie Britton opened up at a fireside chat Wednesday at the #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn by talking about one of her most beloved roles — Tami Taylor in the fan favorite series “Friday Night Lights.” When asked if a remake of the sports cult film and Emmy-winning TV show is in the works she [...]

  • Bob IgerSimon Weisenthal Gala honoring Bob

    Bob Iger Would Have Combined Disney With Apple if Steve Jobs Were Still Alive

    Disney and Apple are both launching their own streaming services come November, but Disney CEO Bob Iger says the two companies weren’t always on competing paths. In an excerpt from his autobiography published Wednesday in “Vanity Fair,” Iger revealed that Disney and Apple likely would have merged if Steve Jobs hadn’t died in 2011. “I [...]

  • The Mentalist

    #NotWorthLess: 'I Was Great and Deserve to Be Paid the Same'

    Women writers, producers and assistants across Twitter turned the hashtag #NotWorthLess into a trend Wednesday, shining a light on issues of pay inequality in the entertainment business. Sparked by screenwriter Adele Lim’s recent decision to walk away from the “Crazy Rich Asians” sequel in protest of being paid less than her male co-writer, dozens of [...]

  • does self-described "family brands" business Hasbro

    With Hasbro Acquisition, Is eOne Planning to Offload Family-Unfriendly Properties?

    Hasbro’s $4 billion acquisition of eOne in August instantly put the Canadian toy giant in the league of major entertainment and content companies thanks to eOne’s arsenal of IP assets in music, television and film. But does the self-described “family brands” business that’s home to The Game of Life and My Little Pony align with [...]

  • Mariah Carey Tracee Ellis Ross

    Mariah Carey, Tracee Ellis Ross Celebrate Biracial Heritage at “Mixed-ish” Premiere

    Mariah Carey and Tracee Ellis Ross embraced their “ish” at Tuesday night’s series premiere event for ABC’s “Mixed-ish” by reflecting on how their biracial identity makes working on the new show even more personal. “I’m just so thankful that this show exists,” Carey told the assembled crowd during a Q&A with series creator Kenya Barris. [...]

  • THE BACHELORETTE - "The Bachelorette: Season

    'The Bachelor': ABC Reality Boss Talks Ratings Success, Diversity Backlash

    Last night, Peter Weber was unveiled, perhaps unsurprisingly, as the next Bachelor during the season finale of “Bachelor in Paradise.” Weber’s selection coincided with a season-high rating for “Paradise,” and caps a solid ratings summer for the “Bachelor” franchise. As ratings have been in decline across the board this summer, “The Bachelorette” and “Bachelor in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content