Skip to comments.'West Wing'? Call it 'Left Wing'
Posted on 09/30/2002 1:51:26 AM PDT by kattracks
'The West Wing" is back for its fourth season on NBC, trailing a lot of Emmys, high expectations and, of course, controversy.
It really is a terrific show, with unusually strong dialogue, humor and dramatic impact. But the problem is that your enjoyment of it is likely to be enhanced if you happen to view politics through the eyes of Barbra Streisand.
On last week's opening show, when two White House aides were introduced to a few schoolgirls in Indiana, one girl said, "How many unborn babies did you guys kill today?" This is the show's established level of subtlety in dealing with abortion.
Scripts explain many abstract political issues with care and fairness, from census sampling to demands that the penny be abolished. But the fairness routinely disappears on hot-button cultural and partisan issues. A conservative Christian minister visiting the White House doesn't know the Ten Commandments. He is accompanied by a family values woman who delivers sly, anti-Semitic remarks.
Aaron Sorkin, the creator and chief writer of the show, says he orders up four pro and four con arguments for every issue in the scripts. If so, on every liberal issue the four cons are apparently thrown away unused.
Sorkin has been frank about using the show for political effect. "Weak-willed Democrats have been the enemy as much as the Republicans have been the enemy on this show," he said. Under pressure to demonstrate some fairness, he hired two former aides to Republican Presidents, Peggy Noonan and Marlin Fitzwater, as consultants.
Noonan says she wrote a script segment on affirmative action featuring C.J. Cregg, President Josiah Bartlet's press secretary, explaining that her father's life was shattered when he was shunted aside in favor of less qualified nonwhite job seekers. In Sorkin's rewrite, Cregg's father wasn't shattered or a victim of government. He was doing just fine, "In part because that's how Aaron thinks about affirmative action, and it's his show," Noonan wrote in The Wall Street Journal. Noonan said she likes Sorkin and likes the show, though she considers it "a left-wing nocturnal emission."
Sorkin seems committed to rewriting the Clinton years, and Clinton's character as well. Bartlet is censured by Congress for lying, but the lie is much more forgivable than most of those Clinton is famous for - Bartlet merely concealed that he suffers from multiple sclerosis.
In large ways and small, Sorkin is supplanting the real Clinton presidency with a fantasy version of what might have been. The refurbished Clinton doesn't cut corners, sell pardons or take polls to figure out what to do. He has no trouble keeping his pants on during office hours. Here, somewhat late, is a President Clinton we can trust.
One supporter calls Sorkin "the loyal opposition" in politics today. If this means that he is a more effective promoter of liberal Democratic talking points than anyone in or around Washington, the statement is surely right. Al Gore and Tom Daschle can't do what President Bartlet can.
"The West Wing" is a one-sided view of Washington as seen from a one-party town - Hollywood. The show is very good. And it's smoothly unfair, week after week.
True, and that is one arena they can have.
Hired as a "consultant" for "balance" she writes a script with a conservative theme, only to have it rewritten and turned into a left-wing theme.
What did she expect from the shifty arch-liberals who produce the show?
Even now, she states she "likes Sorkin and the show".
I don't read here that she and Fitz are not still "consultants". I consider them both as useful idiots and enablers who will hire themselves out to anyone for quick money after they left the service of the former Republican president(s) they were employed by.
Have you no honor, Noonan and Fitz?
I think I've heard of this scumbag. Isn't he a junkie or a cokehead or something?
I've never bothered with the show because I have a lot of channels on my Dish system, and I doubt that I'll ever see it. The one good thing is that shows like this don't fare well in syndication.
Why do fiction when the truth would be much more riveting? Whether you based the show on the Clinton years, or the Reagan/Bush years, I would be unable to turn off the television. If the Hollywood crowd would embrace that one truth, that their job is to ensure the greatest audience, rather than push their own social agenda, we would be watching better shows and they would have higher ratings and subsequent profits.