The Newsroom s01e03 Episode Script

The 112th Congress

Will never cheated on me.
- Who told you that? - Everybody.
I'm sending him an e-mail.
( Phones beeping, vibrating ) What just happened? - I got a staff e-mail from you.
- Man: Me too.
I want everyone to delete the e-mail without reading it.
Why is this happening?! I didn't know that I was in love with you until-- You cheated on me with your ex-boyfriend.
Go to the conservative websites.
They like that you don't take cheap shots at Sarah Palin.
I can't jam in a Palin SOT just to give myself the opportunity to not take a shot at her.
Mackenzie would cook me and eat me.
How did Palin get into the rundown? - I don't need your permission-- - Yes, you do.
You didn't ask for it 'cause you knew you wouldn't get it.
I want to know.
Are you in or are you out? - Let's break-up.
- What did I do now.
- You were too supportive.
- We break-up, I apologize, - everything's fine.
- Sounds like a super healthy relationship.
- I would fight for it.
- I will fight for it.
- You still gonna worry about the ratings? - I'm in.
- What? - I'm in.
( Theme music playing ) Herb: 20 seconds to VTR.
Stand by, 13-27.
Jake: Joey, ready on graphics.
Let's check the stack on file 102.
Herb: 15 seconds to VTR.
Stand by, roll-in, stand by, SOT 1.
- Standing.
- 10 seconds.
Ready, roll-in, ready, SOT 1.
- Ready.
- In four, three, two, one.
( Music playing ) I welcome these hearings because of the opportunity that they provide to the American people to better understand why the tragedy of 9/11 happened and what we must do to prevent a reoccurrence.
I also welcome the hearings because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones of the victims of 9/11.
To them who are here in the room, to those who are watching on television, your government failed you.
Those entrusted with protecting you failed you.
And I failed you.
Good evening.
I'm Will McAvoy.
This is News Night, and that was a clip of Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism chief to President George W.
Bush, testifying before Congress on March 24, 2004.
Americans liked that moment.
I liked that moment.
Adults should hold themselves accountable for failure.
And so tonight I'm beginning this newscast by joining Mr.
Clarke in apologizing to the American people for our failure.
The failure of this program during the time I've been in charge of it to successfully inform and educate the American electorate.
Let me be clear that I don't apologize on behalf of all broadcast journalists, nor do all broadcast journalists owe an apology.
I speak for myself.
I was an accomplice to a slow and repeated and unacknowledged and unamended train wreck of failures that have brought us to now.
I'm a leader in an industry that miscalled election results, hyped up terror scares, ginned up controversy, and failed to report on tectonic shifts in our country.
From the collapse of the financial system to the truths about how strong we are to the dangers we actually face.
I'm a leader in an industry that misdirected your attention with the dexterity of Harry Houdini while sending hundreds of thousands of our bravest young men and women off to war without due diligence.
The reason we failed isn't a mystery.
We took a dive for the ratings.
In the infancy of mass communications, the Columbus and Magellan of broadcast journalism, William Paley and David Sarnoff, went down to Washington to cut a deal with Congress.
Congress would allow the fledgling networks free use of taxpayer-owned airwaves in exchange for one public service.
That public service would be one hour of air time set aside every night for informational broadcasting, or what we now call the evening news.
Congress, unable to anticipate the enormous capacity television would have to deliver consumers to advertisers, failed to include in its deal the one requirement that would have changed our national discourse immeasurably for the better.
Congress forgot to add that under no circumstances could there be paid advertising during informational broadcasting.
They forgot to say that taxpayers will give you the airwaves for free and for 23 hours a day you should make a profit, but for one hour a night you work for us.
And now those network newscasts, anchored through history by honest-to-God newsmen with names like Murrow and Reasoner and Huntley and Brinkley and Buckley and Cronkite and Rather and Russert-- Now they have to compete with the likes of me.
A cable anchor who's in the exact same business as the producers of Jersey Shore.
And that business was good to us, but News Night is quitting that business right now.
It might come as a surprise to you that some of history's greatest American journalists are working right now, exceptional minds with years of experience and an unshakeable devotion to reporting the news.
But these voices are a small minority now and they don't stand a chance against the circus when the circus comes to town.
They're overmatched.
I'm quitting the circus and switching teams.
I'm going with the guys who are getting creamed.
I'm moved that they still think they can win and I hope they can teach me a thing or two.
From this moment on, we'll be deciding what goes on our air and how it's presented to you based on the simple truth that nothing is more important to a democracy than a well-informed electorate.
We'll endeavor to put information in a broader context because we know that very little news is born at the moment it comes across our wire.
We'll be the champion of facts and the mortal enemy of innuendo, speculation, hyperbole, and nonsense.
We're not waiters in a restaurant serving you the stories you asked for just the way you like them prepared.
Nor are we computers dispensing only the facts because news is only useful in the context of humanity.
I'll make no effort to subdue my personal opinions.
I will make every effort to expose you to informed opinions that are different from my own.
You may ask who are we to make these decisions.
We are Mackenzie McHale and myself.
Miss McHale is our executive producer.
She marshals the resources of over 100 reporters, producers, analysts, technicians, and her credentials are readily available.
I'm News Night's managing editor and make the final decision on everything seen and heard on this program.
Who are we to make these decisions? We're the media elite.
We'll be back after this with the news.
It would be accurate to say it started with his on-air apology.
Pardon, it would be accurate to say what started? Was he aware that he went on television and said everything his network had done up until that point was trash? I think he was fully aware of what he said and that he was on television when he said it.
He also took responsibility for himself and not the network or the company.
What are we talking about? Mmm, hey.
You're working late.
Well, it was either this or go home.
- So - Listen, I was at a bar.
I saw the show tonight at a bar.
And I may have been overserved.
I'm fine, I'm just-- If I say anything You want to sit down? Ahem.
How much did you have to do with writing that opening tonight? Uh It was something Will wanted to do.
- He passed it around.
- I'd have loved to have been part of that.
( Chuckles ) I could have done the show you guys want to do.
I'm equipped for that.
God, Don, that's-- You can.
You can.
You guys can follow up.
You can expand, you can rebut.
I've got a mandate.
Bring viewers to 10:00.
I don't, and they'll try someone else until someone does.
I have to cover Natalee Holloway.
And you guys just set me up to look like an asshole before I even got a chance to get started.
- That wasn't-- - Oh, no, shut up.
That wasn't our intent.
And you can insist-- You can insist on-- That's what you were reading on your BlackBerry, right? Yeah.
I mean, it said "eyes only," baby.
I've got eyes.
The apology was a Monday.
The following Saturday was the Times Square bomb.
By Tuesday we had all the facts.
This is the kind of story that makes people want to turn on the news, so you want to take advantage of it.
- That's News 101, right? - What is this meeting? - Is it News 101? - To artificially hype the threat of a bomb? You're confusing it with Douchebaggery 101.
- And the Muslim? - That was a borderline call, but they're qualified to make borderline calls.
- What is this meeting about? - Keep going.
By comparison, CBS had Katie open her show from Times Square while News Night gave it three minutes and 20 seconds.
Basically said there was nothing to worry about and, as you said, mentioned that one of the people who notified the police was a Muslim.
Reese: That's called squandering an opportunity.
Mackenzie: These are the important facts.
First, it was a lone wolf.
Shahzad was trained in Pakistan, but he wasn't connected to a terror network.
Second, the situation was handled by first responders in law enforcement, not an army.
And finally, the system worked.
He was taken off the plane by a final check of the flight manifest by a US Customs officer.
What about the fact he was allowed on the plane in the first place put him on a no-fly list? The airline hadn't updated its files yet, which is why Customs and Border Protection does a second check.
- That's the system working.
- Three minutes at the top.
- Will? - Agree.
You understand we're making a conscious choice now to do the boring version of the story? - That's not how I'd put it, but-- - Great.
- Mac, there's one more thing.
- Yeah? Everyone's reporting that it was a t-shirt vendor named Lance Orton who spotted the smoking car and called 9-1-1.
- It was.
- I know, but it turns out Lance Orton was alerted to the smoking car by a photograph vendor named Aliou Niasse, - an immigrant from Senegal.
- Why haven't we heard about this guy? Two possible reasons.
One is that he didn't make the call.
He said "I thought I should call 9-1-1, but my English is not very good and I had no credit left on my phone.
So I walked over to Lance who has a t-shirt stall next to mine and told him.
" What's the second possible reason we haven't heard about him? - He's a Muslim.
- How'd you get this? A Pakistani blog.
( All groan ) It's not the world's most reliable source.
I know, so I confirmed it with the NYPD, and it's true.
And the Times of London has it online.
And I think if the religion of the bomber is important, then so's the religion of the guy who saved everyone's life.
- So do I.
- Mackenzie: All right.
3:20 at the top.
How many viewers did he lose that night? Well, we all know he made enemies that night out of Fox and right-wing radio.
- A lot of negative press.
- How many viewers did he lose? - People want the most up-to-date information.
- They were getting it.
Didn't feel like it when everyone else was saying it's a genuine threat-- It didn't feel like it? - How many? - 7%.
He gave back the gains he made after Northwestern.
And that's the kind of thing that would ordinarily scare Will straight.
But it didn't.
Media Matters think progress.
Howard Kurtz and the Columbia Journalism Review all praised our coverage of the Times Square bomb.
Do any of them advertise on our network? I don't believe they advertise anywhere.
And by any chance was it around this time that Will had some kind of epiphany about the Tea Party? The Tea Party isn't what it started out to be.
Have you slept? I got up at 2:00 AM and broke down polling data from the Republican Senate primary race in Utah.
I never heard anyone say that before.
Someone faxed me the polling data.
I don't even know who.
But that doesn't matter.
Bob Bennett, the most conservative member of the Senate, is going to lose his primary race to a guy named Mike Lee 'cause Lee found room to the right of Bennett.
You wouldn't think that was possible.
Back in 1968 when Rennie Davis and Hayden and their guys organized the SDS, it was specifically to end the Vietnam War.
But that movement got eaten by Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin and the Yippies.
Hoffman and Rubin were a lot more charismatic.
Yeah, but it was impossible to define what the Yippies were protesting.
They were about giving the finger to anyone over 30, generically hating the American establishment, - dropping out, and getting high.
- And? That's how the progressive movement would be painted for the next 40 years.
People passing out daisies to soldiers and trying to levitate the Pentagon.
- I was there.
That damn near worked.
- No, it didn't.
The Pentagon's a really big building.
You can't levitate it.
How is there room to the right of Bob Bennett? For starters, a centerpiece of Mike Lee's stump speech is repealing the 14th Amendment.
It's an applause line, and he's going to win his primary by double digits.
Charlie, I understood the Tea Party in the beginning, just like I understood the SDS.
The Tea Party was a middle-class movement responding spontaneously to bad trends.
Wages were stagnant, jobs were disappearing, Wall Street got trillions, and everybody was laughing at them.
- But? - They've been co-opted by the radical right, which in turn has enslaved the Republican middle.
So you think the '60s radicals and the Tea Party are roughly the same? With one big exception.
Even at the height of 1968, the Democrats wouldn't have nominated Abbie Hoffman or Jerry Rubin for any office and no candidate would have sought their endorsement.
Can you imagine Humphrey or Kennedy standing for a photo op with Bernardine Dohrn or Allen Ginsberg? - Get there.
- Oh! - I didn't even know you were here.
- Get there.
( Sighs ) The Tea Party is being radicalized and their original organizing principles obliterated.
And no one should be laughing anymore.
They should be scared shitless.
My party's being hijacked and it's happening in real time.
How is this not our top story every night? - Thank you.
- Seriously, how did you get there? You're not gonna be very popular with Republicans.
Hoffman and Rubin weren't Democrats.
And these guys aren't Republicans.
It needs to be a Republican saying it.
Top story every night till the plant from Little Shop of Horrors goes back to its planet.
I think you've got the boy coming around.
You're the one who faxed him the Utah polling data, right? Lord Almighty I feel my temperature rising In four, three, two-- rolling.
Your candidate Mike Lee is a fierce supporter of the Constitution.
That's why he's our candidate.
Should he win in the general election, which seems likely since Utah hasn't sent a Democrat to the Senate in 40 years, he'll have to swear an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.
And I'm looking forward to being there when he does.
He's also signed a note to Grover Norquist not to raise taxes.
- That's right.
- Which oath is he bound by? He'll be bound by both.
- Is that possible? - Of course it is.
And that's how we're going to rein in government spending.
Do you think part of a senator's job should include listening to experts, considering new information, hearing dissenting opinions, - and then casting his best vote? - I sure do.
If 10 Nobel Prize-winning economists were to walk into his office and say, "This is a national emergency and we need to increase revenue by asking for a small sacrifice from the wealthiest 1% of us," Mike Lee wouldn't even discuss it? Based on his zero years of experience in economics and tax policy, he's taken an oath not to learn anything new while a member of the US Senate? When you blur the distinction between public and private, there are problems.
Same thing when you blur the distinction between answers and nonsense.
Does a private restaurant in Kentucky have the right to deny service to black people? What it gets into is this-- If you decide that restaurants are publically owed-- Restaurants are privately owned, and it was a yes or no question that should be easy to answer.
Does Rand Paul believe that a private business should be allowed to discriminate on the basis of race? Sharron Angle's angry because the press is reporting what she says to the press.
The statement goes on.
"We needed to have the press be our friend.
We wanted them to ask the questions we want to answer.
" Do not laugh.
I felt the exact same way about the bar exam.
( Laughing ) Whoa, Will just made a joke.
Reese: When did that newsroom become a courtroom? Brad: I was going to say the same thing.
- He was a prosecutor.
- I'm sorry? Before he was an anchor, before he was a reporter, before he was a speechwriter, he was a prosecutor.
He graduated college at 19, law school at 21, and had signed up with the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office where he racked up a 94% conviction record.
The newsroom turned into a courtroom, Reese, because I made the decision that American voters need a fucking lawyer.
Will: "You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason, and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government.
I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking towards those Second Amendment remedies.
" Syntax problems notwithstanding, that was a Republican nominee for the US Senate saying she hasn't ruled out a violent overthrow of her government.
Terry Smith is up next with the Capital Report.
I'm Will McAvoy.
Good night.
- Man: And we're clear.
- ( Applause ) - Hello.
- Woman: Hi.
You're dressed much too nicely to work here.
No, I'm meeting Will.
We're going out.
- You're going out? - Yeah.
Are you a relative of Will's? Are you related? No.
No, we're going on a date.
That's fantastic! I don't know why I said that so loud.
Um, h-how do you guys know each-- - How did you meet? - Mac, I think-- - Not now.
- Okay.
- How do you know Will? - I work for the Jets and Will's a big fan.
- The New York Jets? - Yeah.
- We met in the owner's - That's sensational.
- suite.
- What do you do for the Jets? - I'm head of the Flight Crew.
- You're a pilot? I'm head of the cheerleading squad.
We're called the Flight Crew.
- You're a cheerleader.
- And choreographer.
- It pays for graduate school.
- Hey, Danielle.
- Hey, dude.
That was awesome.
- No.
I was sitting watching you right there while you were right there.
You want to hear something that will blow your mind? In about three hours, he'll be on TV on the West Coast while at the same time out with you on a date.
Unless he gets tired, which happens sometimes because he's old.
This is Mackenzie McHale.
She's my secretary.
Multiple Peabody-winning executive producer.
- I'm Danielle.
- That's a beautiful name! - Why are you shouting? - Can I talk to you for a second? Just give me a minute to change.
We'll be out of here.
You're going on a date with a cheerleader? Not a high school cheerleader.
A professional cheerleader.
- That doesn't make it better.
- Can I help you? - She's a student.
- A graduate student.
- In philosophy? - Physical therapy.
There are better ways to get back at me.
I'll put up a suggestion box.
Can I warn you about something? You're a rich and famous person.
And for that reason only, she may want to sleep with you.
That didn't sound like something that should come with a warning.
That sounded like something that should come with balloons.
I loathe you right now.
- You've got ink on your face.
- I work with pens! - Get a grip.
- Yeah, I know! - Hello.
- Whatever! - Good show tonight.
- Will: Thank you.
He was talking to me! Stay on the Tea Party.
Hard-core conservatives are getting primaried.
In six weeks I haven't heard anything from the 44th floor.
- How are they with this? - Good.
I'll tell you when there's something to worry about.
So now we've really got something to worry about 'cause he goes out-- What problem do we have? We lose that when the Yankees are playing the Red Sox.
Brad, why did you say now we've really got something to worry about? He goes after Jim DeMint.
Will: Mr.
Wexler, I'd like to talk about Senator DeMint's recent statements about gay marriage.
He said it shouldn't be legal because of the diseases prevalent in the homosexual population.
- Am I mischaracterizing that? - No, sir, you're not.
Will: By diseases, Senator DeMint is referring to HIV and AIDS? - 18,000.
- Exactly.
Normal God-fearing heterosexual couples - don't spread those kind of diseases.
- 18,000.
As a matter of fact, the rate of contraction of HIV among gay couples is now lower than it is among heterosexual couples.
Nod if you copy.
Well, if you're talking about Africa, I'd have to see the statistics for myself.
They're in a packet right in front of you.
But let me ask you something.
Do you believe that the American soldiers who fought in World War I were good, moral people? I'm sure they were, and God bless them.
I don't think He did bless them because 18,000 US troops were sidelined by VD during that war.
That sounds a little high to be believed.
- Did you pull those numbers out of-- - I'm sorry.
- That number was wrong.
- That's what I thought.
It was 18,000 every day.
Mackenzie: So that second segment was too long.
- Yes, it won't happen again.
- Good.
- Uh-oh.
- Let's see who we have tonight.
- You must be waiting for Will.
- Yes, I'm Darshana Yadav.
Mackenzie McHale.
So where's he-- - Hey, Darshana.
- Hey.
I caught the end.
- You were great.
- Oh, thank you.
Do you mind waiting just a second while I change? - Sure.
- Nice meeting you.
Spinning instructor? Neurologist at Columbia Presbyterian.
Chief of Surgery.
That would make her a brain surgeon.
Literally a brain surgeon.
( Door slams ) That's not hard to be.
I just couldn't be less interested in WikiLeaks.
You're nuts.
The open sourcing of classified information is going to be an absolute game changer for journalists of our generation.
All I heard was sounds coming from the mouth of a nerd.
- Have you scanned the WikiLeaks cables? - No, Neal.
Because I spend my time trying to find and protect my sources.
This right here is always the swan song of the obsolete when you stare the future paradigm in the face.
"He on the side of technology wins.
" You know who said that? - It was you.
I was sitting right here.
- Napoleon.
Things worked out well for him.
Weren't there girls standing here a minute ago? Yes, you scared them off with your Wikinerd pitch.
I've been sitting here for two and a half hours and I still don't know why.
It's like being in the cast of a Fellini film.
Was it all GOP bashing, or did we cover anything else? We did almost three times as many international news stories as Fox and MSNBC combined.
And unless we're all blind, the Tea Party is the one doing the GOP bashing.
- Charlie, give me a break.
- Ask Bryce Delaney.
Bryce Delaney became the sixth GOP incumbent to be ousted by a Tea Party candidate.
The American Conservative Union gives Delaney a 97% rating over his 10 terms in Congress.
He was a Deputy Whip, he was state cochair of the McCain/Palin campaign, and he sponsored or cosponsored 38 pieces of legislation that were signed into law.
He lost his primary to a dentist Congressman Delaney, thank you for joining us.
Thank you.
Congressman, you have a consistent voting record on conservative issues, and in the past five elections you've won your district by double digits.
What happened? My pollster tells me that I gave the wrong answer at a town hall meeting.
What was the question? Is President Obama a socialist? And your answer? My answer was that I disagree with the man on how to run a government, but the talk of him being a socialist or a Marxist or a Kenyan was a silly distraction.
You paid a big price for that.
You were leading in the polls at the time.
Will, there are brilliant conservative minds in the Republican Party.
And the individual price we are paying for not pretending to be crazy is nothing compared to the price that the country is going to pay for not having a reasonable opposition party.
You made another mistake, too, right? - You're referring to HR2559.
- Yes.
- I cosponsored a bill.
- With a Democrat.
Once you're elected, you have a duty to work with other people who have been elected.
My friends across the aisle had been elected.
What did HR2559 provide for? ( Chuckles ) It provided for homeless veterans to receive housing vouchers and services such as counseling, job training.
Thank you for your service to your country, sir.
You'll be missed in Congress.
Good luck.
Thank you.
It's not strange I'm not hearing anything from the 44th floor? What were you expecting? It's just bizarre because the show's taken a pretty sharp turn.
Man: Big fan.
Keep it up.
She never watched the old show.
- What? - Maybe once or twice.
Too dumbed down? Has she seen the new show? - That's a fair question.
- Charlie.
She's a Democrat.
She gives money.
She gives money to everybody.
She bets on all the horses in the race.
If there was a problem, I'd have heard about it.
There's a retreat in Telluride my mother and I have been invited to every year for the last nine years.
We're not here talking about ratings, are we? I wonder if what we're about to see has anything to do with why we weren't invited this year.
Does anybody mind if I start drinking a lot of bourbon right now and then a little while later put my fist through his head? I think you've had enough bourbon for one lifetime.
Not my lifetime.
We lost David and Charles.
Thank you for staying late tonight.
I really want to get this one right tomorrow.
Don't we want to get them all right? You know what, Hef? There's a Hooters a few blocks from here just filled with waitresses who are stocked like a game fishing pond for you to go out like a fish with-- - You lost the thread, right? - Yeah.
Let's start from the top again.
Uh, the Tea Party presents itself as a grassroots movement, which means it should be fiercely resistant to central control, especially traditional, uh, uh uh-- sorry.
Especially traditional power structures.
Will: We're joined from Manhattan, Kansas, by Mike Lyndall, a construction contractor, and Sheryl Bell, a registered nurse.
Lyndall and Miss Bell are the founders and cochairs of the Riley County Tea Party Express.
They're gonna say the Tea Party represents the voice of the true owners of the United States.
Mike, tell us why you became involved with the Tea Party movement.
Well, first and foremost, we want to take our country back.
All right, just to be clear, is your country my country, too? - Of course.
- Okay.
Who do you want to take our country back from? We want to take it back from a Congress and a president who've forgotten that government derives its power from the consent of the governed and instead is at the beck and call of special interests and corporations.
You describe the Tea Party as a grassroots movement, right? Absolutely.
We have no central control, no traditional power structure.
And that is something that seems to confound the media.
- I'm sorry? - That's what confounds the media.
It's what the media doesn't get.
We are not being run by a George Soros type figure.
We are "We the People.
" - There it is.
- They walked right into it.
If you follow the money, nearly all of it eventually leads to AFP.
Where does your funding come from? What little funding we have comes from private citizens who mail in $5, $10, $1, whatever they can spare.
Okay, have either of you ever heard the name David Koch? - I'm sorry? - David Koch.
- No.
- Have you ever heard the name Charles Koch? - No.
- Have you ever heard the name Koch Industries? Are you talking about Coca-Cola? K-O-C-H.
Have either of you heard of Koch Industries? - Nope.
- I think that very soon you will.
Koch Industries is the second largest private company in the country.
Bigger than Coca-Cola.
And the Koch brothers' personal wealth of $50 billion is exceeded only by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, and they could buy and sell George Soros 10 times over.
They own dozens of companies and industries including oil and gas, refining and chemicals, minerals, fertilizer, forestry, polymers and fibers and ranching.
You two both attended the Texas Defending the American Dream Summit over the July 4th weekend? It was a Tea Party event.
The invitation-- ( Clears throat ) Excuse me.
The invitation read "Today the voices of average Americans are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests.
- But you can do something about it.
" - Mike: Yes.
That summit was paid for entirely by Americans For Prosperity, AFP, which has two founders-- David and Charles Koch.
In the last six months, they've bankrolled Tea Party candidates in excess of $40 million.
Sheryl, Mike, are the Koch brothers average Americans whose voices are being drowned out by lobbyists and special interests? I'm confounded.
Mackenzie: If we review the graphics package-- - Would you excuse me for a minute? - Yeah.
- Tamara? - Yeah.
Call this SS-101.
Mackenzie: And I'm gonna want these reviewed three times once they're loaded in.
We screw this up, that's all people talk about tomorrow.
- Excuse me.
- Yeah.
- Hey, Don.
- Yeah? Have you seen Maggie? She seemed a little funny in the conference room and then she walked out.
Yeah, she's okay.
She gets panic attacks.
She starts to get dizzy and shake and she thinks she's dying.
Is she all right? She's fine.
She just needs to be left alone.
She went out on the terrace to get some air.
You guys did a good show tonight.
I wasn't aware of, you know, what was going on with the McRib sandwich.
Yeah, go fuck yourself.
Do not come down on the Kochs without checking upstairs.
- Do you understand? - Get your finger out of my face, Reese.
- Look-- - We stand for something.
It's a moral obligation.
Get used to it.
Maggie: About 10 minutes ago.
About 10 minutes ago at a staff meeting.
Yeah, I have-- I need to get back in there.
No, they're not in my pocket.
They're not in my purse because-- They weren't in the medicine cabinet.
Lisa, the guys you bring to the apartment have got to stop taking my Xanax.
- ( Door opens ) - Shoot.
Hang on a second.
But don't hang up.
- Sit back down.
- I'm fine.
Sit back down.
- Tell me what's happening.
- I just need a minute.
I'm gonna feel your pulse, okay? - You really don't need to.
- Shh.
I'm gonna ask you some questions.
Where are you right now? Are you having trouble breathing? Can you hear me? I'm on the upper terrace of the AWM building, yes, and obviously yes.
Are you a nurse? Some guys I was embedded with got panic attacks.
- I'm gonna pass out.
- It feels like it, but you won't.
You're in the second stage of the A-anxiety table of army field manual FM-2251: "New Infantry Adaptation to a Threatening Situation.
" I'm in midtown Manhattan, Gomer Pyle.
You're in Fallujah.
Start breathing from your abdomen.
Imagine yourself in a safe place or something you like.
YouTube kittens.
I wish your face would stop moving so I could punch it.
You're here.
You're part of this group.
Everyone likes you.
Well, except for Carla in bookkeeping who thinks you're a rube.
Should get back to the meeting.
The meeting's over.
Stay put.
- Did the copy for-- - Everything's done.
You can check it yourself later.
He's going after the Koch brothers.
If you want to panic about something, I think it's six to five and pick 'em this time tomorrow night the building blows up.
Did you see a doctor? Yeah, he prescribed Xanax.
- Did you take one? - I didn't have them with me.
Someone like you should always have one in your pocket or in your purse.
- I'll remember that.
- Keep breathing, okay? You're safe.
You're awesome.
I'm gonna check your pulse again.
- How is it? - Better.
A minute ago, it was like you were taking sniper fire.
They were good guys? The guys you were embedded with? They were the best people I've ever met.
You guys are a close second.
Don's hands are tied.
He got marching orders to get the numbers up at 10:00.
And he's driving a different car than Mac.
Elliot's smart, but he can't do what Will does.
Plus, his salary is tied to ratings.
Why are you telling me this? He's a great guy and you two should be friends.
In the five months I've been here, you two have broken up four times and gotten together five times.
So there must be a strong connection.
- Was that sarcastic? - No.
- Really? - Yeah.
All right.
- That was obviously sarcastic.
- It wasn't.
I never knew what the word smug meant until I met you.
You're 26 and you didn't know what the word smug meant until this year? - Right there.
- I wasn't being sarcastic.
You guys obviously have something.
My suggestion is stop breaking up.
- Learn how to have a fight.
- Go on, Dr.
You're breathing normally? Follow my finger.
You've got a graphics producer waiting in the edit bay.
( Door shuts ) Are you still there? Yeah, that was him.
I think the best analogy I can use is Rocky II.
Are you sure that's the best analogy you can use? - Hear me out.
- I'd be very surprised if my mother's seen Rocky II.
Lansing, Rocky Balboa was a lefty.
- Rocky was political? - Left-handed.
And for his rematch with Apollo Creed, his trainer Burgess Meredith makes him train as a righty.
And he fights round after round as a righty until Burgess Meredith shouts, "Now," and Rocky comes at him with his left.
What the fuck are you talking about? Just that Mackenzie McHale got here, shouted, "Now," and Will started swinging away.
( Laughing ) Leave-- Hey, leave Mac out of this.
I shouted, "Now.
" I'm Burgess Meredith.
( Imitating Meredith ) This guy, he just don't want to beat you, see? He wants to murder ya.
That was my best Burgess Meredith.
Is there something here that's funny? Yeah.
We've been talking about Rocky II.
Brad, wrap it up.
Here you go.
- How much do you like me? - I'm You know, I don't know what's happening right now.
- Don and Maggie broke up.
- When? Last week.
I'm sure they've married and divorced three times since then.
- No, it's real.
- What do you mean? Tess told Tamara, Tamara told Kendra, and Kendra talked to Maggie, who confirmed it was over.
So get in there.
- Get in there? - Yeah.
- I'm not gonna "get in there.
" - Why not? I'm not going to swoop in like she's a rent-controlled apartment.
She's probably really upset.
Plus, I was the one who advised her to stay together during these times, so it would be pretty hypocritical of me to suddenly-- - Wait.
- What? You advised her to do what? I told her if she wants to stay together, she has to not break up.
Based on what are you giving relationship advice? It-- This time it was logic.
I know the answer to this question, but I just want to hear you say it anyway.
What are you working on there? The story about people voting against their own interest.
I'm not swooping in.
The health care law hasn't taken effect yet.
TARP was signed into law by George W.
Name me the freedoms that you had the day before President Obama was sworn in that you don't have today.
What is someone supposed to do with a bleeding Mexican? What state, what city, what county in this country is in danger of falling under Sharia Law? Tea Party candidate Allen West.
Tea Party candidate Michele Bachmann.
Tea Party candidate Tom Graves.
Tim Griffin.
Sean Duffy.
Jeff Duncan.
No, ma'am, teen pregnancy rose over that period.
The largest demographic of Americans living in poverty are children.
Abolishing the minimum wage would create jobs.
You know what else would? Slavery.
The public school system has failed you.
As did three of your college professors.
It's going to come down, as it always does, to who shows up.
And that takes us to last night.
Here's something I want everyone to watch at home tonight.
All right, precincts are closing in Kentucky and Indiana.
AP's already calling it for Rogers, Pence, and Burton.
John Yarmuth just picked up the Kentucky 3rd.
I'm looking at Patty Murray up by %1 with 60 in.
Arkansas State Secretary just certified it for John Boozman.
Gary: We've still got Reid up by 12 in Clark County.
Why's Sportsbook still taking bets at even money? - You're getting these? - Yeah.
I'm looking at the exits.
Did anyone under 70 vote in this election? I apologize, ma'am.
Happy birthday.
Those polls closed 20 minutes ago.
What's going on? I know he's a friend of yours.
He was a great public servant.
Call it red.
Ohio 12.
We're gonna need to PRE-PRO that map graphic.
Joey, can you get that ready and let Jake know when it's there? - Yes, sir.
- Two's down.
I need you on Sabbith.
Kendra: We'll need a phoner graphic for the congressman-elect and a baseball card of his opponent.
- He's getting a dropline for that.
- Sabbith, two's down.
No, he's back up.
Okay, go wide.
Jake: Do me a favor.
I need you to fix 1918 and add the source.
I'm looking at the stack and you're missing 1825.
I see it.
It's just not in the stack.
Will, the brand-new governor of Wisconsin just said, "Tonight I want to tell every worker, every family, and every business big or small in this state that you have an ally in the governor's office.
" Isn't he the one who wants to bust the unions? Am I mixing him up? Can you get him to go to Elliot a little more? Can you get Elliot to say something other than how beautiful it is to see democracy in action? - I'm trying.
- Easy, man.
Let's go to three.
Will: Elliot, tell us what we're looking at.
Well, we are looking at American democracy in action, Will, and it is really a beautiful sight to see.
Yes, it is.
Sloan Sabbith.
We're looking at an electorate that's older and more conservative.
Early exits suggest a quarter of all voters, at least so far, were 65 and older, and 41% identify themselves with the Tea Party.
Kyle, we all remember those Tea Party signs that said, "Keep your government hands off my Social Security.
" How do you explain people who are on Social Security voting for candidates who could well endanger Social Security? I can't.
Well, they don't call you an analyst for nothing.
We've got 12 minutes before the next round of polls close.
We'll throw it now to Terry Smith and her team in Washington and see you on the other side.
Terry, I don't know how you're gonna follow Kyle, but give it a try.
We're out.
Hey, you want to give me a break? - I'm sorry.
- Jesus.
It was a joke.
Come here.
Get in the game, would you, please? I am in there doing everything I can to get Mac to get him to go to you and he is doing it.
He is inviting you to become a star.
Would you stop being so fucking enthralled with the act of punching a ballot? Get back here.
Get back here.
Don't talk to me like that.
I mean, I don't know who you think I am, but don't talk to me like I am a disappointing child.
You got three choices.
One: Get back together with Maggie so you can be the regular prick that I like and not the bonus prick that I've been getting for the past week.
Two: Don't get back together with Maggie and get over it.
Three: You're fired.
Everything you just said was right.
Let me also say I'm not the one who wants to be a star, Mama Rose.
I don't know that reference.
It's from Gypsy.
Ethel Merman's a stage mother who really pushes her daughter-- I don't have time to explain the plot of Gypsy.
Yeah, sure, okay.
Just pretend I gave a better pep talk.
- Okay? - Done.
I printed this hot note.
I'm adding it to your binder.
Lexington, Kentucky, just elected their first openly gay mayor.
You might want to keep it in your pocket.
Here's what the Grayson camp sent us on his concession.
And I want to say something to you that's both inappropriate and insubordinate.
- What was the last one? - I want to say something to you that's inappropriate, insubordinate, and grounds for termination.
You could give Mac a break and have the women meet you at the restaurant.
That was inappropriate and insubordinate, - but I don't care.
- Thank you.
You should know your head's up your ass.
- Will, I know-- - You don't know anything, Maggie.
I've got the image of Mackenzie with that-- with her ex-boy-- It won't come out.
I need the team from Inception to come and remove the image from-- Look, I'm not doing it on purpose.
I'm not rubbing her face in anything.
I'm simply not considering her feelings at all.
Yeah, I just heard myself say that.
Lexington, Kentucky, and the Grayson statement.
The Times are reporting Rick Scott spent 75 million on his campaign in Florida.
That's the most ever on a gubernatorial race.
Joey, I'm sending you the quote.
- Make it a tear on the NYT background.
- Copy.
- You got a second? - Are you joking? I wanted to tell you that I shouldn't have-- - I wanted to apologize.
- Man: This operation is unbelievable.
You guys are like air traffic controllers.
Honey, you're gonna tell me if I'm in the way, right? No, you're-- No.
Wade, this is-- I know who this is.
I am not worthy.
You keep kicking the Tea Party to hell and back.
They won the battle, you win the war.
And I'll tell you what else, it's good business, too.
Where would Murrow have been without McCarthy? - Good to meet you.
- This is my friend Wade Campbell.
She's so British.
We're a little more than friends.
Herb: Mac, you want a cyber panel next to Will or a lower-third? She's not British.
She's American.
Uh, your call.
A cyber panel.
Will-- Mac said I could watch tonight so long as I promised to stay out of your eye line.
She said you never come in here, so Yeah, no.
I think I got lost on my way to the men's room.
Martin, would you take Wade and show him the decision desk? I would love that.
We've been dating for about three months.
I'm sorry.
This is exactly what was supposed to happen.
You're doing great in here.
- Thanks, Will.
- Thanks.
The McClatchy masthead has to go with that 35-50 graphic.
- Will.
- Yes, ma'am? You've got to ask the Tea Party about the debt ceiling.
- Huh? - The debt ceiling.
Boehner'll keep them in line on the debt ceiling vote.
They're freshmen.
They sit in the back.
Half of them won their primaries by beating candidates Boehner endorsed.
It's pro forma.
It's one sentence on one piece of paper.
It doesn't give the government permission to borrow more money.
It gives the government permission to pay back the money we already borrowed.
Do their constituents know that? - Herb: In three, two, roll in.
- Fuck.
( Music playing ) Welcome back to ACN's election night coverage.
If you're just joining us, the Republican Party will be the majority party in the House of Representatives for at least the next two years.
We're joined live now by the newest member of the 112th Congress, Frank Guidry, representing Colorado's 8th district.
Congressman-elect, congratulations.
- Thank you for joining us.
- Good to be here.
Guidry, you campaigned on a promise of fiscal responsibility.
And I plan to govern the same way.
( Cheering ) Will: Mr.
Guidry, in a few months, you'll be asked to cast the most important vote you'll ever cast as a member of the House.
Will you be voting to raise the debt ceiling? Will, I will not be casting a single vote to spend a single dollar that we do not have.
( Cheering ) Sir, that's not what-- That's not-- Mr.
Guidry, this is Sloan Sabbith.
That's not what the debt ceiling-- I'm having trouble hearing you.
We've got some happy people here behind me.
That's not-- Sir, that's not what the debt ceiling does.
- Are you able to hear us? - Just barely.
Are you aware of the consequences of not raising the debt ceiling? I'm sorry, say that again.
Are you aware of the consequences, the immediate global consequences of the US defaulting on its loan payments? I'm sorry, guys.
I just can't hear you.
We'll have to pick this up another time.
All right.
Tess, good job.
Go home.
Thank you.
Martin, nice work.
Get some sleep.
- Charlie: Hey, Jim.
- Yes, sir? Smart people are gonna offer you jobs for more money.
Before you take one, talk to me, okay? That won't be an issue, sir.
Come have a drink with Will and me.
Oh, thank you very much, but it's pretty late and it's a work night and I got to be in early.
Oh, be a damn newsman, would you? - Yes, sir.
- Kids.
Neal: The final tally-- colon-- Republicans pick up six seats in Senate-- comma-- and eight governorships.
Colorado, Alaska, and Washington still too close to call-- period.
This is ACN's Live Election Blog signing off-- period.
I'm sorry, Dave, but I'm afraid I can't do that.
Laugh all you want, but Kubrick got it exactly right.
HAL malfunctioned in a very realistic way.
Good work tonight.
I'm just gonna go tell her she did a good job.
( Typing ) Brutal.
No words.
I have no words to describe what I just-- - But you're still talking.
- No words.
( Exhales ) That's it.
That's the last six months.
- Reese: Thanks, Brad.
- Could we have the room, please? Moses and Jesus are playing golf.
Moses steps up to the tee and hits a beautiful shot 250 yards straight down the middle of the fairway.
Jesus steps up to the tee and hooks the ball into the trees.
Jesus looks up into the heavens, raises his arms.
Suddenly the sky darkens.
A thunderclap rings out.
Rain pours down and a stream rises among the trees.
The golf ball, floating on top, finds its way into the mouth of a fish.
Then a bird flies down and takes the fish and the ball out over the green, drops it in the cup for a hole in one.
Jesus turns to Moses with a satisfied grin.
And Moses says, "Look, you want to play golf or you want to fuck around?" What in God's name has happened to News Night over the last six months? - Leona-- - Do not laugh.
Leona, the ratings have stabilized.
We're doing a show you can be proud of.
And I'll get them back to where they used to be.
What happened to human interest stories? Obesity, breast cancer, hurricanes, older women having babies, iPhones-- He was great at that shit.
He was sleeping during that shit.
And whose idea was it to wake him up? - For the third time, it was mine.
- Yeah.
I engineered a situation wherein an executive producer with a unique ability to bring out the very best in an anchor with a unique ability were paired to do a news broadcast this company can and should be proud of.
And rebrand ACN as MSNBC's more combative brother? - We did the news.
- For the left.
- For the center.
- Are you fucking out of your mind? For the center, Leona.
Facts are the center.
We don't pretend that certain facts are in dispute to give the appearance of fairness to people who don't believe them.
Balance is irrelevant to me.
It doesn't have anything to do with truth, logic, or reality.
He didn't go on the air telling people to give peace a chance.
But evolution? The jury's back on that one.
He humiliated congressional candidates on my air.
- It's not your air, Leona.
- Excuse me.
- He needs to continue.
- Listen to me.
Listen to me! America just elected the most dangerous and addle-minded Congress in my lifetime.
I have business in front of this Congress, Charlie! Reese, why don't you give us a minute? He can stay.
Reese, get the fuck out.
I'll be right outside.
How would you like me to respond to your unfiltered contempt for my son? By telling him to get a paper route.
Look, pal-- What the hell is his job, anyway? President of this company.
Yeah, I don't know what that means.
It means he's gonna have my job one day.
Please, please let me be dead by then.
I'd be happy to arrange it.
So Will pissed off whoever you were sitting next to at dinner Saturday night? I thought you got where you are by being fearless.
No, I got where I am by knowing who to fear.
And the Koch brothers are not playing around, if that's what you're talking about.
They drop Brink's trucks on people they disagree with.
You and me.
Leona, you can't possibly expect us to tailor our news coverage to what best suits our corporate-- Let's start over.
And this time, disabuse yourself of the idea that this is a conversation between equals where I make an argument, you make a counterargument, and we agree to disagree.
Our cable news division accounts for less than 3% of AWM's annual revenue.
You don't make money for stockholders, which I have a fiduciary responsibility to do.
Well, last night, the voters ousted 21% of Congress, including seven members of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
Three of those seven are AWM's most reliable friends on the Hill.
Now, the congressmen that will be replacing them are the same people that Will has been making look like fucking morons for the last six months.
They've done a pretty good job making themselves look like morons.
I have business before this Congress, Charlie.
And whatever you may think of these people, which is the same thing I think of them, they hold the keys to the future of AWM.
Anything more than a pack of gum, and I have to go to Congress for permission.
I don't make the rules, but I do abide by them.
- News organizations - Careful with the lectures.
Are a public trust with an ability to inform and influence the national conversation.
I know.
That's why I bought one.
All right, they're not candidates anymore.
They are congressmen, and he is gonna lay off.
He's not gonna lay off anything.
- Oh, yes, he is.
- Let me ask you something.
And don't forget I've known you for 20 years.
If Joe McCarthy sat on the House Subcommittee for Communications and Technology, would you have told Murrow to lay off? - No.
- Why? Because he was a genuinely bad guy.
Michele Bachmann's called for Congress to be investigated to ferret out House members who are un-American.
Michele Bachmann is a hairdo.
I'm not worried about Michele Bachmann.
I wonder how many people weren't worried about McCarthy.
You know, Charlie, a lot of people might argue that Will is on a witch hunt.
And a lot of people might argue there are witches out there.
I'll fire him, Charlie.
What? I'm not asking him to lie.
I'm not asking him to cover anything up.
But he's going to tone it down or I'm going to fire him.
Well, best of luck trying to program against him.
Oh, I don't have to.
He's got a non-compete clause in his contract.
He's gonna have to stay off television for three years.
That's a death sentence.
It is.
How would you possibly explain firing the second most watched anchor on cable? By creating what we call context.
His firing would be viewed as a noble step on the part of a corporation willing to sacrifice ratings for integrity.
You'd manufacture a reason to do it? I've got a really good job, Charlie.
Now you want to play golf or do you want to fuck around? Fellas, that was election coverage.
Tell 'em, Charlie.
Where the hell are we? It's my understanding this is a karaoke bar with affordable food and drinks that stays open late and staffers come here after work to socialize.
When you describe it, it really sounds like Brigadoon.
- Hey, you know what? - Shut up? - Yeah.
You know why? - Where's Mackenzie? - That's why.
- I didn't meet him until tonight either.
That's all right.
I like being here.
Election night.
Just the guys.
And-- Yeah.
Elliot got in trouble tonight for saying something that was worth saying.
Every two years, we drive to a fire station and overthrow the government and there isn't a policeman in the street.
I love doing the news.
- ( Phone chimes ) - Charlie: Hang on.
Who e-mails you at I think whoever it is probably didn't know about the toast.
Leona Lansing wants to see me at 10:00 AM on the 40th floor conference room.
What do you think it's about? I think she wants to say good job.
All right, to the 112th Congress.
Godspeed and God bless America.
All: God bless America.
( Theme music playing )
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