The Newsroom is a political drama series created and written by Aaron Sorkin that premiered on HBO on June 24, 2012. The series chronicles the behind-the-scenes events at the fictional Atlantis Cable News (ACN) channel. It stars Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy, who sets out to put on a news show “in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements”.
The Newsroom concluded its second season on September 15, 2013. On January 13, 2014, HBO officially confirmed the series had been renewed for a third and final season, scheduled to premiere in fall 2014.
Below is the video and transcript to the series’ opening scene where Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) is asked what makes America the greatest country in the world. As a lover of the US but someone who fears for the future, his answer makes me stand up and cheer. This is a fictional show and no public figure would ever have the balls to give this monologue, but the stuff he’s talking about in here are facts. Not sure how you can argue with him…
Question: Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?
Sharon: Diversity and opportunity.
Lewis: Freedom and freedom. So let’s keep it that way.
Will McAvoy: The New York Jets.
Moderator: No, I’m going to hold you to an answer on that. What makes America the greatest country in the world?
Will McAvoy: Well, Lewis and Sharon said it, diversity and opportunity and freedom and freedom.
Moderator: I’m not letting you go back to the airport without answering the question.
Will McAvoy: Well, our Constitution is a masterpiece. James Madison was a genius. The Declaration Of Independence is, for me, the single greatest piece of American writing. You don’t look satisfied?
Moderator: One’s a set of laws and the other is a declaration of war. I want a human moment from you. What about the people? Why is America…
Will McAvoy: It’s NOT the greatest country in the world professor. That’s my answer.
Moderator: You’re saying…
Will McAvoy: Yes. Sharon, the NEA is a loser, yeah, it accounts for a penny out of our paycheck but he gets to hit you with it any time he wants. It doesn’t cost money, it costs votes, it costs air time, it costs column inches. You know why people don’t like liberals? Because they lose. If liberals are so fucking smart, how come they lose so god damn always?
*Turns to conservative pundit*
And with a straight face you’re going to tell students that America is so star spangled awesome that we’re the only ones in the world who have freedom? Canada has freedom. Japan has freedom. The UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Australia, BELGIUM has freedom.
So, 207 sovereign states in the world, like 180 of them have freedom.
And you, sorority girl, just in case you accidentally wander into a voting booth one day there’s some things you should know. One of them is there’s absolutely no evidence to support the statement that we’re the greatest country in the world. We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in math, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, 3rd in median household income, Number 4 in labor force and Number 4 in exports. We lead the world in only three categories: Number of incarcerated citizens per capita, number of adults who believe angels are real, and defense spending. Where spend more than the next 26 countries combined, 25 of whom are allies.
Now none of this is the fault of a 20 year old college student, but you none the less are without a doubt a member of the worst period generation period ever period, so when you ask what makes us the greatest country in the world, I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Yosemite?
It sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors, we put our money where our mouths were and we never beat our chests. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars. Acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it, it didn’t make us feel inferior.
We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things and do all these things because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America is not the greatest country in the world anymore. Enough?”