If you watch Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom," premiering on HBO Sunday night, you might come away with a few questions. Like: Are all television journalists as arrogant as cable news anchor Will McAvoy? Do people really take swigs from a bottle of bourbon after the show wraps? Are all newsroom staffs good looking and impeccably groomed? And, of course, does everyone really sleep with everyone?
We're in a position to provide some answers, having screened the first four episodes of "The Newsroom" and having spent more time at a TV news network than Sorkin did, when he toured the offices of MSNBC, Fox, CNN, and CBS to develop his new drama. Below, a fact check:
5-minute long monologues about the state of news that happen in glass-walled, not soundproofed offices: False. At least not in our experience.
iNews: True. It's a program that news organizations use to manage show rundowns and read newswires. Yellow, orange, and red news alerts - also real.
Black tie New Year's Eve parties in the newsroom: False. We're real people. Unless we're working, we don't want to be at the office.
Smoking in the office: False. Hello, overhead sprinklers.
Throwing someone's Blackberry on the ground and smashing it with your heel: False. That's like five HR violations rolled into one.
Making out in the office: False. See HR violations, above.
Drinking bourbon on set after a good show: False. We have water, tea, and coffee. Sometimes juice. That's it.
Talking quickly, wittily, and never saying "um": False. The people in "The Newsroom" speak Sorkinin, a language known by the characters of such hits as "The West Wing" and "The Social Network" but spoken by no one in the real world, except, maybe, Aaron Sorkin.