Then you get a look at those reviews, and you get defensive—and to be fair, there’s something fascinating about the level of hatred in them. It’s easy to get a sense, in parsing the sneering, snarking, frequently angry tone of those reviews and posts, that they might not’ve given Sorkin a fair shake—like the hold-him-up, knock-him-down cycle of critical response (which the writer had already been through once, with his post-West Wing NBC series Studio 60) had coalesced around the notion of taking the recently-minted Oscar winner down a notch or two. And there’s an argument to be made that he was just asking for trouble by creating a series about the media—specifically, about how the media in its current incarnation is a gutless, witless, sensationalistic pursuer of the lowest common denominator. A media writer may agree with Sorkin’s claims about the industry, but it’s kind of like talking about my male pattern baldness or spare tire around the middle: I can say that stuff, because it’s me. You don’t get to write about my flaws, and you sure don’t get to let Jeff Daniels pontificate eloquently about them.
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