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Tara Ariano

S03.E05: Oh Shenandoah

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So Sorkin decides to emulate the least attractive Whedonism ever. Bully for him. 

 

And yes, false rape accusations are rare but I still feel like if even one innocent person's life is ruined because of a site like that, that's one life too many. 

I"m curious - an innocent man getting his life ruined because of a false accusation is terrible. And it is more terrible than all the future women being raped because this rapist got away with it. And it is more painful for society than justice for the woman who just had her life ruined because she was raped, and who was, in all likelihood symbolically raped again when she went to report it? Because she asked for it in some way, I guess. while the man was just walking around minding his business? Why is his pain worse than hers? 

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So Sorkin decides to emulate the least attractive Whedonism ever. Bully for him. 

 

I"m curious - an innocent man getting his life ruined because of a false accusation is terrible. And it is more terrible than all the future women being raped because this rapist got away with it. And it is more painful for society than justice for the woman who just had her life ruined because she was raped, and who was, in all likelihood symbolically raped again when she went to report it? Because she asked for it in some way, I guess. while the man was just walking around minding his business? Why is his pain worse than hers?

This wasn't directed towards me but I don't think anyone is saying that. Not to mention, even if the criminal justice avenue is closed, the victim still has civil remedies w/in which she can bring a claim against the alleged attacker. If she succeeds he won't get prison time but he'll still be branded a rapist and forced to pay a monetary judgment to the victim (and likely against the university/fraternity/etc.) - obviously money doesn't heal all wounds but it's the best remedy we have to compensate a victim for their loss.

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There is another reason the news isn't the place to air out claims of rape- defamation, libel & slander suits. Rolling Stone might be learning this the hard way very soon. Even in last nights episode, we as the audience and Don as the producer still don't know what really happened to that girl. That might make some uncomfortable but it is a fact.

 

 

 

I would think that a slander lawsuit would be a very real probability for someone making these claims in a public setting after a court failed to indict someone based on lack of evidence.

 

Besides, I can't imagine that Selina Meyer would be at all happy about Catherine going on a national newscast with this sort of story. She doesn't want to alienate the fratrape demographic. Much easier just to have the boy knocked off somehow, maybe a nice drone strike...

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Why was Shenandoah the song associated with Charlie's death?  I was thinking through the lyrics, basically a person who has migrated West and is homesick, and couldn't really make the connection.  Beautiful version of the song, though.

We figured that it's in the public domain.  So, free.  Who cares if it has no connection to anything that's going on.

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We figured that it's in the public domain.  So, free.  Who cares if it has no connection to anything that's going on.

I thought they were just going for a song about nostalgia for the good old days...

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I"m curious - an innocent man getting his life ruined because of a false accusation is terrible. And it is more terrible than all the future women being raped because this rapist got away with it.

 

If you believe the philosophical premise that it's better for ten guilty people to go free than one innocent to be locked up, and I do believe that, then I don't know about worse, but it's certainly equally bad. No one benefits or is safer or finds any justice if an innocent person goes to jail or is slandered.

   

I don't think Lily was under pressure - nobody but Mac recognized her name.

 

 

Under pressure from herself, I mean, the stress and pressure of living a secret life.

 

Didn't you find it a bit ridiculous that the government couldn't figure out who the leaker was in almost two months- or until she shot herself and the friend turned over the info?

 

 

Not really. I don't know what the government knew about Deep Throat, for example, but the public didn't know his identity until he died and the reporters revealed his name. I believe the govt went after Mark Felt (Deep Throat) for something else in the 1970s or '80s and maybe that was a covert way of trying to get him as the source of Woodward and Bernstein's Watergate story; that's possible, but if I'm remembering right, that hasn't ever been discussed and Reagan pardoned Felt. Even so, though, plenty of spies sell secrets for years without the govt knowing, and since Lily worked for BCD and not the Dept of Defense, which is where she said the DoJ was looking, it seems plausible to me that they couldn't identify her. What did surprise me a little was that Mac had to ask Gary for her name again. As soon as he said Lily's name I knew it was her, and I feel like Mac, with her husband in prison specifically for knowing this woman's name, would have latched on to that, but I don't know...I can make up an explanation that she was overworked, stressed, and tired and maybe didn't hear Gary the first time.

Edited by madam magpie
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Besides, I can't imagine that Selina Meyer would be at all happy about Catherine going on a national newscast with this sort of story. She doesn't want to alienate the fratrape demographic. Much easier just to have the boy knocked off somehow, maybe a nice drone strike...

 

Ha! Yeah I agree - I did a double take when I recognised Catherine but the actress has range. And now it's two comedy actors that Sorkin has gone to in pivotal roles. Wonder what's up. He tends to dramatic ones normally, doesn't he. (Not counting Chris Messina). 

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So Sorkin decides to emulate the least attractive Whedonism ever. Bully for him.

I"m curious - an innocent man getting his life ruined because of a false accusation is terrible. And it is more terrible than all the future women being raped because this rapist got away with it. And it is more painful for society than justice for the woman who just had her life ruined because she was raped, and who was, in all likelihood symbolically raped again when she went to report it? Because she asked for it in some way, I guess. while the man was just walking around minding his business? Why is his pain worse than hers?

Naming your rapist online or on TV is not getting justice for yourself, it's getting revenge. Maybe it'll make the victim feel better for awhile maybe it won't. What it won't do is get him off the street and it won't even keep him from attacking another women unless you somehow have a way of getting every women to see your post and for that post to never fade from any one's mind. So, it winds up being a hollow victory at best. So, that's why to me it's not worth the risk of harming an innocent person (and not everyone who commits a sexual assault has a penis for the record) when in the long run even if the accusation is true it doesn't help anything.

People should get tried in a court not online or on TV. If the police won't listen to you then you should scream from the rooftops until someone does. There are more constructive things you can do then torpedo any chance of your rapist actually going to jail.

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So this will probably just get buried by discussion of the rape plot, and rightfully so, but...are we supposed to infer from Lily's suicide that Don's journalism professor didn't get to run her version of the Equatorial Kundu story?

I thought that the threat was that if Mac didn't have ACN report the story then the source was going to dump all the documents onto the internet anyway. It doesn't look like that happened, and it doesn't look like AP published a story, either.  Since this has been the main story arc of the entire season, it would have been nice if that was addressed.

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Can someone explain how Lily Hart and Snowden are related?  Unrelated?  Are they both whistleblowers in the same universe, even if one is real?  News Night never aired the story because of the DOJ mess with Will?  I'm so confused!  Please explain like I'm a woman on this show, so big letters and small words.

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People should get tried in a court not online or on TV. If the police won't listen to you then you should scream from the rooftops until someone does. There are more constructive things you can do then torpedo any chance of your rapist actually going to jail.

 

Isn't going on a public forum actually screaming from the rooftops? Why would you choose to scream from the rooftops when you could reach more people by screaming with a megaphone in your hand? Or into a mic broadcasting into millions? Or write / speak into something with the potential to reach billions? Is it the size of the audience - screaming from the rooftops will reach fewer people so potential for harm is less? Even though the potential for good would presumably be lowered even more because a woman screaming from the rooftop would be, presumably written off as 'bitches be loco'? This is 2014 - going online or going to the media is a form of protesting, IMO. I think it is the 'advanced' form of screaming from the rooftops. 

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Many people (including fictional character Don) are talking about the 2% of victims who are falsely accused of sexual assault and their inability to get a job or become athletes or live their dreams.

 

This is utter and complete bullshit. It is so offensively, patently untrue.

 

*Mike Tyson - CONVICTED of rape. Serves a meager 5-year sentence. Gets cast in popular movies (HANGOVER), has a stage show directed by Spike Lee, has an animated show. He's never apologized for his crime, BTW.

*Ben Roethlisberger - Repeated accusations of rape, so heinous that even Roger Goodell (weak NFL commissioner) SUSPENDS his despite the fact that Roethlisberger is never tried in a court of law. Roethlisberger continues to be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and continues to sell jerseys with his name on it for millions of dollars.

*Jameis Winston - Accused of rape. Case is viciously covered up by the prosecutors and police. Winston wins a Heisman Trophy a few months later and is on his way to the NFL and million-dollar paydays.

*Jerramy Stevens - Accused of rape in college. Case is particularly vicious. He also gets the Jameis Winston coverup, goes on to be drafted by the Seattle Seahawks and plays in the NFL. Even marries U.S. soccer star Hope Solo.

*Mark Sanchez - Accused of rape in college. He's never charged and goes on to be drafted by the NY Jets. Currently starting as QB for the Philadelphia Eagles. Has a very nice paycheck and dates the likes of Eva Longoria.

 

Yes, I'm giving high-profile examples. Yes, there ARE men out there who are innocent and whose lives legitimately DO get ruined. What I'm saying is that the myth of "rape accusations ruin innocent men's lives" is exactly that. It is part of the lies told in this rape culture that we live in when in fact, the exact opposite is true. The majority of men accused of rape go on to live their lives. Some of them have special skills like Roethlisberger and some of them are just paper pushers. The majority of women who ARE raped do not.

 

I'm sorry if this is off-topic but seeing this debate angers me. We need to change the narrative when we talk about rape. It's up to all of us to contribute.

 

To stay ON topic on the show : I thought this episode was particularly hideous (and not for the rape storyline). It took several steps backward from the goodwill the show generated in me the past two episodes. I look forward to it ending next week and hope it can at least go out on a relatively high note. 

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The whole leaking of secrets plot fizzled out quickly.  The source kills herself dramatically and the real Snowden is a no-show.

 

Seems like in these final episodes, they're trying to touch on every hot-button topics of the day.  Kind of feels crammed and rushed.

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Not to mention, even if the criminal justice avenue is closed, the victim still has civil remedies w/in which she can bring a claim against the alleged attacker. If she succeeds he won't get prison time but he'll still be branded a rapist and forced to pay a monetary judgment to the victim (and likely against the university/fraternity/etc.) - obviously money doesn't heal all wounds but it's the best remedy we have to compensate a victim for their loss.

The problem is, it does not happen this way. We can see by how much the Universities try to "handle" the cases internally, instead of treating rape as the crime it is.

 

Yes, some people will be falsely accused. But the episode was showing a woman who did all she had to and was ignored. She is an example of what happens to too many women in colleges and universities. She wasn't trying to paint herself as someone she is not, she admitted to drinking. But she did not consent and that is the point. In this case, she wasn't even heard. And like her, there are many. I can relate to the feeling of "what do I have to lose". 

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The problem is, it does not happen this way. We can see by how much the Universities try to "handle" the cases internally, instead of treating rape as the crime it is.

 

Yes, some people will be falsely accused. But the episode was showing a woman who did all she had to and was ignored. She is an example of what happens to too many women in colleges and universities. She wasn't trying to paint herself as someone she is not, she admitted to drinking. But she did not consent and that is the point. In this case, she wasn't even heard. And like her, there are many. I can relate to the feeling of "what do I have to lose".

The way a university handles a case has no bearing on whether you can bring a civil lawsuit- in fact, university indifference can actually bolster your case if you are also bringing a negligence claim against the school.

I'm of the opinion that a school really has no business adjudicating rape claims anyway- it should be treated as the serious allegation that it is and handled by law enforcement.

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Agreed. What Don and Aaron seem to be saying instead is that Sloan's pain over having her nude pictures posted online is worth more than that of the women contributing to the 700,000 rape kits which won't be tested.

I don't think so. I think Don's point was that Sloan was deeply hurt and had her reputation maligned unfairly by those pictures being published on a revenge website, even though she'd posed for them, and that revenge online is uncool, just ask his girlfriend. Don's point had nothing to do with rape or women who are raped or how many there are or if they're lying. Don told Mary he believed her.

Edited by madam magpie
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I hope The News! The Only True News! only will go forward with stories that have already been adjudicated in our hallowed courts of law and the accused found guilty. Because anything less is outright slander and they could be sued.

Edited by Funzlerks
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I thought the comparion was sufficiently analogous, so long as the rape allegation is false and done out of revenge- which is the point Don was making to the girl. He wasn't saying posting all non-prosecutable rape claims was leaking nudes; he was saying posting untrue rape claims and posting nudes of an ex are both revenge based acts meant to hurt an innocent person.

 

Okay, so the accused 2% men's needs is above that of the rape victims. They too are innocent I must add. They open themselves up to criticism by posting their stories online, except for the ones who do so anonymously. The named accused are not the only ones whose lives are bared.

 

The show's point of view, with Don as the stand in, was that rape victims whose cases weren't tried and convinced by the legal system should fade into the woodwork. Certainly not put websites with content that could harm TWO PERCENT of the accused that might be false.

 

The logic that this slip of a fraction matter more, that because of them, victims conform to keeping their stories from the public is mind boggling. God forbid their lives are ruined by it. And frankly makes me want to cry a little bit.

 

I don't want innocent people to suffer because of false accessions. But as have been mentioned even the ones tried and convinced overcome the stigma of being a rapist. And by god, the number of falsely accused does not begin to compare to the ones who commit the crime and get away with it.

I don't think so. I think Don's point was that Sloan was deeply hurt and had her reputation maligned unfairly by those pictures being published on a revenge website, even though she'd posed for them, and that revenge online is uncool, just ask his girlfriend. Don's point had nothing to do with rape or women who are raped or how many there are or if they're lying. Don told Mary he believed her.

 

But of course. The Web is an evil place.

 

If Sorkin didn't have this mindset going on, I'd be willing give him the benefit of the doubt. He didn't mean for Mary to be the bad guy here, but he has that bias and he is unapologetic about it. Anyone using the internet is the devil. Rape victim or not. They must see how what they are doing could harm TWO PERCENT out of all the men accused of rape. COULD, because their lives being ruined is not even a fucking guarantee.

 

You know what, screw you Aaron Sorkin.

Edited by Deputy Deputy CoS
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The way a university handles a case has no bearing on whether you can bring a civil lawsuit- in fact, university indifference can actually bolster your case if you are also bringing a negligence claim against the school.

I'm of the opinion that a school really has no business adjudicating rape claims anyway- it should be treated as the serious allegation that it is and handled by law enforcement.

I agree that rape cases are criminal cases that should be dealt with in criminal court only but the reality is different. Colleges and universities do have their own system, I am not sure how they get away with that, but they do. Not only rape, but cases of hazing and bullying as well. Funny thing, off topic a little, schools (K-12) call the police as soon as a disabled student has a meltdown, sometimes provoked by a teacher, and the kids, as young as 6, leave on handcuffs.

 

You are correct that students that have been raped can go the civil lawsuit way. But those cases, I believe and please someone correct me if I am wrong, cost money, money that the student needs to have to pay for lawyers. This is only possible for a few privileged people. I am old but in my circles, no one - or their children -  would be able to afford a civil lawsuit

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Because this is a particularly volatile topic we just want to let you know that yes, you do see some posts dropping off. We're trying to keep this topic friendly (as friendly as it can be). Please remember not to attack each other. 

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The show's point of view, with Don as the stand in, was that rape victims whose cases weren't tried and convinced by the legal system should fade into the woodwork. Certainly not put websites with content that could harm TWO PERCENT of the accused that might be false.

 

Actually no. Pruitt and Charlie were of the view that Don should air the shoutfest; Mac, Sloane and Don didn't think it was a good idea. In fact, the episode started with Don asking Charlie how to handle the story, seeing that Pruitt (who has no jurisdiction in the newsroom) was giving him orders. Charlie's own views were hidden from us, so we could infer both ways. In one little paragraph I have named a few characters with a variety of views, so how come Don gets to be Sorkin's stand in?

 

As for the two percent, that's actually too many. Rapists should be caught, tried and punished (i.e. so  they won't get to harm others). Innocents should be just that. The fact that Don mentioned the possibility of slanders being given a platform does not take away the fact that he also said he believed Mary. Don certainly wasn't defending the rapist, he was defending other (potentially innocent) people who will happen to be painted with the same brush - if a system without checks and balance or expertise and whose sole punishment is slander: deserved if guilty but no redress if innocent. It's too blunt an instrument. And defending that does not mean condemning the victim or defending the perpetrator. In the end he was saying "putting you on my show is not going to help you, I wish I could offer you a solution". He certainly didn't say she should fade into the woodwork.

Edited by Boundary
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You are correct that students that have been raped can go the civil lawsuit way. But those cases, I believe and please someone correct me if I am wrong, cost money, money that the student needs to have to pay for lawyers. This is only possible for a few privileged people. I am old but in my circles, no one - or their children - would be able to afford a civil lawsuit

Being a personal injury attorney myself I can tell you that almost all PI cases are taken on a contingency fee basis- meaning you don't pay unless you win (or we get a settlement).

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I think it's important to note too that it's absolutely untrue that people who've been falsely accused of rape (really of any crime) are likely to overcome it and have their reputations returned to them. Sometimes they do; Brian Banks and Ryan Ferguson are examples of that. But others don't; I was in an airport just a month or so ago and overheard a man sitting behind me talking to his traveling companion about those "disgusting" rapist kids who are being paid money by the State of New York even though they attacked the Central Park Jogger...no matter that the Central Park Five have been completely exonerated. I'm not sure why those lives are less important to the pro-vigilante, public shaming side, but that's who Don was defending: not actual criminals. And the character of Don has a history of that belief system, as evidenced by his reaction to the Troy Davis execution.

 

Actually no. Pruitt and Charlie were of the view that Don should air the shoutfest; Mac, Sloane and Don didn't think it was a good idea. In fact, the episode started with Don asking Charlie how to handle the story, seeing that Pruitt (who has no jurisdiction in the newsroom) was giving him orders. Charlie's own views were hidden from us, so we could infer both ways. In one little paragraph I have named a few characters with a variety of views, so how come Don gets to be Sorkin's stand in?

 

That's a fantastic point. To me, this episode looked like Don, Sloan, and Mac vs. Charlie and Pruitt. The first three sort of won in the end, but the price was extremely high.

Edited by madam magpie
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One thing I haven't seen brought up is the actual story the campus rape plot was based on. Last year Occidental College set up an anonymous reporting system for its students to report campus rape. This system was set up in response to Occidental's poor handling of assault claims (and I mean, extremely poor handling). This reporting system did not name the accused person publicly or result in any real consequences. All that happened was the person named would be merely read the school's policy on sexual assault, and told that if they are assaulting people, they should stop. That's it.

 

Men's rights activists (the ones who populate Reddit and 4chan) decided that it was too easy for innocent men to be reported and their lives ruined (...somehow), and so their response was to flood the form with false accusations. They wanted to cripple the entire system. They chose to fill the forms out with a lot of sexist garbage slurs as well. The internet erupted over this for a brief period. It was big enough for Occidental to have to have a spokesperson comment on the story.

 

Sorkin clearly adapted this story and mutated it to fit the message he was trying to get across. 

 

I find it pretty disturbing but not at all surprising to hear that he kicked a female writer out of the writers' room for objecting to this storyline.

Edited by crashboom
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Can someone explain how Lily Hart and Snowden are related?  Unrelated?  Are they both whistleblowers in the same universe, even if one is real?  News Night never aired the story because of the DOJ mess with Will?  I'm so confused!  Please explain like I'm a woman on this show, so big letters and small words.

The Lily Hart story is a combination of several high profile leak cases over the past 10 years, including:

1. The Bradley Manning case w/ Neal playing the part of Juliann Assange who allegedly walked BM through the steps to get the docs off the US Gov server and uploaded to wiki leaks.

2. The James Rosen/North Korea State Dept Leaker w/ Neal playing the role of a journalist labeled as an unindicted coconspirator by the USGov.

3. The original NSA leakers/former NY Times reporter James Risen case.

4. Some Snowden elements w/ Neal vanishing to a country w/ no extradition treaty.

5. I'm sure I'm forgetting one or two more but hopefully this helps.

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Sorkin has responded to all the online buzz about this episode:

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/aaron-sorkin-responds-to-newsroom-writers-campus-rape-plot-reaction/

Let me take a moment to say that I understand that the story in last night’s episode (305–”Oh Shenandoah”) about Don trying to persuade a Princeton student named Mary (Sarah Sutherland) not to engage in a “Crossfire”-style segment on his show has catalyzed some passionate debate this morning. I’m happy to hear it.

It catalyzed some passionate debate in our writers room too. Arguments in the writers room at The Newsroom are not only common, they’re encouraged. The staff’s ability to argue with each other and with me about issues ranging from journalistic freedom vs. national security to whether or not Kat Dennings should come back and save the company is one of their greatest assets and something I look for during the hiring process. Ultimately I have to go into a room by myself and write the show but before I do I spend many days listening to, participating in and stoking these arguments. As with any show, I have to create a safe environment where people can disagree and no one fears having their voice drowned out or, worse, mocked.

Alena Smith, a staff writer who joined the show for the third season, had strong objections to the Princeton story and made those objections known to me and to the room. I heard Alena’s objections and there was some healthy back and forth. After a while I needed to move on (there’s a clock ticking) but Alena wasn’t ready to do that yet. I gave her more time but then I really needed to move on. Alena still wouldn’t let me do that so I excused her from the room.

The next day I wrote a new draft of the Princeton scenes–the draft you saw performed last night. Alena gave the new pages her enthusiastic support. So I was surprised to be told this morning that Alena had tweeted out her unhappiness with the story. But I was even more surprised that she had so casually violated the most important rule of working in a writers room which is confidentiality. It was a room in which people felt safe enough to discuss private and intimate details of their lives in the hope of bringing dimension to stories that were being pitched. That’s what happens in writers rooms and while ours was the first one Alena ever worked in, the importance of privacy was made clear to everyone on our first day of work and was reinforced constantly. I’m saddened that she’s broken that trust.

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Isn't going on a public forum actually screaming from the rooftops? Why would you choose to scream from the rooftops when you could reach more people by screaming with a megaphone in your hand? Or into a mic broadcasting into millions? Or write / speak into something with the potential to reach billions? Is it the size of the audience - screaming from the rooftops will reach fewer people so potential for harm is less? Even though the potential for good would presumably be lowered even more because a woman screaming from the rooftop would be, presumably written off as 'bitches be loco'? This is 2014 - going online or going to the media is a form of protesting, IMO. I think it is the 'advanced' form of screaming from the rooftops. 

I meant that she should scream from the rooftops that she was being denied justice by police, not the name of her attacker (and for the record I didn't literally mean the rooftops, I meant that she should make her story heard).  I think that there was a perfectly valid and important story in interviewing Mary about how her case was handled by the police and the college, what I don't think serves her is naming these men in public and thereby pretty much ruining her chance at real justice.  Nor do I think she should encourage others to do the same with her website.     

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Why was Shenandoah the song associated with Charlie's death?

 

Sam Waterston is a proud Yalie, a member of Yale's Dramat Society, a cousin to the Whiffenpoofs. He has several times performed at benefits for Yale, featuring the Whiffenpoofs.  Oh Shenandoah is one of the group's big numbers, often done as the closer.  It's elegiac, melancholy, a benediction.  "Away, I'm bound away..."

 

Did Sorkin quixotically invoke the Whiffenpoofs (for crying out loud) in tribute to a character, within an episode containing a risible scene set at an Ivy League school, touching on the current campus climate?  He did, and I'm all right with that.    

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Sam Waterston is a proud Yalie, a member of Yale's Dramat Society, a cousin to the Whiffenpoofs. He has several times performed at benefits for Yale, featuring the Whiffenpoofs.  Oh Shenandoah is one of the group's big numbers, often done as the closer.  It's elegiac, melancholy, a benediction.  "Away, I'm bound away..."

 

Did Sorkin quixotically invoke the Whiffenpoofs (for crying out loud) in tribute to a character, within an episode containing a risible scene set at an Ivy League school, touching on the current campus climate?  He did, and I'm all right with that.    

 

This is one of the things I really like about Aaron Sorkin's writing; he pays attention to hidden jokes. If you know, you know and it adds an extra something. If you don't, no big deal. My favorite was the bit last season where Mac was losing her mind because she went to Cambridge and felt insulted that Taylor kept thinking she went to Oxford, made funnier if you know that Emily Mortimer did go to Oxford.

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Because Sorkin wrote the story that way.  Nussbaum's point was that he didn't have to.  He chose to.

 

So the complaint is that Sorkin wrote a story in which Don lacked access to a desirable option (covering the subject in a journalistically responsible manner), due to interference from ACN's ratings-obsessed owner?

 

Mary isn't a real person.  She's a character of Sorkin's creation.  She represents actual rape victims who've been denied justice and have struggled to be heard.  Why is Sorkin being criticized for depicting this problem?  Why must the fictional Mary receive better treatment than so many women do in real life?

 

Was this Don? If so, this is my objection:

He lectures her about "innocence before guilt", that he is morally obligated to believe her accused rapist (why? He's not a judge or on a jury. He's a reporter. What a ridiculous bias it would be to hold such arbitrary beliefs about his potential stories based on legalities that have nothing to do with private citizens. I could have stomached an "I don't know who is telling the truth" over, "morally I have to believe the sketchy guy."),

That goes beyond news -- that speaks to Don's personal opinions as a private citizen.

 

You disagree with Don.  So did Mary, who made essentially the same argument.  Both of them are fictional characters, not Aaron Sorkin himself.

 

If the debate had been kept to the news -- basically "I don't want to do the story because of the news value," I might've been able to stomach it more. But "I believe the sketchy guy, because what if he can't get into medical school, because of some crazy bitches' Web site!" was completely unnecessary, in my opinion.

 

Don's point was not that he actually believed the accused rapist's account of the events (which, as he conveyed unambiguously, he didn't), but that it wasn't his place to pronounce him guilty.

 

Just say you don't want to put her on the news -- don't annoint oneself an arbiter for truth and justice when one holds no such title (Don is not a prosecutor, nor is he serving on a jury)

 

You're making Don's point for him.

 

and don't mention the innocent, wronged men that might be hurt because of the evil Web site. That was what put the scene over the line, to me.

 

Hyberbole aside (Don never questioned Mary's intent behind creating the website, let alone labeled it "evil"), why shouldn't that be mentioned?

 

And as I mentioned, I actually don't believe Don holds those opinions, so I resent him being tagged to make the mansplaining speech that would've sounded natural coming out of Jim's "never met a woman whose choices I cannot question in a tone of moral superiority" mouth. Then it would've at least made sense.

 

If your objection is that the dialogue seemed out of character for Don, okay.  I don't agree, but I understand the logic.  In your earlier message, you attributed Don's opinion to Aaron Sorkin and responded with the same argument used against Don in the episode.

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Why would Don be concerned about the future jobs a rapist would get?

 

He wouldn't.  He was concerned about the job prospects of someone falsely accused of rape.

 

If you want to make an argument based within the realities of society, argue that society will inevitably judge the victim. But to attack the Web site and defend all the men who might be hurt by the Web site was out of line, and had no place in the argument.

 

The possibility (probability, really) of the website being abused by women seeking revenge via false accusations has "no place in the argument"?  On what basis?  Are rape victims' interests so sacrosanct that others' interests mustn't even be mentioned in related contexts?

 

My objection is that Don should have also stressed the fact that the publicity surrounding false rape accusations promotes greater skepticism of rape accusations in general (including those that aren't false).

 

Something vital to consider in regards to the rape storyline--people didn't need the woman's website to allege anonymous rape allegations. Her website wasn't the only forum for people to post anonymously on the internet, it was just an aggregator for a certain type of anonymous post. Getting rid of her website wouldn't stop 2% of people from making false allegations, it would just make it more difficult for the 98% of people with real allegations to make their voices heard.

 

That argument cuts both ways.  As you noted, her website wasn't the only forum for people to post anonymously on the Internet, so getting rid of it wouldn't have prevented the 98% of people with real allegations from making their voices heard.  (If a rape occurs in city x, state y, reporting it via a website targeting residents of city x or state y probably would be a more effective means of disseminating this information to relevant parties.)  It would, however, reduce the likelihood of enticing people beyond the existing 2% from fabricating rape accusations.

 

Many people (including fictional character Don) are talking about the 2% of victims who are falsely accused of sexual assault and their inability to get a job or become athletes or live their dreams.

 

This is utter and complete bullshit. It is so offensively, patently untrue.

 

*Mike Tyson - CONVICTED of rape. Serves a meager 5-year sentence. Gets cast in popular movies (HANGOVER), has a stage show directed by Spike Lee, has an animated show. He's never apologized for his crime, BTW.

*Ben Roethlisberger - Repeated accusations of rape, so heinous that even Roger Goodell (weak NFL commissioner) SUSPENDS his despite the fact that Roethlisberger is never tried in a court of law. Roethlisberger continues to be the starting quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers and continues to sell jerseys with his name on it for millions of dollars.

*Jameis Winston - Accused of rape. Case is viciously covered up by the prosecutors and police. Winston wins a Heisman Trophy a few months later and is on his way to the NFL and million-dollar paydays.

*Jerramy Stevens - Accused of rape in college. Case is particularly vicious. He also gets the Jameis Winston coverup, goes on to be drafted by the Seattle Seahawks and plays in the NFL. Even marries U.S. soccer star Hope Solo.

*Mark Sanchez - Accused of rape in college. He's never charged and goes on to be drafted by the NY Jets. Currently starting as QB for the Philadelphia Eagles. Has a very nice paycheck and dates the likes of Eva Longoria.

 

Yes, I'm giving high-profile examples.

 

Indeed, you are.  And this would be more on-topic in a discussion of professional athletes (and celebrities / wealthy people in general) receiving preferential treatment in the area of criminal prosecution (not limited to sexual assault).

 

No one (in the episode or in this discussion) asserted that all men accused of rape (falsely or otherwise) have their lives shattered.

 

Yes, there ARE men out there who are innocent and whose lives legitimately DO get ruined. What I'm saying is that the myth of "rape accusations ruin innocent men's lives" is exactly that.

 

Are you not seeing a direct contradiction there?

 

It is part of the lies told in this rape culture that we live in when in fact, the exact opposite is true. The majority of men accused of rape go on to live their lives. Some of them have special skills like Roethlisberger and some of them are just paper pushers. The majority of women who ARE raped do not.

 

Please elaborate.  Are you asserting that the majority of rape victims don't "go on to live their lives"?

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I don't understand why the names of accused rapists deserve such Double Secret Probation protocols. Accused murderers and child molestors don't get it.

If someone set up a website to out unprosecuted murderers and child molesters or if a news agency wanted to bring on an accused child molester and the kid who accused him to have it out on live TV, I'd react exactly the same way. It's actually rape victims who get special treatment in the naming issue; the press purposely doesn't name them out of respect and support, as opposed to victims of other crimes who are typically named unless they're minors.

Edited by madam magpie
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If someone set up a website to out unprosecuted murderers and child molestors or if a news agency wanted to bring on an accused child molester and the kid who accused him to have it out on live TV, I'd react exactly the same way. It's actually rape victims who get special treatment in the naming issue; the press purposely doesn't name them out of respect and support, as opposed to victims of other crimes who are typically named unless they're minors.

Rule 412 of the Fed Rules of Evidence also contains special considerations for Sex Abuse victims not provided to other crime victims.

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Rule 412 of the Fed Rules of Evidence also contains special considerations for Sex Abuse victims not provided to other crime victims.

Do you mean not naming rape victims is the law, not just the press's choice? If so, cool. I didn't know that!

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Rule 412. Sex-Offense Cases: The Victim

(a) Prohibited Uses. The following evidence is not admissible in a civil or criminal proceeding involving alleged sexual misconduct:

(1) evidence offered to prove that a victim engaged in other sexual behavior; or

(2) evidence offered to prove a victim’s sexual predisposition.

I'm honestly not sure about the naming issue but more often than not, especially in cases w/ minors, only initials are used when referencing the victim in most court documents and appellate opinions.

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You disagree with Don.  So did Mary, who made essentially the same argument.  Both of them are fictional characters, not Aaron Sorkin himself.

 

 

Don's point was not that he actually believed the accused rapist's account of the events (which, as he conveyed unambiguously, he didn't), but that it wasn't his place to pronounce him guilty.

 

 

You're making Don's point for him.

 

 

Hyberbole aside (Don never questioned Mary's intent behind creating the website, let alone labeled it "evil"), why shouldn't that be mentioned?

 

 

If your objection is that the dialogue seemed out of character for Don, okay.  I don't agree, but I understand the logic.  In your earlier message, you attributed Don's opinion to Aaron Sorkin and responded with the same argument used against Don in the episode.

 

Don's opinion is Aaron Sorkin's opinion, from a writing standpoint. Don is the regular character, set up to be the calm voice of reason to the guest character actress. We know Don, we like Don, we trust Don. Don is our author stand-in, not the guest character. Whoever gets the stronger argument from the show's perspective, that's the author's voice, to me. The other character is just a strawman to prove the author right.

 

I'm a numbers person -- I play odds, I do analyses, I study percentages. So, hearing the false accusation rate is 2% means one would be 48 times more likely to accuse an actual rapist than a non-rapist. That's pretty darn conclusive for me. Therefore, "Think of the poor innocent men!" doesn't hold water to me, when someone accused is 48 times more likely to be guilty than innocent.

 

But going back to the plot, "Think of the poor innocent men!" has no place in the discussion, to me. At that point, they weren't discussing the news or the segment, they were discussing her Web site, and Don thought he'd give his 2 cents about it -- not as a journalist, but as a private citizen and moral arbiter of the law. My argument, and those of others as well, is that was completely independent of why she should not go on the news and more about what type of person she was. The type of person to create a Web site that might one day maybe harm some poor, innocent men. That didn't sit well with me when these hypothetical poor, innocent men are 48 times more likely not to be innocent at all.

Edited by Eolivet
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But going back to the plot, "Think of the poor innocent men!" has no place in the discussion, to me. At that point, they weren't discussing the news or the segment, they were discussing her Web site, and Don thought he'd give his 2 cents about it -- not as a journalist, but as a private citizen and moral arbiter of the law. My argument, and those of others as well, is that was completely independent of why she should not go on the news and more about what type of person she was. The type of person to create a Web site that might one day maybe harm some poor, innocent men. That didn't sit well with me when these hypothetical poor, innocent men are 48 times more likely not to be innocent at all.

 

Not type of person, he was criticising the type of website. The difference is subtle but it's there.

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In retrospect, Will physically standing-up to his "dad," now that we know his dad was physical with his mother, was pretty powerful. Something he was likely never capable of as a child, yet regretted his whole life. 

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The type of person to create a Web site that might one day maybe harm some poor, innocent men. That didn't sit well with me when these hypothetical poor, innocent men are 48 times more likely not to be innocent at all.

 

I think if you are going to do something provocative like using your website for naming alleged rapists, you better sure as heck think about what would happen if someone posted the name of someone who was innocent.  Whether it's a common occurrence or not, all it takes is one innocent person to get listed and have that blow up, and all your credibility is gone.   

 

I'm trying to decide whether it was unintentional comedy to think that Mac, Sloane and Don united their powers to kill Charlie.  I was with Charlie in terms of his argument.  Mac and Sloane used that show for their own petty agenda, and deserved to get fired or, at least, suspended.  It was nice to see a jerk get his comeuppance, but it basically defeats their arguments about the direction of the network earlier in the episode.    

Edited by txhorns79
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Speaking of Charlie dying.... What does everyone think the clause was that Charlie referenced just before he kicked the bucket? Did Ms. Fonda secretly provide him w/ sole authority to make personnel decisions?

There is one other issue w/ the sale of ACN... I know they had to do it to raise the $4 billion needed to buyout the evil step-twins but wouldn't spining off ACN sink the entire hostile takeover deal that the step-twins had worked out anyway by making the parent company not worth as much money and not worth taking over w/out ACN? Hopefully that makes sense.

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Please remember that this is a topic to discuss the episode of Newsroom in question, not to have a heated debate about society. Talk about the episode, your thoughts and feelings about the episode, and things that happened in the episode. We are being really lenient here but in general the majority of your post needs to be about the episode and show.

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With all the heavy stuff going on, I was sadly caught up trying to figure out where I knew the rape victim from. The end credits led me to IMDB, who told me it was Keifer Sutherland's daughter, who has a part on VEEP.

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I was also a little confused about the meeting Marcia Gay Harden arranged for Will in jail with the prosecutor.  Wouldn't she have talked to Will before the meeting?  Wouldn't he have told that he wasn't going to reveal the source, even if the source had died?  Why go to the trouble of wasting everyone's time like that?  Was it all so Marcia Gay Harden could have her little moment where she reveals that she accurately predicted what Will would say?  

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I think if you are going to do something provocative like using your website for naming alleged rapists, you better sure as heck think about what would happen if someone posted the name of someone who was innocent.  Whether it's a common occurrence or not, all it takes is one innocent person to get listed and have that blow up, and all your credibility is gone.

 

Exactly.  And then people will begin to suspect that the actual victims' reports are malicious lies too.  ("Didn't you hear about that website?  Those girls are just making it up for revenge.  What a bunch of lying sluts.")

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In general, I wasn't terribly upset or offended by the presentation of the rape story, as I thought the girl made really valid points and was allowed to have a strong voice. Though I did have a problem with Don unilaterally making the decision to scrap the segment *after* he had already gone to talk to her.  She should have, at that point, had the right to decide for herself. 

 

I also have an issue with Don's "I'm morally obligated to believe him" argument.  No... he's not.  They've stated before on this show (and I agree) that the news isn't obligated to present two sides of an argument as equally valid. Granted, this isn't the same thing as, say, "True or false: Obama is an American citizen... discuss!" but journalists are supposed to get the facts, weigh the evidence, and then present the story in the most accurate way possible. That isn't always the most balanced. And Don should know the statistics on false rape accusations. Considering that, the facts of the case as they were, and his own admission that the guy was sketchy, I have an issue with him being so "moral".  Not to mention, he is essentially contradicting what we have actually seen of him when he said "I'm the guy who believes OJ is innocent because a jury said so".  He didn't believe that Troy Davis was guilty just because a jury said so. In fact he was a fierce advocate for his innocence despite the fact that a jury found him guilty (and I loved him for it).  So, hypocritical and sloppy writing. 

 

I will say, after literally just re-watching the episode as I typed this, that I think Don's decision to say he didn't find the girl was a spur-of-the-moment decision. I think he was going to go into Charlie's office and discuss with him his thoughts on the issue and try to convince Charlie to not do the story. But when he saw how things were going, how upset Charlie got about the Sloan segment, how "unstable" things in the newsroom were and many ways the "rape" segment could go wrong, he just said "no".  Which kinda makes me not quite as annoyed.

 

also... I can't help, given all I've read about Sorkin as well as this latest kerfluffle with the female writer, thinking Sorkin totally thinks women are out to get men and that women DO falsely accuse.  It's just an extension of what I presume to be an at-the-same-time egotistical and insecure person.  I also can't help but see the irony of the "he said/she said" aspect of this latest dust-up. 

 

Finally, I did LOVE Sloan's take down of the app-guy.   And I loved when she told Don "You are my superior, but ONLY in the sense of the organizational chart". Hee... I want to be Sloan when I grow up as well. 

 

But when she said he made almost twice that of the average family of 4, I think what Sorkin MEANT to refer to was the poverty level for a family of 4...which is $23,850. It's actually a little less than half of what the guy made ($55,000?) but much closer to what he was trying to convey? 

Edited by loriro
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I also have an issue with Don's "I'm morally obligated to believe him" argument.  No... he's not.  They've stated before on this show (and I agree) that the news isn't obligated to present two sides of an argument as equally valid. Granted, this isn't the same thing as, say, "True or false: Obama is an American citizen... discuss!" but journalists are supposed to get the facts, weigh the evidence, and then present the story in the most accurate way possible. That isn't always the most balanced. And Don should know the statistics on false rape accusations. Considering that, the facts of the case as they were, and his own admission that the guy was sketchy, I have an issue with him being so "moral".  Not to mention, he is essentially contradicting what we have actually seen of him when he said "I'm the guy who believes OJ is innocent because a jury said so".

This was absolutely my issue as well.

 

Not to mention, Don is supposed to be smart and should know that "not guilty" does not equal "innocent". "Not guilty" means "there isn't proof you committed this crime beyond a reasonable doubt". And as a reporter, with the Troy Davis case and the thousands of other examples that exist, he should know better than to have blind faith in the justice system getting the answer right every time. When it comes to rape, even more so, when you look at not only false rape accusation statistics but the amount of assaults that go entirely unreported. If someone close to him, like Sloan, ever revealed that they had been assaulted in the past but chose not to seek legal recourse for whatever reason (the stigma, the circumstances, the trauma...) would he have the same reaction and assume they are lying by default because he is "morally obligated"?

Edited by crashboom
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He didn't believe that Troy Davis was guilty just because a jury said so. In fact he was a fierce advocate for his innocence despite the fact that a jury found him guilty

Right, because what matters to Don is the falsely accused. That's why he went on to defend the hypothetical falsely accused here too.

Speaking of Charlie dying.... What does everyone think the clause was that Charlie referenced just before he kicked the bucket? Did Ms. Fonda secretly provide him w/ sole authority to make personnel decisions?

There is one other issue w/ the sale of ACN... I know they had to do it to raise the $4 billion needed to buyout the evil step-twins but wouldn't spining off ACN sink the entire hostile takeover deal that the step-twins had worked out anyway by making the parent company not worth as much money and not worth taking over w/out ACN? Hopefully that makes sense.

I think (but can't swear to this; I'm waiting to see what happens in the finale) that if Leona sold ACN to Pruitt, she could afford to buy out the twins. So she kept the parent company, and the takeover didn't happen.

As for Charlie, the sale must have been contingent on his being the decider about who stays and goes, but that seemed weird to me. Why would Pruitt agree to that? Especially since he'd already gotten so much pushback.

Edited by madam magpie
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Right, because what matters to Don is the falsely accused. That's why he went on to defend the hypothetical falsely accused here too.

 

And I get that and would have had no problem if he had said that... advocated, using Troy Davis as an example, for the falsely accused. But he specifically used the example of a jury saying someone was innocent so he believed it. And he didn't use just anyone as an example. He used OJ!!! Specifically I assume to illustrate how extreme his "belief" in the system/"morals" are.  As in...we all *know* OJ did it ("OJ DID IT! That's right, I said it!" Sorry... Barbershop reference!), but I *have* to believe in the innocence of someone even if I know it to be a bunch of bullish*t (just because one falsely accused is too much to bear???)   OJ was the farthest thing from "falsely accused" he could think of, so his comparison goes off the rails there for me.

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In general, I wasn't terribly upset or offended by the presentation of the rape story, as I thought the girl made really valid points and was allowed to have a strong voice. Though I did have a problem with Don unilaterally making the decision to scrap the segment *after* he had already gone to talk to her.  She should have, at that point, had the right to decide for herself. 

 

I'm staying away from this controversy for the most part, but feel I should make the point that Don did not scrap the segment.  He told the victim "You'll be hearing from us".  After the Sloan/ACNgage business it was obvious that Sloan would be walking and he knew he would if she did, so the white lie of "nope, couldn't find her" never meant they couldn't or wouldn't send someone else down to find her (which they could, if they were any good) and do the segment as originally planned.  He just let himself out of it.

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