The 112th Congress

Episode Report Card
Sara M: B- | 25 USERS: D
Judge Not

May 4, 2010. All the other news shows spent lots of time on the Times Square bomb attempt and even sent their anchors to Times Square to cover it, but NewsNight gave it just three minutes, told viewers not to worry, and informed them that one of the people who saw something and said something to alert the police to the presence of the bomb was Muslim. "That's called squandering an opportunity," Reese says, and we go to the NewsNight daily pitch meeting, already in progress when Maggie finally decides to show up. MacKenzie says the only "important facts" are that the guy acted on his own, trained in Pakistan, but isn't connected to a terror network. And "the system worked" because the bomb didn't go off and the suspect has been arrested. Kendra points out that the suspect shouldn't have been able to get on the plane at all when 10 hours ago, he was placed on the no fly list. Jim says that's totally fine. The airline hadn't updated its files, so the no fly list addition wasn't in them yet. But Customs and Border Protection did the second check and found him there. "That's the system working," he says. Because everyone did what he was supposed to and tragedy was avoided (although I, like Kendra, am not cool with the airlines not updating their no fly lists in a more timely fashion), MacKenzie says they should only devote three minutes of airtime to it. Oh, I see how it is. When things go wrong, like the oil spill, they'll make it their entire show. When things go right, it's not worth NewsNight's time.

Will agrees with MacKenzie's decision, even though it is, as she admits, "the boring version of the story." This is now a point of pride for these lunatics, so boring version it is! Oh, except that Maggie wants to speak now. Her eyes bugging out and her hand shaking, she says that they might want to mention that the T-shirt vendor who called the police and alerted them to the bomb-filled car in Times Square was tipped off by a photo vendor who is an immigrant from Senegal and Muslim. He didn't have a cell phone to call the police, so he asked the T-shirt vendor to call for him. "If the religion of the bomber is important, then so is the religion of the guy who saved everyone's life," Maggie says. Meanwhile, Maggie only got this story because she read it in a Pakistani blog and on the Times of London's website, so, way to report by reading everyone else's reporting, Maggie.

Back in the meeting, Matt Long reports that right-wing outlets were not happy with NewsNight for daring to suggest that not all Muslims are terrorists. The ratings declined by seven percent, essentially losing the audience Will gained when he flipped out at Northwestern. Did they stop watching because they hate heroic Muslims or because Will was doing, admittedly, a "boring version of the news?" Charlie says that the broadcast was praised by such media experts as Media Matters, Think Progress, Howard Kurtz and a little publication called Columbia Journalism Review. Well! If CJR says it's good then I am SOLD. CJR is your one-stop-shop for media excellence. I hear some pretty amazing television recappers work there, so you know it's legit. Reese asks if any of those outlets advertise on ACN. Charlie, not getting Reese's point, says they don't advertise anywhere. Reese continues that it was also around this time that Will had an "epiphany" about the Tea Party.

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