Josh is in a meeting with three other people. I assume two of them are Rossiter and Warren. He explains that he was surprised by Andy's nose count, because he wasn't aware that either of them had ties to tobacco. They both say they don't. One of the guys is played by Robert Walden, who also played Joe Rossi on Lou Grant. I used to have a bit of a crush on him when I was in high school. But I also had a crush on Animal (remember the photographer in that newsroom?), not to mention various and sundry obnoxious, long-haired rock stars, including Rod Stewart and David Lee Roth, so you can see that perhaps my judgment wasn't entirely, um, sound. ["My mom loved Animal!" -- Wing Chun] Good thing I'm all grown up and over [cough] Anthony Kiedis [cough] that. Anyway, I hope it's him that's playing Rossiter; I bet that's a little joke by Aaron Sorkin. The other guy points out that they're both former U.S. Attorneys, and that they find the suit itself troubling. It's nice to see Sorkin muddying the waters a bit here, and not making everybody who doesn't support the case automatically a puppet of Big Tobacco. That's not to say most of them aren't, though, just that I like it when things aren't always presented as black and white, good and evil. Warren would like to know exactly how the Justice Department plans to prove that the merchants of death have been engaged in a "broad conspiracy of lies" since the 1950s. Mind you, he doesn't call them "merchants of death"; that's my own colourful expression. If the shoe fits... Josh says, "Well, I'm not a litigator, and I don't work at the Justice Department, and there's a reason why both those things are true, but I wouldn't think it'd be that hard to prove that the tobacco companies have lied, since we already know they did." Rossiter says that every Sturgeon General since 1964 has warned the public about smoking, and that cigarette packages have had to carry warning labels since 1966: "Turning around now and saying we've been had is, frankly, ridiculous." Josh asks, "Are you saying that people who start smoking and get addicted to nicotine are too stupid to live?" Rossiter: "No. I'm saying they're too stupid to be protected by the courts." Now Josh is mad: "Too stupid to be...! Every day, the Justice Department uncovers evidence that cigarette companies knew far better than the rest of us that smoking causes death and disease, to say nothing of the CEOs being the last seven people to discover that nicotine was addictive." I'm trying to resist getting on a soapbox here, because the evils perpetrated by tobacco companies are one of my biggest issues, but I have to say, since Josh brought it up, that the testimony given by some of those real-life CEOs struck me as some of the most egregious instances of corruption, mendacity, and fraud ever to occur. In the history of the world. I don't know how those scumsucking bastards live with themselves. Okay. Calm blue ocean. Calm blue ocean. Back to the show. Warren says that the government wants to prosecute the case in order to score points at the expense of an industry that funds Republicans, and calls it "politically correct extortion." He says it's unlikely that the appropriations bill will make it out of the Subcommittee. Josh silently takes this in, and then glances at his watch: "It's almost three o'clock. By seven, 3,000 new people will have taken up smoking; 2,800 of them will be under eighteen." He lets that sink in, and then says, "Thanks," gets up, and leaves.
Episode Report CardDeborah: A | 714 USERS: B-
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