A writer for HBO’s “The Newsroom” — a show accused of being unfair in its portrayal of conservatives — is admitting that the television program’s writers relied on the liberal blog ThinkProgress to do research for the series.
“Your reporting and archiving was vital to the research we did,” Gideon Yago, a writer for the show, said on Twitter this week to ThinkProgress staffer Adam Peck.
HBO’s new series portrays a fictional newsroom at the Atlantis Cable News channel. Aaron Sorkin, who wrote “The West Wing,” is the show’s lead writer.
The revelation that the show’s writers relied heavily on the work of the liberal advocacy blog will likely come as no surprise to conservatives.
The show’s most recent episode spent a great deal of time criticizing tea partiers and Republicans for being too far outside the mainstream during the 2010 elections. In response to the show, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee complained to HBO for what he says was a false portrayal of his views.
Also during that episode, actor Sam Waterston — who plays a news executive in the series — went out of his way to cite ThinkProgress. “Media Matters, Think Progress, Howard Kurtz and the Columbia Journalism Review all praised our coverage of the Times Square bomb,” he said.
But critics have been quick to point out the hilarious implication of Waterson’s character Charlie Skinner referring to Media Matters and ThinkProgress — two liberal advocacy organizations — as objective media observers.
“With no apparent sense of sarcasm, Skinner repeats praise for their restraint from Media Matters and Think Progress, as if those explicitly liberal websites are nonideological arbiters of Edward R. Murrow’s legacy,” ABC News White House reporter Jake Tapper wrote in a critical review of the show for The New Republic.
But because of the mention, Peck, the ThinkProgress writer, took to Twitter to thank Yago for “the ThinkProgress shoutout on last night’s episode!”
“My pleasure and thank you!” Yago said.
The Daily Caller put in a request to interview Sorkin about the conservative criticism of the show, but publicist Joy Fehily said Wednesday that “he isn’t available.”