The Newsroom 2012 - Disculpas / Apologies (subs. incl.)

The Newsroom 2012 – Disculpas / Apologies (subs. incl.)

I welcome these hearings
because of the opportunity that they provide
to the American people to better understand why
the tragedy of 9/11 happened and what we must do
to prevent a reoccurrence. I also welcome the hearings
because it is finally a forum where I can apologize to the loved ones
of the victims of 9/11. To them who are here
in the room, to those who are
watching on television, your government failed you. Those entrusted
with protecting you failed you. And I failed you. Good evening.
I'm Will McAvoy. This is News Night,
and that was a clip of Richard Clarke,
former counterterrorism chief to President George W. Bush, testifying before Congress
on March 24, 2004. Americans liked that moment. I liked that moment. Adults should hold themselves
accountable for failure. And so tonight I'm beginning
this newscast by joining Mr. Clarke
in apologizing to the American people
for our failure. The failure of this program during
the time I've been in charge of it to successfully inform and educate
the American electorate. Let me be clear
that I don't apologize on behalf of all
broadcast journalists, nor do all broadcast
journalists owe an apology. I speak for myself. I was an accomplice to a slow
and repeated and unacknowledged and unamended train wreck
of failures that have brought us to now. I'm a leader in an industry
that miscalled election results, hyped up terror scares,
ginned up controversy, and failed to report on tectonic
shifts in our country. From the collapse of
the financial system to the truths
about how strong we are to the dangers
we actually face. I'm a leader in an industry
that misdirected your attention with
the dexterity of Harry Houdini while sending hundreds of thousands
of our bravest young men and women off to war without
due diligence. The reason we failed
isn't a mystery. We took a dive for the ratings. In the infancy
of mass communications, the Columbus and Magellan
of broadcast journalism, William Paley
and David Sarnoff, went down to Washington
to cut a deal with Congress. Congress would allow
the fledgling networks free use of taxpayer-owned
airwaves in exchange for one
public service. That public service would
be one hour of air time set aside every night
for informational broadcasting, or what we now call
the evening news. Congress, unable to anticipate
the enormous capacity television would have to deliver
consumers to advertisers, failed to include in its deal
the one requirement that would have changed
our national discourse immeasurably for the better. Congress forgot to add
that under no circumstances could there be paid advertising during informational
broadcasting. They forgot to say that taxpayers
will give you the airwaves for free and for 23 hours a day
you should make a profit, but for one hour a night
you work for us. And now those
network newscasts, anchored through history
by honest-to-God newsmen with names like Murrow
and Reasoner and Huntley and Brinkley and Buckley
and Cronkite and Rather and Russert– Now they have to
compete with the likes of me. A cable anchor who's
in the exact same business as the producers
of Jersey Shore. And that business
was good to us, but News Night is quitting
that business right now. It might come
as a surprise to you that some of history's greatest
American journalists are working right now, exceptional minds
with years of experience and an unshakeable devotion
to reporting the news. But these voices
are a small minority now and they don't stand a chance
against the circus when the circus comes to town.
They're overmatched. I'm quitting the circus
and switching teams. I'm going with the guys
who are getting creamed. I'm moved that they still
think they can win and I hope they can teach
me a thing or two. From this moment on, we'll be
deciding what goes on our air and how it's presented to you
based on the simple truth that nothing is more
important to a democracy than a well-informed
electorate. We'll endeavor to put information
in a broader context because we know that very
little news is born at the moment
it comes across our wire. We'll be the champion of facts and the mortal enemy
of innuendo, speculation, hyperbole, and nonsense. We're not waiters
in a restaurant serving you the stories you asked for
just the way you like them prepared. Nor are we computers
dispensing only the facts because news is only useful in
the context of humanity. I'll make no effort to subdue
my personal opinions. I will make every effort
to expose you to informed opinions that
are different from my own. You may ask who are we
to make these decisions. We are Mackenzie McHale
and myself. Miss McHale
is our executive producer. She marshals the resources
of over 100 reporters, producers,
analysts, technicians, and her credentials
are readily available. I'm News Night's
managing editor and make the final decision
on everything seen and heard on this program. Who are we to make
these decisions? We're the media elite. We'll be back after this
with the news.


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