When is the news of the day not the real news of the day?
In a glaring irony, the popular fictitious show actually faked a news story to portray the real-life news site WND as fabricating the news.
“The Newsroom,” which stars Jeff Daniels as the main anchor for Atlantic Cable News, centers on the everyday exploits of network TV journalists.
In its fifth episode of the season which aired Sunday night, the plot had its executive producer Don Keefer (played by actor Thomas Sadowski) dealing with an out-of-control joke about an Obama appointee that supposedly was taken seriously by WorldNetDaily.
“The Newsroom” used real WND graphics to forge its fabricated story whenever it displayed the site’s content on the air.
In the storyline, Keefer said he never called any WND editor, not even being sure whether the news agency would even have an editor.
(Watch this clip from “The Newsroom” as it mocks WND. WARNING: Graphic language at end:)
When urged by a colleague to call WorldNetDaily, Keefer does so, saying, "I'm calling a guy named Munch. I'm not gonna make it out of this call alive."
"I was just being hyperbolic," Keefer tells Munch (who, in reality, does not exist at WND). "I didn't think there was any way I'd be taken seriously."
Munch replies, "The thing is, we've got it from multiple sources."
The producer explains to the fictitious WND editor that the news site's reporting about the appointee and a group called "Righteous Daughters of Jihadi Excellence" is erroneous.
The WND editor again stresses the agency has "multiple sources" and that "It turns out your joke was right on the money."
Keefer then goes ballistic, yelling, "I made up the f---ing name, David. There's no such thing as the Righteous Daughters. What the f--- is wrong with you?"
One media analyst who watched the episode noted the irony, saying, "They're accusing WND of reporting a story that wasn't real. And that is what they just did."
Earlier in the episode, more dirt was thrown on WND, when Keefer's colleague Neal Sampat (played by Dev Patel) noted, "Keeping in mind that WorldNetDaily reported that Obama murdered his gay lover."
(Watch another clip from "The Newsroom" as it mocks WND. WARNING: Graphic language at the start:)
Keefer responded: "No he didn't murder him. He had him murdered and it wasn't his gay lover. It was his husband."
"So they got other facts wrong, too?" asked Sampat.
"Yeah," said Keefer.
WND's real-life CEO Joseph Farah commented on HBO's targeting of his news agency, saying:
"I don't watch HBO or subscribe to it because of the way it exploits women with pornographic content and corrupts minds with salacious programming. But I've read the description of this episode of 'The Newsroom,' and have the following comments based on that: Too many Americans are getting their news and opinions from purely entertainment shows today. And HBO is apparently attempting to jaundice people's opinions of the first and largest independent Internet news agency with episode 5 of the second season of 'The Newsroom,' which mischaracterizes WND in a subplot that dominates a third of the show.
"But here's the irony of ironies: Here's a TV show about a fake newsroom accusing a real newsroom of making up stories. Hello? I've spent my entire life actually working in real newsrooms, leading them, directing them, doing actual reporting – not playing a reporter or editor on TV. WND's actual newsroom is comprised of actual journalists who have worked in actual newsrooms for most of their lives. They don't make up stories.
"I'll have more comment when I have a chance to watch the episode. First, I will make sure no innocent children are around, as is necessary with most HBO programming. But this is clearly an attempt to smear our work. Why? Presumably the motive has to do with our effectiveness. We must be hitting a nerve in the corporate boardrooms of HBO or in the fertile imaginations of the morally bankrupt writers of 'The Newsroom.'
"I suggest people read WND and make up their own minds about it."
No one from HBO was available for comment.
"The Newsroom" was created by Aaron Sorkin, known for other Hollywood works such as "The West Wing" TV series, and movies such as "A Few Good Men," "The Social Network" and "The American President."
HBO has a strong tie to President Obama.
Obama nominated and the Senate confirmed James Costos, HBO's vice president of global licensing and retail, as U.S. ambassador to Spain.
Costos is a homosexual who along with his partner, noted designer Michael Smith, raised at least $500,000 for Obama's re-election campaign in the 2012 cycle, according to Variety.
Before Costos got the job in Spain, the Washington Post noted, "There's a grand tradition of presidents rewarding their biggest donors with choice ambassadorships. And Obama would have plenty of gay donors (like power couple Michael Smith, the famed decorator, and HBO exec James Costos, who were among his biggest bundlers) to choose from to fill some of the choicer embassies around the globe."