If there’s any such thing as a national consensus anymore, surely it is this: The 2016 presidential election has been one embarrassment after another for the United States. The Republican Party—no stranger to unmitigated disaster—really outdid itself this year, watching powerlessly as Donald Trump steered the clown car off a bridge. Meanwhile, the chair of the Democratic National Committee is working tirelessly on behalf of payday loan companies, and the party’s near-certain nominee can’t think of a better way to fight a resurgence of full-on white supremacy than schoolyard insults. As for the media, the race’s most gifted prognosticator turned out to be Carl “the Dig” Diggler, a self-proclaimed “insider beltway hack” who doesn’t actually exist. The state of the union is not good. But there is one silver lining, one tattered flag still waving o’er the ramparts: The Newsroom has been canceled. Fictional anchor Will McAvoy is off the air.
There will never be a single episode of Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series about anything that happened during this unzipped fly of a primary. The hapless Neal Sampat will never be thrown out of a Trump rally. Financial reporter Sloan Sabbith won’t explain America’s crushing student loan burden. MacKenzie McHale will not grimace her way through a guest appearance from Ted Cruz, nor will ratings expert Reese Lansing push News Night to devote more and more of its coverage to Donald Trump. And most importantly of all, centrist anchor Will McAvoy will never, ever give a sanctimonious speech blaming both sides, ostensibly excoriating the media while simultaneously reassuring them (music swells) that they are the prime mover in American politics (music swells more) and that the citizenry is waiting to hear a sensible, savvy anchor (music is really, really swollen now) patiently explain the tough choices we have to make (music is fully erect; everyone in the control booth gazes at the monitors rapturously) because more than jobs or education or climate change or outright highway robbery, what matters in America is civility (the entire staff of News Night gives a standing ovation as confetti rains down). We will never see that speech on HBO.
It will be delivered on Bloomberg News instead, when Jeff Daniels will reprise his role by special request of the only journalist centrist enough to coax Will McAvoy from retirement: Mark Halperin.