The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin was contacted by both Joe Paterno’s son and Gabrielle Giffords’ husband following the airing of The Newsroom 1×04, “I’ll Try to Fix You.” The episode, which aired on July 15, addressed the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords on January 8, 2011.
THR reports that Aaron Sorkin recieved an email from Giffords’ husband Mark Kelly, who described his reaction to that particular episode. “In that instance, he obviously had a much more personal connection to what was happening on the screen than the average viewer,” Sorkin says. On how the email affected him, Sorkin adds, “It meant the world to me.”
Kelly wasn’t the only person touched by the emotional episode. Sorkin also received a call from Jay Paterno, son of Joe Paterno, the late Penn State football coach. Fans may remember that the Penn State scandal was not included in The Newsroom season 1. However, Paterno had faced a similar situation to that shown in the episode, when his father’s death was reported prematurely.
Jay Paterno said he was particularly moved by the line spoken by Don, Thomas Sadoski’s character:
“A doctor pronounces her dead. Not the news.”
You can watch the emotional scene from The Newsroom 1×04 below, which features Coldplay’s “Fix You.” The line from Thomas Sadoski which Paterno found so moving is at 4.20.
It is easy to forget that while the real news headlines featured on The Newsroom make the show more relatable, there will also be viewers who experienced the events firsthand. For those viewers, watching the show must be an entirely different experience. It is both interesting and moving to hear when those involved are so appreciative of Sorkin’s treatment of particular stories.
What kind of reaction did you experience when you watched this episode? Are you surprised that Paterno and Kelly reached out to Sorkin to share their reactions?