MER Comment
The big winner this year, 'The West Wing':


The force behind NBC's WEST WING is blasting off against the real West Wing in upcoming pages
of the NEW YORKER, which names Aaron Sorkin "the country's loyal opposition."

NY'ER reporter Tad Friend has penned a high-impact Talk of the Town set for release in March 4

Sorkin, the creatorproducerwriter of WEST WING, tells Friend: "It's absolutely right that at
this time we're all laying off the [Bush] bubblehead jokes. But that's a far cry from what the
Times and CNN and others on whom we rely for unvarnished objectivity are telling us, which is
that 'My God! On September 12th he woke up as Teddy Roosevelt! He became the Rough Rider!'"

Of NBC's own look at a day in the life of the Presidency, 'The Bush White House: Inside the
Real West Wing,' which aired as the lead-in to a WEST WING repeat a few weeks ago, Sorkin
charges: "The White House pumped up the President's schedule to show him being much busier and
more engaged than he is, and Tom Brokaw let it happen?"

Sorkin continues: "The show was a valentine to Bush. That illusion may be what we need right
now, but the truth is we're simply pretending to believe that Bush exhibited unspeakable
courage at the World Series by throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, or that he, by
God, showed those terrorists by going to Salt Lake City and jumbling the first line of the
Olympic opening ceremony.

"The media is waving pom-poms, and the entire country is being polite," Sorkin declares.

"I just began reading Frank Bruni's campaign book AMBLING INTO HISTORY: THE UNLIKELY ODYSSEY OF
GEORGE W. BUSH which begins with Candidate Bush at a service in Texas for seven people who were
killed in a church by a crazy gunman. Bruni describes Bush making goofy faces at the press, and
it reminds you of a junior high schooler on a museum field trip."

Sorkin tells the mag that he is planning to revisit the BUSH-GORE Florida showdown in an
upcoming episode.

President Josiah Bartlet [played by actor Martin Sheen, who has called Bush a white knuckled
drunk] is up for re-election this November. "Bartlet is going to be running against Governor
Robert Ritchie, of Florida, who's not the sharpest tool in the box but who's raised a lot of
money and is very popular with the Republican Party,? Sorkin says.

"It was frustrating watching Gore try so hard not to appear smart in the debates. Why not just
say" 'Here's my fucking résumé, what do you got?' We're a completely fictional, nonpolitical
show, but one of our motors is doing our version of the old Mad magazine 'Scenes We'd Like to
See.' And so to an extent we're going to rerun the last election and try a few different plays
than the Gore campaign did."