That Insufferable Viral “Newsroom” Clip

Hey, everybody. You know that Jeff Daniels clip from The Newsroom that people love to quote? The one that says America only leads the world in defense spending, incarcerated citizens, and belief in angels? I actually heard some puffed up radio host authoritatively reproducing that list without attribution a while ago as though it were the final word on American decline.  

The guy who wrote that bit left a couple of things off. For example, America leads the world in economic output with a population of only 300 million (China and India both have a billion or so). We also lead the world in innovation. IBM is an American company. Intel is an American company. Apple is an American company. We could go on.  The American contribution to the world speaks pretty loudly.  Technology, medicines, agriculture, and more.

But let’s imagine that we did want to indict America.  Why be satisfied with the list provided by the pen of Aaron Sorkin?  Why not harp on our high number of abortions or our high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, for example?  The answer is obvious.  Such a list would not serve the secular/left orientation embodied in the jeremiad at issue.