Tuesday, February 26, 2002
New York The creator of NBC's political drama "The West Wing" criticizes his own network's anchorman, Tom Brokaw, and President Bush in published comments.
Aaron Sorkin called Brokaw's special, "The Bush White House: Inside the Real West Wing," a "valentine" to George W. Bush.
"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 ï¿½ the show was a valentine to Bush," Sorkin said in The New Yorker magazine.
"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, or that he, by God, showed those terrorists by going to Salt Lake City and jumbling the first line of the Olympic ceremony," he said. "The media is waving pompoms, and the entire country is being polite."
Brokaw's special aired Jan. 23 in the time slot immediately preceding "The West Wing." Although its title ties in to the popular drama, Brokaw has done similar behind-the-scenes specials for every president back to Richard Nixon.
NBC acknowledged in the show's opening that Bush's schedule had been packed more heavily than usual for the benefit of the cameras ï¿½ as had been done with other presidents.
Brokaw declined to comment Monday on Sorkin's statement. Neither NBC, Sorkin nor "The West Wing" producers, Warner Bros. Television, were saying anything more, either.
Sorkin, who was allowed to enter a drug treatment program last year instead of serving prison time for possession of cocaine and hallucinogenic mushrooms, said in the magazine that he believed Bush was handling the current crisis well and that "it's absolutely right that at this time we're all laying off the bubblehead jokes."