If You Asked Her, I'll Bet Your Daughter Would Reset Your Homepage for You

The most overpraised science fiction writer in America today is Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the alternate-history TV show The West Wing and author of the social network, a fear dot com-style cyber-horror film about a website that sucks out people's souls. (The latter was directed by David Fincher, an old genre hand who cut his teeth on the Alien series.) For some reason, The Atlantic asked Sorkin to describe his media diet. He replied with the same absence of imagination that characterizes his scripts. For example:

When I read the Times or The Wall Street Journal, I know those reporters had to have cleared a very high bar to get the jobs they have. When I read a blog piece from "BobsThoughts.com," Bob could be the most qualified guy in the world but I have no way of knowing that because all he had to do to get his job was set up a website--something my 10-year-old daughter has been doing for 3 years.

Yes, he said this: "I have no way of knowing that." Because it's not as though BobsThoughts.com is embedded in a vast network of data, feedback, and reputation that just might serve as a guide. If you want to know Bob's qualifications for sharing his thoughts, the only metric that matters is who hired him. With a job at The New York Times, he's bound to be at least as reliable as Judith Miller and at least as thoughtful as Thomas Friedman.

More Sorkin pensées:

"The homepage on my web browser is Yahoo, which I'm told it shouldn't be, but I've just been too lazy to change it."

"As the saying goes, the problem with free speech is that you get what you pay for."

"I've been just as proud when my friend, Peggy Noonan, puts country before party and journalism before everything."

And then there's this unselfconscious moment:

Not to be unoriginal but Beck and Limbaugh are eye-poppingly awful. It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans.

I hate to break this to you, Aaron, but you aren't exactly overflowing with affection yourself.

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  • ||

    lol, I bet you are right dude. Seriously.

    www.internet-privacy.at.tc

  • In Time of War||

    Thought I'd just jump in here and mention there is no bobsthoughts.com.
    Just sayin'

  • PIRS||

    But godaddy.com will sell you that domain if you want it.

  • Joe M||

    Cutting edge thought from a butter knife.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Get ready for Sorkin's next love letter to antiquated 20th century institutions, "The Newspaper," coming this fall to NBC.

  • yonemoto||

    hey, POTUS is an antiquated 18th century insitution!

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    It's a newsroom and it's on HBO.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Although I got that from his wikipedia article so it could be seven kinds of bull.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    the problem with free speech is

    A six word sentence fragment immediately and irrevocably disqualifying anything else the asshat in question might have to say, on any topic whatsoever.

  • ||

    The problemn with free speech is that Aaron Sorkin has it.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    I stand corrected. ;)

  • ||

    Credentialism FTW!

  • ||

    It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans.

    This could only be spoken by someone who has been careful to avoid actually listening to Limbaugh and Beck.

    And someone who misses the point that all government micromanagement is grounded in contempt for Americans, based as it is on the belief that we are just too stupid to manage our own lives and need Our Benevolent Masters to keep us from starving en masse in the streets after getting kicked out of our houses.

  • OO||

    "all government micromanagement is grounded in contempt for Americans"
    _
    u mean like the corps of engineers managing historic high waters? or maybe u mean NRC inspectors helping the japanese? or perhaps u mean ur happy w the MMS inspectors NOT properly inspecting blow-out preventors? or...

  • ||

    Yes because some government activities are good and necessary all government activities are good and necessary. That is some fantastic logic there.

  • Wind Rider||

    That's not logic, fantastic or otherwise. That's the confused state of being able to tell between shit and shinola.

  • ||

    I'll bet OO prefers the taste of shinola.

  • OO||

    RC's statement was that absolute.

  • T||

    You can't understand what the word 'micromanagement' means in his sentence, can you?

    Jesus, my dogs present better arguments than you do.

  • Dog||

    Woof, therefore woof.

  • Dogcartes||

    I bark, therefore I lick my own balls.

  • ||

    Wasn't the original quote "arf, therefore woof"?

    I'll crawl back to my hole now.

  • OO||

    i understand what u DONT want it to mean. RC's statement is false. I correctly challenged him.

  • sarcasmic||

    RC's statement was about government's micromanagement in the affairs of the average American.

    You challenged him with things that were not examples of government's micromanagement in the affairs of the average American.

    I must conclude that you are a moron.

  • OO||

    ur conclusion & fiddy cents will buy some coffee

  • sarcasmic||

    Now if you had challenged him with examples of government's micromanagement in the affairs of the average American and made an argument that these were not grounded in contempt, then I might not have concluded that you are a moron.

    But you didn't.

  • OO||

    read my specific examples of micro-management NOT GROUNDED IN CONTEMPT up thread. effing threaded comments, how do it work?

  • sarcasmic||

    The first is reacting to a natural disaster, the second is aiding a foreign nation in reacting to a natural disaster, the third involves a school bus sized piece of specialized equipment under nearly a mile of water.

    None of which qualify as "government micromanagement" in context of the average American.

    Seriously dude, you should quit while you're behind.

  • Almanian||

    Urine, you're sooooooo fucking stupid so often.

    I am disappoint. Get with the program, Urine! Get some GAME!

  • OO||

    i live not to disappoint almanian.

  • sarcasmic||

    If there is something that you do not want government to do, then obviously you do not want the government to do anything at all.

    Defined and limited government is no government.

  • Almanian||

    SOMALIA!!!!11! CHAOS!!!! CHILDREN SETTING THE ELDERLY ON FIRE IN THE STREETS TO PROVIDE A MEAL FOR THEIR FAMILY!!!

    ROOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDDDDZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!one!!ELEVENTYSEVEN111!!!

  • Cliché Bandit||

    dude, I am at work and the people around me are thinking I am insane because I laught for no reason.

  • yonemoto||

    and to think how hard you would have laughed if he didn't forget ROADS! ROADS!

  • Shocked||

    Ditto

  • United States of Somalia||

    Ummmm, barbecue solyent green…

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Does this qualify as reductio ad Somaliaum? 'Cause I think we should start delimiting that very useful neologism. (Ok. Not neologism. But I'm not sure of the proper term.)

  • ||

    I'd call it a fictusism. Which is a neologism.

  • OO||

    i musta kicked the pig for this much squealing!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Reductio ad baconium.

  • Platypus||

    and an Ad Haminem as well.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Well played, Platy. Well played.

  • Sparky||

    Sounds delicious. I don't think you can reference bacon in a negative way.

  • ||

    Bob could be the most qualified guy in the world but I have no way of knowing that because

    I am incapable of independently analyzing or verifying what he says, because I am a moron.

  • ||

    ^^THIS^^

  • Shocked||

    Sorokin believes that because he has "credentials" everyone will like what he produces. He's just projecting his self worth on to others.

  • not you||

    so when sorkin was bartending on broadway and writing (his only good play/script) 'a few good men', no one shouldve ever bought that script because no one had ever hired him to do anything other than make me a dry martini. what a mysogynistic (unrelated, but still true) ass hat

  • ||

    He wrote that piece of shit? Maybe while he was bar tending he should have learned something about the military and the military court system. God that movie is a joke.

  • not you||

    its a great story/plot, which the social network was way short on. i know absolutley nothing about military law, so not commenting on that

  • ||

    I hate almost all court room movies. there are a couple I can stand to watch. But they always get them wrong. And they really got that one wrong. I couldn't get over that.

  • Matt Welch||

    "A Few Good Men" is right down there with "Field of Dreams," "American Beauty," and "Driving Miss Daisy" in the actively-terrible-yet-acclaimed-movies list.

  • ||

    The only thing people remember about that movie is "You Can't Handle the Truth" which is remembered for being over the top funny not over the top good.

  • Sudden||

    Jack Nicholson is a Lakers fan, you can't expect such people to have any redeeming talent whatsoever.

    He must've been a Clippers fan while making One Flew Over The Cookoo's Nest.

  • Sudden||

    And Easy Rider

  • ||

    I think you need to include "Forrest Gump" on that list, with extra points for inexplicably spawning a chain of theme restaurants.

  • ||

    Seriously, what the hell is that all about? There's a Bubba Gump smack dab in the middle of Breckenridge, Colo.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    the actively-terrible-yet-acclaimed-movies list.

    See also: Gandhi.

  • ||

    I liked Gandhi.

  • Ted S.||

    Gandhi isn't so much terrible as it is targeted at junior high students.

  • Wind Rider||

    Sorkin laying groundwork for his later statements professing to be an ignorant moron. AFGM certainly proves he didn't know a damned thing about the military, military law, the functioning of the JAG corps, Gitmo, even before it became a petting zoo, and softball.

  • Matt Squelch||

    Except that American Beauty was a god-tier movie.

  • ||

    I love American Beauty...

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Don't forget The Hurt Locker and The King's Speech!

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Titanic and Avatar!

  • ||

    Won't watch either. Yet I like Aliens.

  • ||

    Titanic and Avatar are crimes against the universe.

  • The Universe||

    In retaliation I am going to make some poor human create a television show about a screwed up family. Mostly women with a former Olympian as a part time father. To make it catchy I will have all of the women have names that start with K and an overblown sense of self-worth.

    Take that humans.

  • Apple||

    Crash gets my vote for the worst movie to ever win a best picture Oscar.

  • not you||

    would never consider few good men a 'great' movie. certainly shouldnt have been nominated for best pic. but i enjoy it like i enjoy rambo or top gun. million dollar baby would be my worst best pic ever

  • ||

    Jesus Fuck, Matt. I liked "Field of Dreams" and "American Beauty."

    While neither was realistic in any sense of the word, they were both great pieces of escapism. And while Costner is pretty one-dimensional, that movie flowed the way one would hope.

    As far as "American Beauty," what was there not to like? The shallowness of the characters coupled with the complexity of the story made it an enjoyable film. If there's a negative to it, it's the M. Night Shyamalan-style ending, but I won't let that kill an otherwise well-done movie.

  • plasticbag||

    I loved me some "beauty." And even enjoyed "Men." But probably just because the other shit out there is worse.

  • ||

    Funny you bring that up. I went from meteorology to law (like most lawyers) and weather movies would drive me batshit crazy with their inaccuracies--yes, I'm looking at you, Twister--but it's way easier for me to overlook courtroom inaccuracies and just focus on the story. Not really sure why that is.

  • ||

    Twister drove me nuts and I am not even a meteorologist, I just grew up in Kansas and could tell it was ridiculous.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    But it was written by Michael Crichton, so you know that the science was accurate.

  • ||

    Had no idea Crichton wrote it. On a side note, greatest tornado movie ever? The 2002 made-for-TV classic, Atomic Twister. As fast as he is, poor Carl Lewis just couldn't outrun that tornado.

  • ||

    I love super stupid natural forces/disaster flicks. Twister (it had Cary Elwes as a bad guy storm chaser!), Volcano, Dante's Peak...we had a great run of those in the 90s.

  • ||

    When a main character would choose staying with Helen Hunt over being sucked into a vortex, the movie loses all realism.

  • WasabiPeas||

    Yeah, like in the Wizard of Oz, a tornado picked up Dorothy's house and transported it to a magical land. Like that could happen.

  • ||

    I hate almost all court room movies. there are a couple I can stand to watch. But they always get them wrong.

    Ditto that. And the really stupid thing is, they generally don't need to get it wrong to tell a good story. Its just gratuitous stupidity.

  • ||

    The movie that got it fairly close to right was My Cousin Vinny. It is not perfect. But it is close enough not to be grating. I find it funny as hell that with all the thousands of court room dramas Hollywood has made, a slap stick comedy is the only one that came even close to getting it right or at least didn't insult your intelligence.

  • ||

    If I recall correctly, the ABA (or a similar organization) did a survey of lawyers regarding law in movies and My Cousin Vinny actually won for most accurate portrayal of courtroom procedure.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    No lawyer love for Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder? Really?

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    How do lawyers feel about "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "12 Angry Men"? To be fair, the "12 Angry Men" DVD has a special feature that discusses the legality of certain points of the story such as a jury member do his own investigation and experimentation.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    ...referring to Henry Fonda buying the switch-blade and bringing into the jury room.

  • MNG||

    And it introduced us to Marisa Tomei. Thank you, thank you My Cousin Vinny.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    A slap stick comedy set in GREENBOW ALABAMA!

  • plasticbag||

    Yeah, that was good. Don't remember it being 'slapstick' though

  • proegg antichicken||

    My favorite courtroom movie is My Cousin Vinnie. It is the best movie about the act of lawyering I ever did see. Well, except Liar Liar, but nothing tops that one.

  • ||

    I'm no international legal scholar, so could somebody please tell me if this is an accurate portrayal of a Canadian courtroom?

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    Where's the judge's ceremonial bowl of Kraft Dinner?

  • Eric Cartman||

    Does Sorkin strike anyone else as a Jew???

  • Woody Allen||

    No, Jew?

  • Eric Cartman||

    Maybe it's something to do with the way he is clutching that gold statue in the pic.

  • MNG||

    I liked The Social Network but loathed the West Wing, it was a mastubatory leftist fantasy-during the Bush years they could tune in weekly to a two term wise, liberal, principled Democratic President who effectively faced down flat, simplistic GOP carictures while we all learned something about how government works. Puke.

  • Achtung Coma Baby||

    The episode in which Penn & Teller do their flag-burning trick was pretty good.

  • yonemoto||

    if you actually watch the penn and teller trick without the crap surrounding it it's better.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF2iX2VG6e4

  • Somalian Road Corporation||

    @dolphinedick i want a doctor who is trying to treat people, not a doctor who wants more customers, capitalism sucks... we dont need to raise tax for free healthcare, we just spend tax money that is already sitting there... if we seem to accumulate debt then we can talk about taxing greedy lazy goodfornothing billionairs who got all their money thru inheritance anyway... NO ONE has EVER earned a billion dollars... so lets tax billionairs, they pay for my police, why cant they pay my doctor?
    wildboy789789 1 day ago

    Youtube comments, as enlightening as ever.

  • ||

    Didn't it start and peak during the Clinton years?

  • MNG||

    Yeah, you are right, that's my bad. It was part of this disaffection with what the left saw as Clinton's not standing up the GOP Congress.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    Who is this Bob at Bobsthoughts.com and why haven't I heard of him before and what have I been missing? I'm intrigued. Do I need a password or something to get past the godaddy homepage. I need to know what Bob is thinking.

    And how do change my homepage so it's not Yahoo? I have that guy.

  • Irresponsible Hater||

    hate

  • Bob||

    my thoughts are mostly about latex & its many uses

  • MNG||

    But I think the attacks on credentialism are silly.

    Should credentials be considered some infallible guide? No. But they can be a useful heuristic device.

    WFB once said he would rather be ruled by 100 people randomly picked from the phone book than 100 Harvard faculty members. That's silly. Yes as Woody Allen said "even Harvard makes mistakes" but getting admitted to and being successful at Harvard is a pretty good indicator of some kind of talent/competence.

    Who would rather have their surgery done by 100 people picked at random from a phone book vs. 100 picked from John Hopkins medical school faculty?

  • OO||

    libertarians surgery would require unverified education & credentials. having the wrong organ removed would easily be remedied by the free market; buy a correct replacement organ on the market, have it implanted, & re-remove the wrong one. easy cheesy simply pleasey!

  • ||

    O herp, O derp!

  • Almanian||

    *facepalm*

    PLEASE tell me this is someone trolling the troll. Urine, even you can't be THIS stupid, right? RIGHT??!

  • OO||

    it appears u are the troll

  • Citizen Nothing||

    reductio ad spleenum

  • ||

    libertarians surgery would require unverified education & credentials

    Kinda like the army that let you in?

  • OO||

    good point. the US army verified & vetted my credentials, education, & experience rather than random-dialing 100 people in the phone book for their free-market opinions. ur stupid is now waste-deep & rising

  • ||

    Are you seriously using yourself as an argument for credentialism?

    No offense, but you're not the brilliant and competent sort that credentialists traditionally hold up as an example to support their argument.

  • Recruiter||

    No offense, but you're not the brilliant and competent sort that credentialists traditionally hold up as an example to support their argument.

    All we were looking for there was cannon fodder.

  • ||

    good point. the US army verified & vetted my credentials, education, & experience rather than random-dialing 100 people in the phone book for their free-market opinions. ur stupid is now waste-deep & rising

    Why would they need to go to the phone book? Everyone had already been forced to give their information to the Selective Service under threat of imprisonment.

  • yonemoto||

    libertarians Somalia would require unverified roads & tophats. having the wrong organ removed would easily be remedied by the monocles; buy a correct monocle on the market, have it implanted, & re-remove the wrong one. I love Ayn Rand!

  • ||

    The fact is that there are a lot of people on the internet who have great credentials. Before the internet the average person would have no opportunity to interact with experts in different fields. People like Sorkin act like no one who is an expert ever starts a blog and attracts a following. And that is just bullshit. I would say someone like Ann Althouse (number 1 in her class at NYU, former litigator at Sullivan and Cromwell, and tenured law professor) is a hell of a lot more qualified to speak on legal issues than any journalist.

  • MNG||

    Sure, his comments about the internet are foolish generalizations, there are many bloggers with great qualifications, and of course there are good ones with less impressive qualifications (just like there are crappy people with 'impeccable') qualifications.

    But generally he's right that to get hired by the WSJ you've likely displayed more accomplishments and acumen than to register a domain name and start blogging.

  • ||

    "But generally he's right that to get hired by the WSJ you've likely displayed more accomplishments and acumen than to register a domain name and start blogging."

    So what? Not all blogs are created equal. You just read the good ones. It goes back to what Brooks says above.

  • MNG||

    I think what he is saying is this: you have two reporter's work. In the first instance you know nothing at all about the reporter. In the second you know only one thing: that he works for the WSJ. A rational person would put more trust in which one's competence based only on this knowledge?

  • JoshINHB||

    Which is a problem.

    Why should anyone blindly trust what any reporter writes? As far as I can tell, they're all great at repeating whatever bullshit is thrown at them and terrible at using logic and experience to what is bullshit.

    Not to mention the inherent bias that everyone has.

  • Almanian||

    I'm gonna have to disagree, Minge. The interwebs are soooooo vast, I'm pretty sure that among the collective bazillion bloggers out there, there are enough to find double the number of people at the NYT who are MORE "qualified" [using the "credentialism" chinning bar].

    Yeah, I know, "citation needed". Stipulating that "I reasonably believe" this is the case.

  • MNG||

    Yes, good point, but I mean if you picked a random blogger vs. a random 'elite' journalist. The fact that the internet bloggers n is so vast only helps my argument, the denominator is so big with the bloggers.

  • Jesse Walker||

    But who tries to stay informed about the world by reading blogs randomly?

  • Just an Engineer||

    If you use google to find the blogger you'll probably find one better than a WSJ writer. I'm not sure that you even could truely randomly select a blogger from the internet considering any search engine or link you use has some method of sorting out the best picks.

  • R||

    The thing about journalists is generally their only area of knowledge is journalism. They tend to get a lot of shit wrong simply because their credentials are "I can write a decent sentence" and not "I know court proceedings (or any other subject they regularly cover and opine on) like the back of my hand."

    I'd much rather read a blog post written by somebody actively working within the field they're writing about than some journalist blather on about what they dug up in their fifteen minutes of Google searching before they wrote their story.

  • MNG||

    "I'd much rather read a blog post written by somebody actively working within the field they're writing about than some journalist blather on"

    I totally agree with this. But of course this is an argument for credentialism and expertise, not against.

  • proegg antichicken||

    This is an argument for the abolishment of the journalist types. They are facing extinction as the particular skill set that makes someone able to wirte an article has been democratized by the internet&computer; age. They aren't special anymore but they are going to fight like hell to prove they are.

  • Just an Engineer||

    The qualifications to get hired at the WSJ (or any publication really) are that the individual can write well about topics people want to read about. They do not need to be and almost never are experts at their material as long as they write well enough to fool the general public. I'll agree with you and him in that if they work for the WSJ they probably do write well, better than me certainly. If they actually knew much about the topics they write they wouldn't be journalists.

  • ||

    If they actually knew much about the topics they write they wouldn't be journalists.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Exhibit's A and B.

  • Somalian Road Corporation||

    Oh, yeah, somebody like Ezra Klein at WaPo was literally brimming over with experience and talent before they hired him on.

  • a||

    "Who would rather have their surgery done by 100 people picked at random from a phone book vs. 100 picked from John Hopkins medical school faculty?"

    Not a valid comparison at all. What surgeon-level expertise do members of Congress need to not make terrible laws? Do any members of Congress actually possess that expertise? As for a Harvard degree meaning anything, I give you Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Cornel West, Matthew Yglesias...

  • MNG||

    Of the thousands of people who have got a college degree you can point to some you consider less than impressive. You don't think it would be easier to do this with the names in the phone book?

  • a||

    I named some fairly prominent people whose Harvard degrees are frequently invoked as meaningful credentials. Anyway, I don't think WFB meant that random Bostonians were particularly wise or knowledgeable, but that the elites had not demonstrated any superior wisdom or knowledge--that in fact they had a record of folly.

  • MNG||

    I think that folly would have been worse if we used the phone book.

    I mean, who do you think votes the other group into positions of power and prominence?

  • a||

    But we should trust the credentialed people who manage to fool enough supposed boobs to get elected? Your position disintegrates into incoherence.

  • MNG||

    You want to trust the boobs that get fooled?

    And you talk about others position disintegrating...

  • Homer||

    Mmmmmmmmm...boobs.....

  • Hypothetical Harvard Grad||

    Whoa, dude. Slow you're roll. Obama and Bush were at the graduate school, they were dirty Columbia and Yale undergrads. Hoi Polloi I tellz ya

  • Brett L||

    Speaking of heuristics, is it more demonstrably true that that Johns Hopkins surgical staff are more likely to conduct a successful surgery than a random person in Baltimore? Can we say the same about legislating by someone trained at the Kennedy School of Government versus a random person. The difference between a profession and a trade is that in a profession, a skilled amateur cannot hope to have equal results with an apathetic but trained professional. There credentials might matter.

  • MNG||

    " is it more demonstrably true that that Johns Hopkins surgical staff are more likely to conduct a successful surgery than a random person in Baltimore"

    Are you seriously asking that? You are welcome to get your surgery done via random dialing.

    "Can we say the same about legislating by someone trained at the Kennedy School of Government versus a random person."

    If you want to argue that studying a topic makes you worse at it than ignorance, by all means go ahead.

  • T||

    I'll argue it. Constitutional law scholars, as a group, are incapable of understanding the plain language of the Constitution despite having studied it extensively.

  • MNG||

    I think it more likely that you have it wrong dude.

  • T||

    I think...

    Well, there's your first big lie of the day.

  • Almanian||

    What T said, x1000

  • Sudden||

    One-upping you.

    What T said ^1000

  • Brett L||

    It depends. If I actively study a random phenomenon presented as non-random, the chances are that I'll be worse off than ignorant. My point was that surgeons on staff at a top teaching/research hospital have demonstrably better outcomes. I may be wrong, but neither Chris Christie or Rick Perry went to Harvard, yet they are not demonstrably worse at their jobs than George Bush or Barack Obama.

  • MNG||

    Christie went to Seton Hall law school, that ain't too shabby dude. Perry made officer in the Air Force, also not too shabby accomplishments.

  • a||

    "If you want to argue that studying a topic makes you worse at it than ignorance, by all means go ahead."

    Yes, I'll argue that reading every book ever written by creationists will make you worse at biology than if you had never heard of creationism.

  • MNG||

    I'd actually argue that a man who has read major creationist works knows more about biology than the average person rung up in a phone book, and I'm no fan of creationism.

  • MNG||

    I would also argue that a trained tradesman would on average be a much better choice than the 'average skilled' amateur (how about stacking that deck further next time?). Give me a pool of 100 carpenters who have been doing carpentry for ten years and 100 enthusiastic 'skilled amateur' carpenters and if I had to get one randomly chosen from one of the groups to work on my house I'd go with the former every time.

  • Brett L||

    You'd lose that bet.

  • MNG||

    So when you need carpentry work rather than open the yellow pages to carpenters you just get the white pages out and randomly call people offering to pay them to come work on your house.

    Sure.

  • Sudden||

    You know who else was a carpenter....

  • carpenter's union||

    No worries, we will just create structural regulations that make sure MNG will win.

  • Almanian||

    Again, tradesman =/= "college degreed Journolist with some experience elsewhere".

    Hmm, where'd George Washington and Ben Franklin go to college? Surely we don't want to leave the founding of a country - much less the governing - to those bumpkins! And no inventing a jillion gadgets and things...

    C'mon, MNG, give it up.

  • Wind Rider||

    For most of the 'Ivy League", it has become almost an inverse indication of competence or intelligence. These days hearing 'Harvard Educated' tends to evoke the concept of a waste of semen oxygen thief trust fund legacy baby than anything else. Oooo, got scholarships for 'potential', did they? So did Skippy!

  • ||

    That Ivy League pussy must be some fine ginch though...

    *continues daydreaming*

  • ||

    Being admitted to Harvard is mostly an indicator of extreme ambition and sense of entitlement, so 100 random people from the phone book probably would be better rulers.
    (If WFB means William F Buckley, though, you should keep in mind that he attended Yale, so insulting Harvard would pretty much be de riguer.)

  • William Stewart Halsted||

    MNG you mean picking a surgeon like me, despite my < a href =http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stewart_Halsted/link.html > cocaine and morphine addiction < / a>

  • JD the elder||

    "When I read the Times or The Wall Street Journal, I know those reporters had to have cleared a very high bar to get the jobs they have."

    The funny thing is that you would think that, wouldn't you? If you were a moron, I mean.

    Apparently Sorkin honestly believes he is incapable of using his own judgment to decide if something is worthwhile, and he must have a gatekeeper to make this decision for him...except when it comes to Beck and Limbaugh, in which case he suddenly becomes capable of independent thought.

  • MNG||

    You people with your "why can't he use his own judgment" meme are full of shit frankly. This is a complicated world, none of us can take the time to get to know the talents and background of everyone who we interact with. We rely all the time on credentials and other time saving devices. It's not just totally rational, it would be crazy not to.

  • Wind Rider||

    On the subjects of 'talents' and 'Sorkin', quite frankly, not a lot to know there or even concentrate on. Even if one is really, really baked and tends to over focus at times.

  • JD the elder||

    You actually make a decent point here - we all do rely on "judgment by proxy" of credentials and so forth - it's just not the point anyone else was arguing. You may rely on the fact that a doctor has a medical degree from a good school and gets good word of mouth, but if you have a personally bad experience with him, you stop seeing him. Likewise, he may have a degree from a no-name school and have no reputation, but if you like him, he's good. Sorkin basically argues flatly against trusting your own judgment, saying that vetting by a major media organization is preferable...except that he then undercuts his own argument by basing his preferences on ideology instead of credentials.

  • MNG||

    I'll give you that, when your experience and actual chance to evaluate outcomes makes you question the guys competence then that should outweigh credentials. But Sorokin seems to be arguing that when you know little about the WSJ reporter and Bob you can bet on the former more than the latter. That just seems common sense.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You people with your "why can't he use his own judgment"

    Spoof or idiot?

    You make the call.

  • MNG||

    That's right, when AC needs surgery he just does it himself using his own judgment of what is appropriate.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Stitches? Yes, I've done that myself. Something that requires full anathesia might be a little trickier, MNG.

  • MNG||

    "Something that requires full anathesia might be a little trickier, MNG."

    Why not use your own judgment?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    But I already do. When I can do it myself, I do. When I lack the knowledge or skills, I outsource.

    There is, however, a distinct difference between lacking medical skills and being too biased and apathetic to read anything not printed on paper.

  • In Time of War||

    You're right. That's why I use this crazy new web site called "Google", which helps me learn all sorts of interesting things about people/places/events.

  • OO||

    which ur free to ignore since credentials & experience mean nothing. go back to the random phone listings sherlock

  • Almanian||

    Yes, because that's what everyone's arguing here.

    Urine, just stop, please. I really, really hope this is Spoof Urine, cause you're bringing more strawmen and stupidity than usual.

    *sad face*

  • OO||

    u speak for "everyone"? i stand corrected then

  • In Time of War||

    Hmm, go to the 5 star restaurant all the random, anonymous people on the internet say is overpriced and has crap service, or go to the little unadvertised place that random, anonymous people swear is fantastic? Hard call. I mean, 5 stars means it has to be great, right?

  • ||

    We over rely on credentials actually; there's a lot of concentrated benefits going on with them in fact.

    Anyway, in this instance Sorkin is talking about the credentials of journalists, not the credentials of say, doctors (and when it comes to doctors there is a lot of stuff wrong with that as well but that is beside the point). David Simon was a journalist (a rather accomplished one - speaking of credentials) and I think he would flog Sorkin as rather naive in his portrait of the profession.

    Then of course their is Sorkin's attempt to differentiate the left commentariat from the right commentariat, which is standard sort of liberal think these days (as is his comment about David Frum for that matter).

    Sorkin's effort isn't really all that impressive when you look at it and he has some very standard views on things which fall apart when you examine with any effort.

  • JoJo Zeke||

    The most overpraised science fiction writer in America today is Aaron Sorkin

    Spoken like someone who's never slogged their way through one of Allen Steele's smug, politically masturbatory Coyote novels.

  • Brett L||

    I made it through the first three. But honestly, is there someone less acquainted with building action than Jack McDevitt. I really want to like his novels, but watching golf on TV has better pacing.

  • ||

    Who would rather have their surgery done by 100 people picked at random from a phone book vs. 100 picked from John Hopkins medical school faculty?

    Nice try, Rex; if legislating required any specific demonstrable skill m ore complex than winning elections panhandling, you might have a point.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Where's your Emmy, Jesse?

    My take on Sorkin here:

    http://www.brightlightsfilm.co.....nneman.php

  • ||

    Is that like "Where's your Nobel, Krugman hater?"

  • Wind Rider||

    Sorkin-Emmy, Krugman-Nobel. Solid evidence that being handed a shiny statue in front of an overdressed audience is the prep stage for a lobotomy. Well, at least as solid as the evidence for Global Warming, which should be plenty to convince the totally uninterested.

  • T||

    Ebert is the only guy to have successfully used that smackdown, Vanneman. And you're no Ebert.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Yeah, I still have a chin. In fact, just last week, my very good freind Peggy Noonan, whom I have lunch with a lot, told me "Alan, you have a fabulous chin. It's better than Ronnie's."*

    *OK, she wasn't really talking about my chin!

  • T||

    Okay, the chin line was funny. Wrong, but funny.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Bob could be the most qualified guy in the world but I have no way of knowing that...

    Well Aaron, an adult with a measure of rationality would read Bobsthoughts.com, analyze Bob's arguments, then decide whether Bob makes a good point, or he's full of shit.

    When The Times or The Journal get it wrong they have a lot of people to answer to.

    You. Kiss. Hookers. On. The. Mouth.

  • T||

    You. Kiss. Hookers. On. The. Mouth.

    And he pays extra for the privilege, too.

  • MNG||

    Well Aaron, an adult with a measure of rationality would read Bobsthoughts.com, analyze Bob's arguments, then decide whether Bob confirms everything he already thought about the subject

    FTFY

  • TRTB||

    OK, that was funny.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    MNG, thanks, but your edits fail because the TUBES frighten Aaron Sorkin. He would rather curl up with a warm, freshly printed newspaper. Once he's finished, he rolls it up and mercilessly sodomizes a sheep with it.

    Or so I've heard.

  • MNG||

    Where he crosses into nostalgia I stop defending him.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    When you people start dropping dead from a deficiency of the vitamin found only in newsprint (it works its way from the fingertips into the soul) I will not feel sorry for you.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think it's Vitamin B.C. -- or Family Circus.

  • Not Me!||

    I blame Dolly and Jeffy.

  • T||

    Okay, the randomly noisy Lysol ad needs to go. Surely you people realize we're all goofing off at work and it's hard to maintain the fiction when a lysol ad starts blaring out of the speakers?

  • sarcasmic||

    I recommend using Firefox with the Adblock-Plus plugin.

  • TRTB||

    Seconded. And the flashblock plugin as well. Seriously, I sometimes forget that other people actually have an internet experience that includes ads.

  • Wind Rider||

    Sure, they'll get right on it, right after you learn how that high piece price of technology that the schmucks that actually allow you to show up fairly regularly so they can trip over themselves to give you money on a quasi random basis provided you so that you wouldn't get bogged down with that silly 'work' hilarity, and could use the internet connection that they're also paying for to allow you to post Rick Rolls and PB&J Time video links in mass company E-mailings (the only REAL reason you're still employed. No, really), which never really seem to work because everyone else knows what you STILL haven't figured out, which is HOW TO ADJUST THE FUCKING VOLUME OR EVEN TURN OFF THE GODDAMNED SPEAKERS TOTALLY, you whiny ungrateful afterbirth contaminant.

  • Matt Squelch||

    [ ] Not told
    [X] Told

  • T||

    Suck a dick, kite. I have these neat things playing on my magic box called MP3s, and the lysol ad clashes with them. As to the rest of your rant, don't project your failings in the workplace on the rest of us, mmkay? Your lack of value to every organization you've been in is not my problem.

    Plus, ads that make noise with no interaction are just fucking rude. Like you.

  • Firefox||

    Reason has ads? I always wondered what this giant blank white space was next to the articles.

  • Platypus||

    Some Hollywood hack said:
    Not to be unoriginal but Beck and Limbaugh are eye-poppingly awful.

    As journalists, sure. But they're not journalists, you tool. I hate sounding like I'm trying to defend Beck and Limbaugh so I'll stop right here.

  • OO||

    they are poor entertainers compared to stewart, colbert, leno, & mr rodgers.

  • T||

    Millions of Americans apparently disagree with you. But you should be used to that by now.

    Lord knows libertarians are.

  • OO||

    the same millions who hoped obama was kenyan

  • newshutz||

    Not Kenyan, Keynsian.

    Sheesh

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I work in a newsroom. And I can say without hesitation that I'd rather drink myself silly with my fellow reporters than with 100 people chosen at random from the phone book.

  • Ska||

    There is an awful lot of stupidity being spewed on this thread.

  • Ari||

    That line by Sorkin, "It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans," where have I heard it before?

    Oh, that's right. In an Aaron Sorkin movie from 16 years ago.

  • Almanian||

    I do appreciate Sorkin's un-self-aware, self-important, missing-the-irony douchebagness.

    Therefore, I proclaim him Douchbag of the Day! Wow - it's early yet. But you win, Aaron!

  • ||

    But, but, but...the LAT editorial staff haven't even had their coffee. Give 'em a chance to wake up, for chrissakes.

  • BobsThoughts.com||

    I know at least as much about politics as Sorkin does about crafting watchable network television.

  • ||

    I've worked in journalism for nearly two decades, and it irritates me that you need a credential to get an entry-level job in the field. I attended a university with a fine journalism school, but I considered it more a trade school than anything else.

    In order to be a truly competent journalist, you should undergo an apprenticeship period. It's all about honing your craft in the field, not in the classroom.

  • ||

    I don't care what Aaron Sorkin thinks, and I'm dumber for reading this article. I like Reason, but every time I read a shallow article on anything on this website pop culture related my insides turn a little. Stick to your comparative advantage Reason...

  • Jeff P||

    I admire modern writer/producers for their ability to generate shit at such a prodigious density and velocity that they can be lifted bodily into low Earth orbit.
    See New Scientist for the latest on Hollywood's ongoing scat/thrust research.

  • ||

    "As the saying goes, the problem with free speech is that you get what you pay for."

    Typical elitist claptrap from a self-centered, self-righteous and self-indulgent "know-it-all" twit.

  • Ska||

    What does he have to say about $2 speech?

  • ||

    In order to be a truly competent journalist, you should undergo an apprenticeship period working in the field you intend to cover.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    The problem -- which I don't view as a problem -- is that most journalists are generalists.
    I've covered city hall, state government, crime (but I repeat myself), business, the State Fair (Woohoo! That was a time! 12 straight days of corn dogs and carnies each year), and metro parks. I've also written a metro column and am now in features, gently chewing my cud.
    But perhaps the day of the generalist is over.

  • FlyoverCountry||

    Are you with the DM Register?

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm in Buck-, not Hawk-, -eye territory.

  • FlyoverCountry||

    Ah! I hear State Fair, and I assume midwest somewhere - though I still have my doubts about Ohio being midwestern...

  • Neu Mejican||

    In order to be a truly competent journalist, you should undergo an apprenticeship period working in the field you intend to cover.

    I don't so. Cross-checking and verifying your copy before it goes to print does not require that you have first hand knowledge of the topic.

    A little knowldege is, paired with an overconfidence that "I know what I am talking about" is more likely to lead to errors than a journalist with good skills and a careful process.

    Phrases like "after covering this topic for XX years" or "my conclusions are based on my extensive coverage of this topic" are a sign a journalist is over-estimating their expertise. Imagine pairing that with "I worked in the industry."

  • Neu Mejican's copy editor||

    I don't so

    Read that as "I don't think so" or "I don't know"...your choice.

  • ||

    There's no substitute for hands-on experience in what you are investigating or writing about. If you know next to nothing about a topic, you don't even know what questions to ask, when an answer is evasive or incomplete, etc.

    Sure, for local interest type stuff, knowing nothing is probably OK. But if you are going to cover an industry, the government, etc., being a blank slate is the short road to regurgitating someone else's agenda.

  • Neu Mejican||

    being a blank slate is the short road to regurgitating someone else's agenda

    Hence my reference to "a careful process." That would include using multiple sources, cross-checking facts/opinions etc...

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Who would rather have their surgery done by 100 people picked at random from a phone book vs. 100 picked from John Hopkins medical school faculty?

    Because removing a spleen is exactly the same type and scope of knowledge as presuming to make decisions for 300 million people.

    And, yes, the people who have studied government and believe they are capable of making better decisions for me than I am for myself are worse than ignorant. The goddamned President, for all his fucking credentials, doesn't even grasp the concept of insurance. If someone can't even wrap his head around the concept of protecting oneself from catastrophic health issues and paying out of pocket for the rest I have no faith whatsoever that his credentials provide him with the knowledge of far more complex issues.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The goddamned President, for all his fucking credentials, doesn't even grasp the concept of insurance. If someone can't even wrap his head around the concept of protecting oneself from catastrophic health issues and paying out of pocket for the rest I have no faith whatsoever that his credentials provide him with the knowledge of far more complex issues."

    Oh he is quite capable of grasping that concept.

    But the objective is (as always) massive wealth redistribution in as many ways as possible.

    All his yammering is merely misdirection to try to keep fooling people that that's not what it's really all about.

    He is a con man and a liar who thinks he can keep fooling enough people long enough to further the real objective.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Sure, I was operating under the fiction that he, or politicians in general, act in good faith or at least mean what they say. If we strip away that fantasy, that's all the less reason why these credentialed tools are preferable to randomly picked representatives.

  • ||

    If you called one hundred million randomly selected people and asked them if you would be within your rights to resist an unlawful home invasion by policemen, I'll bet NOT ONE OF THEM would say, "No."

    It takes a legal scholar to reach that conclusion.

  • ||

    Our first mistake was letting government define our rights and its limits in the first place.

  • OO||

    dont forget God & those pesky 10 commandments! somalia babieeeee

  • yonemoto||

    You dumbass. I'm pretty sure the five pillars are part of maxamed's creed.

  • ||

    Jesse Walker for the win! He's been on fire lately.

    This is the best line I've read in ages: "With a job at The New York Times, he's bound to be at least as reliable as Judith Miller and at least as thoughtful as Thomas Friedman."

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    And at least as honest as Jayson Blair.

  • MJ||

    "As the saying goes, the problem with free speech is that you get what you pay for."

    That explains "The West Wing".

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