Most of you probably have opinions about Aaron Sorkin. In many cases, those opinions are not positive. But for a few minutes, put aside those feelings and watch the video above from the season premiere of The Newsroom. Yes, it does feature some of Aaron Sorkin’s characteristic smugness, and yes, it comments about a year-old story with unfair hindsight. But that’s not the reason you should watch it.
You should watch it because, better than anyone else, Sorkin breaks down, step by step, how Reddit attempted their own investigation into the Boston Marathon Bombing, and how their theory began as an isolated thread and spiraled into something huge. They were wrong, and while it’s one thing to be wrong about a Mad Men or The Walking Dead theory, it’s a completely different thing to be wrong about a theory involving real people. Ultimately, Reddit not only hurt the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing, but they caused real emotional harm to an entire family. A woman who had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombing ended up receiving threats of rape and death.
Aside from what you might think of Sorkin, and aside from what you might think of The Newsroom, this is a fascinating glimpse into the power of the Internet and social media, a power that can be a real force for good, but can also be a misguided force of evil.