Aaron Sorkin’s liberal drama isn’t just bad — he can’t get the facts right
- Last Updated: 1:40 PM, June 24, 2012
- Posted: 10:47 PM, June 23, 2012
In the speechiest moment of tonight’s speech-clogged pilot of Aaron Sorkin’s new HBO show “The Newsroom,” a bland news anchor played by Jeff Daniels is sitting between two stentorian TV pundits (a liberal and a conservative) when he decides to uncork an explanation of why they’re both wrong.
They think America is the greatest nation. Daniels’ anchorman — think William Hurt in “Broadcast News,” plus 20 years of reading “The Nation” — sprays, at the Ludicrous Speed that indicates Sorkin thinks he’s being particularly brilliant, a long list of misleading and downright absurd assertions about America’s alleged flaws, of which the most spurious is that we rank “178th in infant mortality.” Out of 220 countries on Earth? Really?
As far as I can tell, Sorkin took this lie from one of several raggedy unsourced leftist websites. Or he visited the CIA Factbook, which put the US at No. 173 in infant mortality, and got the number wrong by five.
But wait: The CIA survey is in reverse order. So No. 1, Afghanistan, is the worst country for infant mortality. The best, Monaco, is No. 220. That puts the US at No. 47 (while other surveys put us slightly higher, in the 20s).
Still alarming, no? Not really. As the identity of the winner hints, a lot of the states ahead of us are not so much countries as country clubs. It’s hardly fair to compare a diverse continental power of 300 million souls with a rich city (Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau all beat us) or a tax haven (Isle of Man, Jersey, Luxembourg). You might as well break off New England and count that as a country.
Cuba beats us, but Cuba is a dictatorship that lies about everything. I doubt Sorkin would want his next child delivered in Cuba.
Still, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK, Canada, Australia and Japan beat us. Why is that?
Because doctors in other countries look at a premature fetus and think “medical waste.” Our doctors think, “life to be saved,” because in fact ours is the greatest country and that’s how we roll.
Premature birth, which is the leading cause of infant mortality, is much higher in the US than in other countries — 65% higher than in Britain. The National Center for Health Statistics calls this the “primary reason” Western Europe has better numbers.
The World Health Organization notes it is “common practice” in Western Europe not to count a delivery as a live birth until the child has survived for a set period of time. If the baby draws one breath outside the womb in the US, that’s a live birth. A lot of these babies don’t make it and drive up our mortality numbers.Follow @NYPostOpinion