'Pajama People' Rise Before Leona Lansing Has Her First Cup Of Coffee

In the HBO drama series, "The Newsroom," Jane Fonda plays the recurring role of Leona Lansing, the self-important CEO of the TV news show, Atlantis Cable News (ACN). Fonda views the fictional network's influence as falling "somewhere between Ted Turner (her ex-husband) and Rupert Murdoch." Playing against type and her real-life liberal bias, Lansing is a staunch Republican who feels the need to constantly remind her news team staff headed up by Will McAvoy (played by Jeff Daniels) -- what side their proverbial bread is buttered on.

In the Season 2 episode opener titled, "First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All The Lawyers," Leona is seen vehemently chastising the existence of journalistic piracy she blames onJane Fonda as Leona LansingJane Fonda as Leona Lansing the “the pajama people” who steal "her" intellectual property on a daily basis. She has drunk the right-wing establishment's Kool-Aid which tells her she could easily be garnering another ten billion bucks a year if she could just quash them. And in no uncertain terms, she wants her imaginary money back and she will lean on all of her political cronies she's made deals with over the years -- to make that happen.

Aaron Sorkin, the creator and writer of the show, who cut his teeth on popular political TV dramas dating back to the award-winning 'West Wing' series uses Leona Lansing to take a swipe at bloggers who he deems as the lowest rung on the journalistic ladder (if they're even deemed worthy of that rung!)

And just as a side note, Mr. Sorkin, while we're taking pot shots at pirating intellectual property, where did you steal the title for this
episode? I guess you consider it OK, when you steal from the best, eh? [CAMERA ROLL: move to the Bard rolling over in his grave!]

But what is the source of his animosity towards bloggers? If one was to dig a little, we'd see that Sorkin's labeling of bloggers as "pajama people" did not emanate from his usual liberal bias leanings. Instead it ironically arose from, of all places ... that's it - you guessed it - the Right Wing! And while Sorkin uses the character of Will McAvoy as his instrument to criticize the Tea Partyers as the "American Taliban," it's the "Queen" of the Tea Party who was the first to make a disparaging remark about bloggers wearing pajamas.

In this November 10, 2008 FOX news interview with Greta Van Susteran, Sarah Palin attacks the "pajama wearing, gossiping, lie-spreading bloggers," for the first time.

Ah, shame on you Mr. Sorkin, now you're pilfering from the ex-Governor, the ex-VP candidate, and the ex-FOX news correspondent to prove your point about bloggers?

So the question that arises -- in my mind at least -- is what does it matter what you wear to work? What is this myth that the "real media" can be distinguished from "bloggers" because one blindly follows the status quo and wears a suit, while the inference of the other is that they're too lazy to get out of their pajamas in the morning?

Might it be just the reverse? Might it not be that the one who dresses up the outside might have less going on, on the inside? While, the other who rolls out of bed and starts his daily work immediateley might be the proverbial early bird catching the "morning news" worm first? Hell, even Rachel Maddow agrees with that supposition.

SO . . .  in solidarity, I'm jumping back into my PJs just for kicks news junkies -- before I continue with my afternoon work. Anyone want to join me? I'll brew an extra pot of coffee - you can bring the Danish!



Some of the sites we link to are affiliates. We may earn a small commission if you use our links.
Jul 18, 2013
by Anonymous

Technically speaking, Sorkin

Technically speaking, Sorkin had Palin beat by two years on the term "Pajama People," as he used it in the show 'Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip' in 2006, so three of your ten paragraphs are fundamentally inaccurate. Then there's the fact that, legally speaking, writers are allowed to steal from Shakespeare, as everything the Bard wrote is in the public domain.


I don't think Mr. Sorkin has disdain for bloggers, per say; I think he's probably tired of so-called journalists who are too concerned with trying to be clever and not concerned enough with getting their facts straight.

Jul 26, 2013
by Ron Callari

Technically speaking, Sorkin

Technically speaking, Sorkin - thanks for feedback - and the update on Sorkin pre-dating Sarah Palin's characterization of bloggers as 'pajama people' in his earlier unsuccessful TV drama, "Studio 60."

OK, so "technically speaking," I guess what you're saying is instead of being influenced by a right-winger - he was responsible for actually influencing that right-winger? And while you might find that chronology more palatable - my thesis remains the same. Sorkin is reducing the worthiness of a blogger with 'petty' labeling. Getting the facts straight does not change the story - his condenscion is at the heart of the matter- and the reason for my blog.

And of course the work of Shakespeare is in the public domain, and all writers have access. My analogy was included solely for hyperbole sake to show how easy it is to critique "low lying fruit" (the likes of bloggers) while poaching from the cream of crop! 

Oh and yes, i would sincerely like to thank you for labeling my post: "clever!"

Aug 13, 2013
by Anonymous

I would actually take the

I would actually take the argument one step further. Sorkin's point - and he actually has been making this point all the way back to the West Wing days (with Lemon-Lyman.com) - is that the democratization of comment and critique by the internet has largely come at the expense of any legitimate authority or credibility. And Sarah Palin in many ways personifies that sacrifice: a marginal political personality who could never have been elevated to national prominence if such decisions were based on merit rather than Q-ratings. And that's not to say that just because I'm fully dressed and typing this comment on my lunch hour my argument is any more significant than that of some dude in his jammies. The fact that Sorkin used a familiar quote by Shakespeare as the episode's title is telling. The words are centuries old, but the quality of the thought is immortal. Sorkin's writing is memorable and highly quotable by today's standards. Fifty years from now, who can say? So surely there's no instant stamp of legitimacy given to you, me, or anybody else with a PC and a little free time. The marketplace of ideas will sort us all out in the long run. Cheers.