Aaron Sorkin's New Show, The Newsroom Fictionalizes BP Oil Spill in Premiere Episode

HBO/Screen capture

If you read any pop culture or media blogs, you've likely heard about Aaron Sorkin's new series, The Newsroom, which premiered on HBO Sunday night. If not, you should know it is based on the drama that takes place behind-the-scenes when producing a cable news program and you can currently see the entire first episode of The Newsroom on YouTube. (Sorry, embedding is strangely not allowed.)

While it isn't something we'd normally have written about here on TreeHugger, I just finished watching the first episode and was pleasantly surprised to find second half of the first episode takes place on April 20, 2010 and shows the news team responding to the breaking news of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which would later lead to what became known as the BP oil spill. As someone that helped cover this breaking news in real life, it was interesting to watch how Sorkin and company imagined a cable news team handling the news.

Of course, the show's interviews and timeline of events are fictionalized and not entirely accurate, but for those of us that covered and cared about the BP oil spill for so long when it happened, it was just interesting to revisit the story in this way. Knowing that some of the details in the show were off also got me trying to remember what the actual timeline of events was, which led me to look back at some of our reporting from that time. You can find all of TreeHugger's posts on our Gulf Oil Spill tag page.

Here are just a few posts related to the plot points in The Newsroom episode:
"BP Knew 3.4 Million Gallons Per Day Could Spill, But Urged Staff “Not to Communicate to Anyone on This.
BP, Halliburton & Faulty Cement Jobs: Key Report Doles Out Blame in Gulf Spill
BP Tried to Trick Scientists Into Underestimating Spill Size (Video)
Halliburton, BP Knew Cement was Faulty Weeks Before Gulf Spill

On the one year anniversary of the disaster in 2011, I put together a big list of articles called, The Best Writing on the BP Oilspill. It still serves as a useful archive of some of the most important and moving articles on the spill. If Sorkin's telling of events inspired you to revisit the actual history, I hope you'll find the list useful. Regarding timelines of events, one great article of note is BOOM by Sean Flynn, which is a riveting timeline of the days, hours and minutes leading up to the explosion.

And if there's been any new writing on the disaster that you think should be added to the list, please don't hesitate to suggest it in the comments or let me know on Twitter.

Did you watch The Newsroom? What did you think? Now that I've seen the first episode focus on an environmental story, I'm curious to learn if there will be other stories like this in future episodes. Which environmental cause or disaster would you like to see get the Sorkin treatment?

Tags: BP | Gulf Oil Spill | Oil | Oil Spill | Television

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