The classic CBS sitcom takes Candice Bergen's Murphy Brown into a press briefing where she calls out the administration for attacking the press and lying to the American people.
Just two episodes in, the CBS revival has proven willing to jump right back into the political fray, and this week that jump took it right into the White House press briefing room. On top of that, they not only used a Sanders impersonator to mimic the press secretary's voice, they used actual footage of Sanders to make it look like Murphy was interacting directly with her.
We can only imagine this episode going over very well in the administration, considering there is no way Sanders approved her likeness being used for the episode. Of course, as a public figure, she's fair game. But on top of that, Murphy flat-out asked Sanders why she lies to the American people.
The heated exchange came when this fictionalized Sanders said that it was inappropriate for Murphy to be in the briefing, as she'd already been banned. ""If you really want to talk about what's inappropriate, how about the way you do your job," Murphy said in response. "The role of the White House Press Secretary is to create transparency in the government and tell the American people the truth, but that's not what happens in this room.
"Whether it's about a meeting with Russians in Trump Tower or a made-up mandate that requires separation between parents and their children at the border, it all comes down to the same thing. So here's my question: Why do you lie?"
Of course, there was no way the writers could concoct an answer to this question, so they grabbed an actual sound byte of Sanders dismissing another reporter by saying, "I think that's an absolutely ridiculous question."
It seems a likely response to Murphy's question. But Murphy wasn't done there, next tackling Sander and Trump's narrative about the media. "How demoralizing is it for us to be called the enemy of the people?" she asked the reporters in the room.
"How do we go back to our newspapers and our magazines and our networks knowing that the most basic principle of journalistic integrity, to report the facts, is totally out of reach," she continued. "If we can't get to the truth, why are we even here?"
At this point, she tried to stage a dramatic walk-out, but absolutely no one got up and followed her out. As self-righteous and idealistic as it sounded in Murphy's head to imagine this massive protest, what good would it do?
Her son, Avery, was in that room and he didn't get up either, later explaining his reasoning. "If we all stormed out in protest, what would we be left with?" he asked. "The ones who drank the Kool-Aid and the president's unhinged Twitter feed."
There's a lot of television out there for a lot of people, and most of it is escapist fare. In its original run more than 20 years ago, "Murphy Brown" wasn't that show. With its pulse on current events, it was the show for people who really cared about the world outside their windows.
Next week, the conversation about things that matter continues as "Murphy Brown" dives into the #MeToo movement, Thursday at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
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