FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Good Wife vs. Bad Congress

For almost a year, the people of the critically-acclaimed and popular CBS drama, “The Good Wife,” kept a secret, one so powerful that viewers were shocked by the abruptness of what happened on screen, March 23.

Will Gardner (portrayed by Josh Charles), one of the major characters, was killed by his client during murder trial. Within seconds, even before the show’s conclusion, viewers were texting and tweeting, shocked and confused and angry and upset and sad, all at the same time. There was no hint in the entertainment media that Will would be killed off.

Charles wanted to be dropped from the show after his four year contract expired at the end of the 2012- 2013 season, but didn’t want to do anything to harm the show. So he, the producers, and writers decided to extend the contract for a 15-show arc in the 2013-2014 season that would take his character and those around him, including Alecia Florrick (portrayed by Julianna Margulies) spinning in another direction, one that would change the characters’ dynamics and interactions.

What’s amazing is not that Will Gardner was killed—several major TV characters have been killed off abruptly—but that dozens of people working on “The Good Wife,” as well as some of their immediate families, knew about it and revealed nothing. In addition to the major characters, producers, and writers, anyone involved with the filming of the episode, which concluded about a month before its air date, knew. That would be dozens of crew members, including camera operators, sound and lighting technicians, and digital editors. They knew how important it was to keep the secret. Although some might have liked to alert their favorite reporters, perhaps to get favorable personal publicity later, they did not. That’s because they are professionals.

Now, let’s contrast the cast and crew of “The Good Wife” with the cast and crew of “Washington Follies.”

There are no secrets in Washington, D.C.,—and it has nothing to do with what the National Security Agency knows or doesn’t know about Americans.

The reason there are no secrets is because the nation’s capital has more leaks than all the antiquated gas pipelines in the country. It’s good there are no secrets—but, many of the “secrets” have as much integrity as a junk bond trader.      There are “whistleblower leaks.” These come from individuals who believe that a politician, staffer, lobbyist, or a corporation has committed and then hid an illegal act, and violated the public trust.

The second kind of leak comes from individuals who have a self-interest in alerting the media to what may be scandals. These leaks could come from political candidates, elected and appointed officials, and those in corporate business who want to eliminate a competitor, but don’t want to have their hands dirtied by the revelation. Most of these leaks fall into the sub-category, Gossip. Far too often, the media take the allegations, do minimal investigation, publish their findings, but never ask the critical question—“Why are you telling me this?”

A third kind of leak is the “trial balloon.” A government official or corporate executive wants to find out what the public thinks of an idea or plan, but doesn’t want anyone to know who is behind it. Often, the media will report something to the effect, “Rumors abound in Washington that  . . .” If opinion leaders and the public like the idea—and politicians spent millions of dollars to have polls tell them what to think—then the proposal is implemented. If there’s a negative reaction to the trial balloon, the plan is locked into obscurity, and the source is exonerated from all negative feedback.

A fourth leak, a variant of the trial balloon, is the veiled news source. Reporters and politicians love this kind of leak, which takes the form of, “Sources close to President Obama say . .  .” or “A highly-placed source close to the House Speaker says . . .” Readers’ first questions should be, “Who are these people? And is the reporter just making up this quote out of whole cloth?” It’s for that reason that veiled news sources should be rarely used. But, reporters still think they should be channeling the thoughts of presidents, corporate executives, and bartenders.

Unlike Washington, D.C., where the left hand doesn’t even know there is a right hand, all involved on “The Good Wife,” from the newly-hired production assistants to the show runners, work as a team, dealing with their conflicts and solving the problems. In the nation’s capital, solving problems doesn’t seem to be on anyone’s bucket list.

For “The Good Wife,” secrecy was important to maintain artistic integrity. For the daily “Washington Follies,” secrets are just rumors and a few facts that are leaked primarily for political reasons.

 Rosemary Brasch assisted on this column.

Walter Brasch is an award-winning journalist and author. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an in-depth investigation into the process and health and environmental effects of horizontal hydraulic fracturing to mine gas.

 

More articles by:

Walter Brasch is an award-winning social issues journalist. His latest book is Fracking Pennsylvania, an analysis of the history, economics, and politics of fracking, as well as its environmental and health effects.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
February 20, 2020
Katie Fite
How the Military is Raiding Public Lands and Civilian Spaces Across the Western Front
Nicholas Levis
Bloomberg is the Equal Evil
David Swanson
Shut Down Canada Until It Solves Its War, Oil, and Genocide Problem
Thomas Knapp
Freedom for $5.30…and This Time Mexico Really is Paying for It
Nick Pemberton
Mr. Sanders: Would You like Your Coffee Without Cream, or Without Milk?
Rachel M. Fazio
A Trillion Trees in Rep. Westerman’s Hands Means a Trillion Stumps
Jeff Mackler
Break With Two-Party Capitalist Duopoly!
Rebecca Gordon
Impunity Guaranteed for Torturers (and Presidents)
Jacob Hornberger
The CIA’s Role in Operation Condor
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Let Rome Burn
Jen Pelz
Reforming Expectations to Save Western Rivers
Maria Paez Victor
Canada Trapped By Its Own Folly
Binoy Kampmark
Pardoning Julian Assange: Trump, WikiLeaks and the DNC
Mel Gurtov
Poor Bill Barr
February 19, 2020
Ishmael Reed
Social Media: The New Grapevine Telegraph
David Schultz
Bernie Sanders and the Revenge of the Superdelegates
Kenneth Surin
Modi’s India
Chris Floyd
Which Side Are You On?
Linda Pentz Gunter
Hysteria Isn’t Killing Nuclear Power
Dave Lindorff
Truly Remaking Social Security is the Key to Having a Livable Society in the US
ANIS SHIVANI
Bloomberg on Bloomberg: The Selected Sayings of the Much-Awaited Establishment Messiah
Binoy Kampmark
Corporate Occupations: The UN Business “Black List” and Israel’s Settlements
Nozomi Hayase
Assange’s Extradition Case: Critical Moment for the Anti-war Movement
Howard Lisnoff
The Wealth That’s Killing Us Will Save Us: Politics Through the Looking-Glass
Yves Engler
Canada, Get Out of the Lima Group, Core Group and OAS
Nick Licata
The Rule of Law Under Trump
Sam Gordon
A Treatise on Trinities
Nino Pagliccia
Open Letter to Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Lima Group Meeting
John Kendall Hawkins
Just Two Kings Talking
February 18, 2020
John Pilger
Julian Assange Must be Freed, Not Betrayed
Peter Harrison
Religion is a Repeating Chapter in the History of Politics
Norman Solomon
The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders
Conn Hallinan
Irish Elections and Unification
Dean Baker
We Shouldn’t Have to Beg Mark Zuckerberg to Respect Democracy
Sam Pizzigati
A Silicon Valley Life Lesson: Money That ‘Clumps’ Crushes
Arshad Khan
Minority Abuse: A Slice of Life in Modi’s India
Walden Bello
China’s Economy: Powerful But Vulernable
Nicolas J S Davies
Afghan Troops say Taliban are Brothers and War is “Not Really Our Fight.”
Nyla Ali Khan
The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee
Binoy Kampmark
Buying Elections: The Bloomberg Meme Campaign
Jonah Raskin
Purgatory Under the Patriarchy
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Herakles in the Age of Climate Chaos
Bob Topper
The Conscience of a Conservative
John W. Whitehead
We’re All in This Together
Gala Pin
Bodies in Freedom: a Barcelona Story
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail