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Aaron Sorkin slams media for publishing info from Sony hack

"The West Wing" and "The Newsroom" creator says news outlets that run stories based on information leaked in the Sony hack "did the bidding of the Guardians of Peace" and are "morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable."

By Karen Butler
Aaron Sorkin slams media for publishing info from Sony hack
Aaron Sorkin, pictured here in 2012, is criticizing the media's handling of information leaked in the Sony hack attack. UPI File Photo | License Photo

NEW YORK, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Aaron Sorkin, a celebrated screenwriter known for creating politician and journalist characters with tremendous integrity, is calling out the real-world media for publishing private information leaked in the recent Sony computer hack attack.

The film studio has been reeling from the fallout after thousands of private emails and internal documents were not only stolen but posted online by a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace.

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Attorneys for Sony Pictures Entertainment have threatened legal action against numerous media outlets that publish "stolen" corporate data exposed by the unidentified hackers, The Washington Post reported.

Sorkin is known for his work on the TV shows The Newsroom, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and The West Wing. He also penned the screenplays for Sony's computer-themed films The Social Network and upcoming Steve Jobs. Although he has been criticized by some for constructing characters who are unrealistically idealistic, Sorkin supporters contend the people he portrays in his work represent what all should strive to be.

In an essay published in Sunday's New York Times, Sorkin expressed his anger and disappointment with newspapers, television programs and websites that relayed private information contained in the leaked Sony documents instead of focusing on the crime itself.

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"I understand that news outlets routinely use stolen information. That's how we got the Pentagon Papers, to use an oft-used argument. But there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers," Sorkin wrote."Do the emails contain any information about Sony breaking the law? No. Misleading the public? No. Acting in direct harm to customers, the way the tobacco companies or Enron did? No. Is there even one sentence in one private email that was stolen that even hints at wrongdoing of any kind? Anything that can help, inform or protect anyone?"

To those editors and reporters who insist they are running the material because it is newsworthy, Sorkin challenges: "What part of the studio's post-production notes on Cameron Crowe's new project is newsworthy? So newsworthy that it's worth carrying out the wishes of people who've said they're going to murder families and who have so far done everything they've threatened to do. Newsworthy. As the character Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride, 'I do not think it means what you think it means.'"

He went on to say every news outlet that "did the bidding of the Guardians of Peace is morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable."

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"I know there's juicy stuff in the emails and I know some of us have been insulted and I know there's more to come. No one's private life can totally withstand public scrutiny. But this is much bigger than hurt feelings and banged-up egos," he said.

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