In Network, the American public is so hungry for the spin-free frankness of a seemingly honest man that it embraces a TV anchorman who goes off his rocker in the middle of a newscast. (That’s what makes the film so provocative, by the way. In the hands of a West Wing-type screenwriter, the anchorman would have been presented as a Christ-like figure, but Chayefsky leaves us in no possible doubt that Howard Beale really is off his rocker.) Imagine, then, a film about a present-day public figure who screws up in a big way, calls a press conference, admits his errors, and throws himself upon the mercy of the public….
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