I'm sorry to sound as if I'm preaching, but here goes anyway.
The Newsroom is meant to be extremely idealistic because Sorkin was inspired by the story of Don Quixote. Basically he wants to hold the heroes (and heroines) of the show to the highest possible standard. If one works that hard for that long on improving one's self in certain ways, and indeed is successful in achieving the goals along the way then I don't think that others are really in a position to judge. Despite people who sit around saying 'Isn't life mysterious' the whole damn time and thinking it passes for intelligence, there are people who seem to be taking themselves only just seriously enough. I guess it helps me being so young and knowing that what I think about anything and everything may well be total rubbish and as a result I can not take my own beliefs so seriously and just listen and try to understand the arguments, ideas, and themes Sorkin's trying to make with the dialogue. In my opinion, The Newsroom is a triumph of storytelling in at least a few key, and in my opinion rather magnificent, ways.
Firstly it is political - many have said that Sorkin (who is a devout..if devout the word I'm looking for...liberal) has made the protagonist (Will McEvoy) a Republican, i.e. Conservative, because he is under the impression that it gives a (false) sense of balance. This concept is actually mentioned on the show, and because of this I am fairly sure he realised this aspect of the character but dismissed it because the real reason that McEvoy is a Republican is that Sorkin wanted to display another, and very real, side of Conservative parties, in which there are in fact reasonable, respectable, and intelligent people. In my opinion it is somewhat understandable to take this point and make the argument that Sorkin isn't doing a good enough job to explain himself, but on the other hand do we criticise Shakespeare or Wilde for writing in such an intricate and cerebral way? The point is that one should be looking for a broader meaning amongst things you understood explicitly, as well as subtext and things you may have missed. That's totally my opinion though, and it should be noted that I am one for really enjoying reading something which is fantastically complicated and seemingly convoluted purely for the joy of the way in which it's portrayed. Working toward something isn't a trait I've always been able to value in myself, but it certainly is now. I have found it makes the fruit all the sweeter.
My second reason is the element of human emotion based drama. The scientific community can often be found knocking drama TV series and alike for focussing on the lives of the characters themselves in a very spectral sense as opposed to making any kind of perspicuous point. Again, however, I feel it's much more about the delivery. While the story will need some sort of 'point' in order to develop, the journey itself should also be enjoyed. I mean, I wouldn't want to go on a holiday to the best location in the world with people I find repulsive, would you? In my opinion, Sorkin is a master of political based argument, as well as emotional and dramatic storytelling. He seems to be able to tie the two together very admirably by showing how the characters are affected by their job, and how their job is affected by the news they report and the world in which we live.
To summarise, this program does take itself very seriously, but only to the point at which it can still prove itself. I think that in order to make the arguments it does it needs to take itself this seriously, and in any case as far as I'm concerned the show is certainly well deserving of this attitude. I mean, the opening scene alone - I'm not from the US, nor have I been (as far as I'm aware), and yet he's selling the original American Dream, or at least one of the American Dreams - really struck a chord with me in that he is describing something we should all be striving towards and something which should constantly be in the back of our minds making sure what we do is in some way worthwhile. (Doing things purely for enjoyment IS worthwhile, depending of course on the thing. Who am I to say what's worthwhile, I don't know anything? That part is totally up to you).
Probably not everyone's cup of tea, some of the reasons for this are explained briefly within my review, but if you try to put yourself into the right state of mind (if you're not already in it!) then I think you'll really enjoy and understand this program as a whole.
5* - 10/10 (Not quite as good as The West Wing, but that's for some really rather obvious reasons.)