The ratings for “News Night” plummet after it downplays a pair of sensational stories, and Will and Mac must find a way to lure back enough viewers to justify the network’s quest to air a Republican debate. Meanwhile, Will considers writers for an all-access profile; Sloan is disappointed by the lack of coverage of an important financial story; and Charlie learns a National Security Agency whistle-blower’s identity.
Sloan subs for Elliot during the Japanese nuclear crisis following the March 2011 earthquake, but her harsh questioning of a Tokyo power-company representative could damage her credibility. Meanwhile, Will has a bout of insomnia that leads him to therapy, and he learns a lesson about bullying after his rude behavior in an interview.
Will becomes tabloid fodder after a confrontation with a gossip columnist on New Year’s Eve, which threatens to undermine his credibility on a current news investigation. Meanwhile, Don urges Maggie to set Jim up on a date with her roommate; Mac’s boyfriend pitches a story about the government’s inability to prosecute financial crimes; and Neal tries out his Bigfoot theory on anyone who will listen.
Will’s apology for the lack of integrity in newscasts sets off constant critiques of the Tea Party before the November 2010 midterm elections, but draws the ire of network executives and Atlantis World Media CEO Leona Lansing. Meanwhile, Don confronts Elliot about his analytical skills; Jim helps Maggie during a panic attack; and Mac is unnerved by Will’s endless parade of romantic conquests.