Aaron Sorkin, the creator of the show everyone but Dan Rather hates, defended The Newsroom tonight at a Television Critics Association panel with Jeff Daniels. Those reports that he fired everyone on his writing staff except his ex-girlfriend? Untrue, says Sorkin.

"The writing staff was not fired. And just seeing that in print is scaring the hell out of the writing staff. They're acting very, very strange," he said. "They're coming to work early. They're being polite to me."

In fact, he says he doesn't even have an ex-girlfriend on the staff:

"She was incorrectly identified as my ex-girlfriend. She is not. I don't have an ex-girlfriend nor a current girlfriend in the writers room. I would hate for this rumor or implication to follow her for the rest of her career… She is on the staff for the same reason everyone else is on the staff. She is very talented, she has a sensibility that is very different from my own, and she's an incredibly hard worker."

All those Internet Blogs saying the show is sexist? Sorkin, "100 percent disagrees."

The female characters "are shown being good at their jobs. Caring about something other than yourself or reaching higher or being curious, plainly smart, and great team players, those qualities to me are what define these characters. And once you nail that down you can have them slip on as many banana peels as you want. That's just comedy."

Even Jeff Daniels got in on the action, taking a slight jab at the critics in the process:

"I completely get why you do what you do," Daniels told the assembled media reporters from his seat on the dais. "But you don't do it for me. And you never have. It took me a long time as an actor for me to stop reading you. You love me. But you hate me. Where do I go? If Aaron's happy, if [HBO Entertainment president] Sue [Naegle] is happy, and if I'm happy, it's good. And it might even be great. There's nothing you could tell me, I'm sorry to say, that could help me. I wish there were."

No word, though, on any of the show's potential Daddy Issues.

[Image via AP]