As for why an episode like that was needed? Here's the text of an actual post I read on a B5 message board just the other day (posted without permission and in this case I don't care):
Subject: Why did clark was the bad guy?
I mean sure he get the power by a coup but so?!
What was so bad about it he just don't want provocateurs and wants to stop alien influence...
Sure he will not fix the economic situation but the truth is that he was probably going to be overthrown by a smarter leader(Hitler,Stalin) who would fix economy and the price is some people getting arrested and you must not speak against the government...
Heh, yea, that pretty much sums it up
Perhaps it was different for those of us who watched Babylon 5 first run, before all Government power grabs and News Channel Bias that and such aggresive Partisanship that were brought to us after 911. I personally have always enjoyed the "Newscast" episodes in Babylon 5 and appreciate how they show the growing corruption and power grabs of Clark Administration and their Propaganda (We don't have homeless on Earth, that's all been ended. oh, sure there's a few lazy people who choose to live that way...
I just find it interesting how these episodes can generate such a visceral reaction from someone who is too young to have lived through Politics and Media prior to 911
One Day I hope to be the Man my Cat thinks I am
Where are we going? And why are we in this Handbasket?