A review of “The Post”, a political thriller directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, that retells the true story of Washington Post journalists who attempted to publish the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s — and why the movie is relevant today.

I saw the movie “The Post” yesterday and you can’t help but think about our current situation while watching the ending, and witnessing a replay of the difficult decisions made by the late Katherine Graham when she ran The Washington Post.

Major decisions not just on behalf of the First Amendment but major because she was a woman at a time women were not taken seriously and she went against the counsel of nearly every man advising her. Her reputation and the paper's financial future was at stake almost as much as this country's credibility. It truly was a great moment in journalism history and in the history of this country. The Post uncovered lies the American people had been told abut the war in Vietnam by presidents and Cabinet members from Administration to Administration and party to party.

And if you can watch that movie and not clearly see what Donald Trump’s mantra of “fake news” is doing to our country, then... well, I don't know.

Movies tend, of course, to often over-dramatize a moment. But Mrs. Graham’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers at the risk of going to prison was a monumental decision. It was not over-hyped in the movie. It turned The Post from a local paper to a national paper that others still look to for honest, courageous reporting.

I was a reporter for a local paper many years ago. Even covering local issues and politics as a reporter you had a clear sense of what was expected of you: covering news objectively and looking out first for your readers, not the people you covered. Did I make errors? Occasionally, of course, who doesn’t? But we’d correct those errors quickly. Did I ever make up a story? Never.

And it’s truly scary to hear the President cry “fake news” about CNN or The Washington Post or New York Times, yet believe the trash he reads in the tabloids. This is a man who questioned his predecessor’s birth place, who repeats conspiracy theories he reads on right-wing web sites and who delivers “alternate facts” several times a day. This is a man who calls "fake news" any news that doesn't make him look good.

You may support his policies — fine, we can debate the value of policies — but if you can go watch “The Post” and not feel a pride in journalists and the risks they take to inform you, then Trump has affected this country too much in the wrong way.🔷

(This story was first published on B. Jay Cooper's website.)

(Cover: The Post.)



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Former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Also headed communications offices at the RNC, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University.

Marion, MA, USA. Articles in PMP Magazine Website