Western Courier

‘The Post’ proves tenacious writing is not out of style

John Benedeck, Staff Writer

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“The Post” is the “Rocky” for journalists.

This captivating biopic both captures the scrutiny sustained by the Press, and glorifies the tenacity of good journalists.

The film begins with a brief scene of the Vietnam War, and Daniel Ellsberg (played by Matthew Rhys) is introduced. Ellsberg is the military informant for the New York Times, as well as good friends with a writer at the Washington Post.

The controversy begins when Ellsberg exits a plane from Vietnam, along with Secretary of State Bob McNamara.

McNamara, as we know, is the main culprit in the defense conspiracy. Moving ahead to Meryl Streep’s character, Katherine Graham, who is the

heir to the Washington Post, and is in the midst of taking the business public. Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) is the Editor in Chief, and fears the paper is in jeopardy without good leads.

While Bradlee mulls over options of leads (Nixon’s daughter’s wedding being his biggest headline), the Post gets a break.

Ellsberg turns the 7,000-page McNamara Papers over to the Post’s Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk). Ellsberg held on to them, risking felony charges, knowing they needed to be released.

While this story is a paper-saver, it is possibly illegal to run, and certainly a fire-starter.  Graham is now torn between losing investors and friends (McNamara), while also doing the journalistic duty promised by her company’s statement of faith.

The Post runs the story, gets sued by the government and is taken to the Supreme Court. The court ruled 6-3 in favor of the Post and the rebellion of the Press VS. the Government began.

That brings me to this: The McNamara Papers and Watergate were the beginning of Government distrust by the public.

First of all, the questionable position the United States had in Vietnam was confirmed pointless. Also, the Nixon administration
blew two major holes in their reputation.

That being said, did the journalists at the Post hold back because they had friends in Office? No! This film is a testament to the ultimate journalistic obligation.

The writers at the Post risked prison-time in order to do the ethical, and ultimately the right, thing.

Writers ought to take this film’s premises to heart. It is important to realize the hard-duty journalists owe to the public. The government may

accuse the press of “Fake News” or slander. The truth hurts, and it will make enemies, but the most important thing is honor.

Today, the press sees more  scrutiny than ever before. Networks are divided by political agendas, while the public is left to fall complacent.

In order to return the reputation of journalists back to where it was 50 years ago, we must continue to push.

Push harder than before to write what is true, and what is fair. Politicians won’t like it, and they will claim it is false, but as long as we write with the public’s interest in mind, we take one step closer to reclaiming journalistic integrity.

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‘The Post’ proves tenacious writing is not out of style