Saturday, 20 January, 2018

Former Washington Post publisher, subject of new movie, 'knew Fargo'

Expand                      The Post Expand The Post
Anna Jefferson | 13 January, 2018, 07:00

It happens to any good newspaper reporter.

The Post gets a chance to beat their news rival when they also get hold of the Pentagon Papers study and the government uses legal action to stop The Times from publishing for a few days.

Their report exposed what the U.S. government knew about the viability of the Vietnam war and its dire prospects.

Tom Hanks stars as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of the Washington Post.

At the time of the Pentagon Papers controversy, the Post had just become a publicly traded company, and Graham anxious that the defiant move, putting the newspaper at odds with the federal government, would give investors the jitters.

Early past year, when director Steven Spielberg saw and heard what was unfolding in the new Trump White House, he seized the script for this film about uncovering government lies and he ran with it.

FEATURED IMAGE: Tom Hanks portrays Ben Bradlee, left, and Meryl Streep portrays Katharine Graham in a scene from The Post.

Spielberg saw an opportunity to comment on our unusual American moment and committed himself to realizing his vision in record time.

Directed by Steven Spielberg.

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I give The Post 5 out of 5 overpriced cups of lemonade without vodka.

And you could win the soundtrack CD, set to be released tomorrow to coincide with the film's opening.

Despite the events in the film taking place almost five decades ago, it would be irrelevant to go through a full discussion around it without mentioning its relevance and more so its poignancy in relation to the present state of the world and the leaders that are in power who utilise their authority for personal gain and favourable poll numbers rather than in the interest of world peace. This to me is a patriotic movie. When the documents come to Graham and Bradlee, they are faced with the choice: publish and risk the paper, maybe even jail, or let the President silence the free press and hide the facts from the American people.

I was reading the Los Angeles Times because my wife and I were there last month to visit our daughters.

Tom Hanks: "There's no reason to have a First Amendment if we can't do this, and so it was an extremely risky call".

Yes, it was inspiring, a reminder to those of us who have remained in the newspaper business, amid all its changes and cutbacks, about why we keep on. But this really is one of her best performances in a while, with a real arc to it as we see Graham's spine stiffen and eyes clear as she finds the strength to assert herself.

Hanks replied we are now facing "this guerrilla war that is going on against the First Amendment". And these leaders lied to the American public and Congress about the war and its scope. "I want all of the girls watching here now to know that a new day is on the horizon", she declared at the Los Angeles prizegiving.

Yes, and it all began with Ellsberg, who has prominent scenes early in the movie (he is played by Matthew Rhys of the TV series "The Americans") but unfortunately is not seen much in the film's dramatic second half.

After a court order halted the New York Times' publication, the Post got its own copy and had to decide whether to step up, tell the truth, and defy the court order. Indeed, Ellsberg was prosecuted under the Espionage Act and faced the possibility of a 115-year sentence.

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