Saturday, January 20, 2018
MERYL STREEP HONORS THE WASHINGTON POST
“Darrell, do you want to go to the film today?” My wife posed the question.
“What film, again?”
“’The Post.’ It’s about the Washington Post and the Pentagon Papers. Directed by Steven Spielberg.”
“I definitely want to see that,” I replied.
It covers a contentious period in the history of the United States. The controversy about the Pentagon Papers came to a head in 1971. Richard Nixon was President. He resigned the office in 1974. Nixon, played by an actor, is seen in a bit part in the film.
The major roles in the film include that of Katharine Graham, then-owner of the Post, and her staff of editors and reporters.
Graham's role is marvelous, both clever and strong in asserting her authority amidst rooms-full of male investors and newspaper executives. Stock investors are portrayed as Graham wanted to raise funds through a stock sale. She succeeds in selling shares and thus raising funds to improve the paper—two huge goals in a male-dominated sectors of society.
The film is as much devoted to the spunk of this ground-breaking woman as it is to the national dispute over the Pentagon Papers. The film accurately portrays the U.S. government of the time as seeking to protect its authority to keep the Pentagon Papers secret.
Katharine Graham wins her business battles in two ways. First, she raised money and the quality of the newspaper. Second, she won journalism battles by prevailing over cautious editors, with a result that the Pentagon Papers were reported in The Washington Post only shortly after The New York Times.
This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Ch. 1, Section 105 of the US Code via Wikimedia Commons
“Local paper no more” is one of the tag lines to remember from the film.
The Supreme Court of the time plays a climactic role when it’s portrayed delivering a 6-to-3 decision in favor of publication of the Pentagon Papers. The line I remember is: "The press is for the governed, not the governors."
I judge that the film is very relevant to the situation in the United States in 2018. The lessons I draw are 1, it’s not unusual for high elected officials to seek to trounce opponents by any and all means and 2, women may make very good executive decisions.
I urge you to see the film. Draw your own conclusions, enjoy, and apply the lessons to generate a better climate for women today and in the future.