HCAU Reviews: The Post
If you haven’t already seen The Post, trust me, you need to. There are so many reasons to see this new film starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, just speaking of Streep and Hanks – who wouldn’t want to see a film with such acting legends? But let’s get serious about why this film is so important, especially given the current political climate.
The film focusses on the involvement of The Washington Post in publishing the Pentagon Papers – essentially an investigation into America’s involvement in the Vietnam war, which revealed that multiple presidents knew that America could not win the Vietnam war, yet continued to send their soldiers to fight and die there. The film examines the dilemma of The Post’s involvement, especially given the controversy that the paper was owned by the first female newspaper publisher, Katherine Graham. The New York Times had already been publishing extracts from the papers, but became tied up in a law suit from the White House, essentially denying them the right to publish the confidential papers. This left the staff of The Post in a challenging position, knowing that the information in the Pentagon Papers held the Nixon administration to account.
While the events of the film are around forty to fifty years old, they feel especially pertinent in the present political climate. One of the questions at the heart of The Post is that of journalistic integrity, examined through the ability of the free press to hold others accountable, in this case, the government. Given the current inescapability of accusations of fake news, these issues are of paramount importance. As Lord Northcliffe, a newspaper publisher around the turn of the previous century noted, ‘news is what somebody, somewhere, wants to suppress’. What must be remembered at this time is that the news exists to report the events of the world, not to twist and distort facts to fit a political agenda. The Post brings this issue back into the spotlight, reminding us all of the importance of a free press, while featuring a fantastic cast, and plenty of drama to keep you enthralled from beginning to end
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