Katherine Graham, the late writer of The Washington Post, is legend of their newsroom. Not to say in Hollywood, which has simply turned out a glitzy tribute to Mrs. Graham starring Meryl Streep because the writer who, with government editor Ben Bradlee, fought the Nixon administration over the discharge of the Pentagon Papers.
Not talked about lately over on the Post? Katherine Graham wrote her memoirs, Personal History, again in 1997. Among many subjects mentioned was the battle over the Pentagon Papers. Without additional ado, let’s flip on to writer Graham herself on the topic.
At the tip of 1971, I mentioned the problems surrounding the publication of the Pentagon Papers in a speech I gave at Denison University. I nonetheless preserve what I stated then, which was primarily that we believed from the beginning that the fabric within the Pentagon Papers was simply the sort of data the general public wanted to be able to type its opinions and make its selections extra properly. In brief, we believed the Papers had been so helpful to a better understanding of the best way by which America turned concerned within the Vietnam War that we regarded their publication not as a breach of the nationwide safety, because the administration claimed, however, reasonably, as a contribution to the nationwide curiosity-certainly as the duty of a accountable newspaper.
As I concluded in that speech twenty-5 years in the past, and as I strongly nonetheless consider:
The sobering actuality is that the method laid naked within the Pentagon Papers is exactly the method by which many of the enterprise of presidency is carried ahead. We could wholeheartedly embrace the pledge of “No More Vietnams,” however till we open up the system and expose its workings to the sunshine of public scrutiny, that pledge will stay the realm of empty rhetoric.
Mr. Graham wasn’t alone on this perception of exposing authorities paperwork “to the light of public scrutiny.” Her accomplice on this episode, Ben Bradlee, additionally mentioned the problem in his personal memoirs, A Good Life. Bradlee wrote the next: “Not publishing the data after we had it might be like not saving a drowning man, or not telling the reality.”
Remember that: Not going public with the data the Post had can be like “not telling the truth.”
As that is written Hollywood’s salute to this second in Mrs. Graham’s historical past and that of the paper is The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep as Graham with Tom Hanks forged as Ben Bradlee. On December 19th of final 12 months, the movie received a number of glowing opinions in – the place else?- The Washington Post.
Headlined one reviewer admiringly: “In ‘The Post,’ Streep and Hanks lead a stirring homage to the pursuit of reality.”
The overview by the Post’s chief movie critic Ann Hornaday reads partly:
The Post isn’t a subdued ode to cinematic restraint and shoe-leather-based reporting. Rather it’s a purposefully rousing homage to the beliefs of journalistic independence, governmental accountability and gender equality that isn’t averse to underlining, italicizing and boldfacing why these rules are extra necessary than ever.”
The overview additionally says this:
Propelled by alarm on the election of Donald Trump final 12 months, Spielberg and his lead actors put The Post in entrance of cameras in file time, beginning manufacturing in May of this 12 months and bringing it to theaters in a scant six months.
Whether turning to the precise phrases of Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee themselves, or to the Spielberg lionization on movie, Americans have been informed repeatedly, once more in Graham’s personal phrases, that we should “open up the system and expose its workings to the light of public scrutiny.”
Thus one can solely marvel on the abrupt turnabout on the Post – and never solely the Post however throughout the spectrum of liberal media -as Americans awaited the discharge of the now-well-known House Intelligence memo that runs, in contrast to the Pentagon Papers, a mere 4 pages. That turnabout is captured at, however in fact, at Fox News, which ran this Brian Flood story because the countdown to the discharge of the House memo was underway. The headline:
Media’s longtime campaign for transparency ends with Nunes memo as ‘The Post’ stays in theaters
The story, partly:
The media trade’s a long time-outdated campaign for transparency ended this week as liberal pundits from quite a lot of information organizations referred to as for the controversial memo on alleged FBI abuses to remain non-public.
Talking heads on each CNN and MSNBC, in addition to editorial boards from the celebrated New York Times and Washington Post have all come out in opposition to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence memo that probably reveals the FBI abused spying authorities and paints authorities officers as anti-Trump.
Ironically, the mainstream media needs to maintain the memo non-public at the same time as Steven Spielberg’s The Post, a narrative in regards to the Washington Post’s combat to launch the Pentagon Papers, is enjoying in theaters throughout the nation. Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep painting newspaper legends Ben Bradlee and Kay Graham as they problem the federal government to launch the controversial paperwork.
….The actual-life, present model of the Washington Post isn’t precisely a champion of transparency in the intervening time. The paper’s editorial board wrote on Thursday that it’s “not in the business of opposing the release of information of potential public value,” however then spends a couple of hundred phrases contradicting that assertion.
“Discrediting law enforcement is the memo’s transparent purpose and why it has been embraced by President Trump,” Post editors wrote earlier than claiming that House Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP colleagues wish to assist Trump “impede an investigation” into whether or not or not Russia tried to affect the 2016 election.”
Scathingly, Fox quotes Mediaite columnist Joseph Wulfsohn, who mocks the paper’s Trump-era motto: “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Said Wulfsohn: “The purpose of a free press is for them to shed light on what’s been going on in our government no matter which political party benefits… Apparently the Washington Post has already forgotten their Trump-era motto ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’”
Democracy does certainly die in darkness. And the Washington Post favored turning out the lights.
Will the Post be ashamed of itself? Don’t guess the ranch.