Steven Spielberg has done it again. From the depths of his imagination, he has taken a dark historical event and shed some much needed light on the scene. True to classic Spielberg-ian values, the movie takes a lighter tone on what was one of the biggest scandals of the 20th century. Some critics may deem this sentimentality a bit cheesy, but quite to the contrary it adds a very human characteristic to an absolutely stacked cast.
With Academy Award winner Tom Hanks and Hollywood legend (as well as a three-time Academy Award winner) Meryl Streep in leading roles, it is almost impossible to craft a bad picture. In all actuality, it probably is impossible. Both the actor and actress shine in roles that illuminate the social and psychological norms of the 1970s. Streep’s character, Kay, deals with the struggles of being a large business owner in a time run by men. Constantly ignored and cast aside throughout the film, Kay takes a stand and makes the decision that altered the course of history.
In full, this movie deals with the huge cover-up of the secrets behind the Vietnam War. It follows the owner and countless employees of The Washington Post as they struggle to cement their name in the annals of newspaper lore.
When classified documents, unraveling the covert and borderline illegal actions of the U.S. government, fall into the hands of the Post, they have a choice. They can either publish the paper and subsequently incur the full wrath of the presidency in judicial court or play it safe and undermine their First Amendment right of free speech therefore inferring compliance with an unconstitutional act of government. Either way proving consequential.
In the end, government secrets were released as any good history student knows. But this blatant act of media suppression brings to mind some more current affairs. Two words: “fake news.” Probably our current president’s two favorite words.
In any case, President Donald Trump has made his stance clear on press coverage. At this point he most likely thinks all news outlets that are critical of him are printing “fake news” from how much we hear those two words. What we don’t hear or see are the implications of this phrase. As the president of the United States of America and leader of the free world, Trump’s words carry power. Power that can shape opinions and alter decisions. Power that can make or break a story. Perhaps even one printed by the now booming Washington Post.
The government keeps secrets from the public. Journalists uncover them. This is a story as old as The Post and it’s the plot to our movie.