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‘The Post’ perfectly portrays journalist’s struggles

Kaitlin Clark, Entertainment Editor

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With its quick wit and ability to answer the tough questions about the media’s relationship with politics, there is perhaps no film better to discuss a situation reminiscent of our current climate than “The Post.”

The 125-min film focuses on the moral and legal struggle the staff of The Washington Post faced when deciding whether or not to publish articles related to the explosive Pentagon Papers — documents that proved the Johnson and Kennedy presidential administrations had purposely misled both the public and Congress on the progress of the Vietnam War.

Following the 1971 publishing of several articles in The New York Times pertaining to the documents, President Richard Nixon pushed to censor the media. What came after was a struggle to reveal the information to the public, one that brought the First Amendment squarely into view.

“The Post” delves into the question The Washington Post staff had to answer. On one hand, they could ignore the situation, keeping the paper safe, but allowing the people responsible to get away with their actions. On the other, they could publish, risking a lawsuit, their own professional reputations, and prison.

Actress Meryl Streep plays Katharine Graham, publisher of The Washington Post. As the first female publisher of a large American newspaper, Graham faces criticism every step of the way as she tries to maintain the paper she inherited from her late husband, while also proving that she can be a strong leader. Streep’s portrayal of Graham creates a character who is trying to gain the conviction necessary to represent her staff while also saving the paper she’s fought so hard to keep control of. She becomes a woman who defies the traditional business woman archetype. She isn’t inherently unshakable, nor did she create her newspaper empire herself, but she has talents that are all her own. Her strengths lie in her openness to others’ ideas and her determination to do what is best for the paper.  Streep does a wonderful job of shaping this character into someone audiences can cheer on as she makes the tough decisions that are necessary for her publication.

Tom Hanks acts alongside Streep as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post. Throughout the film, Bradlee never wavers in his belief that they should publish the Pentagon Papers, insisting that it is their responsibility to the American people. Hanks’ representation of Bradlee adds some humor to an otherwise serious movie, ultimately creating a character that is determined to follow his morals and get the papers published. His steadfast resolve is refreshingly optimistic to see on the screen as he is part of the team fighting to do what is right.

“The Post” is a stunningly real take on one of the most well-known news cases in American history, presented at a time when protections for the press are crucially necessary. The struggle journalists constantly face is wonderfully represented by a talented cast who bring the events of the 1971 Pentagon Papers leak to life. It is a must-watch for anyone who believes in the power of truth, justice and the potential individuals have to change history.

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‘The Post’ perfectly portrays journalist’s struggles