‘The Post’ Is a Timely Journalism Movie That Echoes The Industry’s Struggles and Challenges

The Post focuses on the role of a free press, the empowerment of women, and the struggles of facing financial ruin behind publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Actor Tom Hanks attends the premiere of "The Post" at The Newseum on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Washington.
Brent N. Clarke / AP Images

The Post focuses on the role of a free press, the empowerment of women, and the struggles of facing financial ruin behind publishing the Pentagon Papers.

The movie, The Post, was directed by Steven Spielberg, and it is set in the early 1970s. After its limited release on December 22, 2017, the movie’s premise narrates a showdown between journalism outlets and the U.S government over publishing the Pentagon Papers.

Spielberg’s latest historical drama stars legendary actors Merry Streep and Tom Hanks. Streep depicts Katherine Graham, who was the publisher of the Washington Post. Hanks portrays Ben Bradlee, a legendary editor for The Post. Streep’s character Graham in the movie struggles with the idea of publishing classified documents about the Vietnam War, according to CBS News.

“The documents, published in both the New York Times and the Washington Post, exposed the truth about Vietnam despite a legal threat from the Nixon administration. The story transformed the Post and its female publisher into journalistic icons. “The Post” reveals unsung heroes and the powerful pressures on the legendary publisher with a message that resonates today.”

The above report explains that the movie touches upon a number of important topics alive today. It is about women, and it is about what is happening to the press and the need to stay vigilant. In addition, the film explains the need to make democracy on a daily basis.

The topic of women within The Post is developed further. It explains the complexities of women occupying powerful positions and how their role becomes transformational over time.

“The Post,” written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, is also a story of the evolution of female empowerment personified by Katharine Graham (Streep), publisher of the Washington Post, who finds her footing and her voice during the course of the film — a voice that rises in defense of the First Amendment, of speaking truth to power, of never letting the bad guys bully you out of telling the real story.”

When it comes to the struggles of the press, the grass has not always been greener on the other side for journalism. As stated by the Pew Research Center, despite surges in subscription for large U.S newspapers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, circulation and revenue declined for the entire industry overall.

Other reasons for the decline for journalism today can be attributed to the arrival of the internet, social media, and smartphones. The industry has experienced financial setbacks and had to evolve its efforts to retain readership in the new media landscape.

Furthermore, the contentious relationship between the press and the current administration come to the surface through The Post. As The Atlantic report confirms, “The Post Is Well-Crafted but Utterly Conventional” and highlights the freedom of the press.

“Indeed, The Post is so on the nose for the political moment that at times it almost seems it might have been produced not by Spielberg, but by some high-end marketing firm. It’s not only a Trump-era defense of the essential role played by the free press.”