ART & POLITICS/ The Post: Brillant movie by Spielberg reveals how the US government lied for 30
Spielberg's latest movie not only sheds a light on the lies the US Government perpetrated in the second half of the XXth century but brings up the question of why it would not be doing the same now.
Set in the 1970's, the movie first shows The Washington Post's chief, Mrs Graham, who's main concern is to make the local newspaper go public. The Washington Post is not only small and in need of money but Mrs Graham, only woman on the executive board, seems to have trouble being listened and not being transparent.
On the other hand, The New York Times just published shocking news on how the American Government, currently in the Vietnam War which caused more than a million deaths, completely pretended for years to the population that it was winning the war. Indeed, The New York Times found for each public declaration to the population a secret one which contradicted the previous. Therefore, The New York Times is censured, something that had never happened since the creation of the republic.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post just discovered the leak documents which The New York Times had. One of the most striking reveal is how previous president Einsehower openly stated that the Vietnam War would never be won, meaning that the only reason why the US did not make peace was to not be "humiliated".
And here comes the huge dilemma: Do we publish or not ? Mrs Graham is surrounded by men who tell to not. In fact, not only could publishing cause the company's investors to retreat and create conflict with the Pentagon, Mrs Graham is close friends with McNamara, Secretary of Defense, who's the most accountable in this affair. On the other hand, as the editor in chief Ben Bradlee brilliantly states, "The only way to defend the right to publish is to publish". Mrs Graham then answers "We publish". And despite the censure that the government puts, The Washington Post resists, continues to publish the leaked documents, and is not just a local newspaper anymore.
Obviously, this brings both The New York Times and The Washington Post to the Supreme Court.
I do not want to spoil to you this movie even more, so let's stop here. However, what strikes me is that the war that the US lead in Iraq could have a similar scenario to the one in this movie. It is very likely that the government lied on many topics on this war, and who knows, we might end up in a few years with documents being leaked and another movie on the freedom of press.