By Sharon Adasme
With all the fighting between different newsrooms and the fighting between government security and freedom of the press, it was hard for me not to get sucked right into the movie The Post. As editor-in-chief of the Calumet, I was advised to go see it because it dealt with my area of study and future career choice. I had never even heard of the movie. What I didn’t expect was that I would become so emotionally attached to what I saw. The fights, the press, the truth – it made me want to take a stand with someone.
But that’s what a newspaper does – it unites communities, keeps people informed, and is the voice of the people. That’s what I want to be a part of. That’s what I want to do.
The IMDb summarizes The Post as, “A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.” The Pentagon Papers, or top secret security notes about wars the U.S. had fought, and was knowingly losing, were exploited and published for the public to see. Katherine Graham, that first female publisher of the Washington Post had to make some pretty heavy decisions as the future of the Post, and her freedom, hang in the balance. But when her editor Ben Bradlee is given access to the forbidden-to-print Pentagon Papers, Kay has to take a stand where no woman has stood before, and Ben has to put everything The Post is on the line as the decision to publish or not falls upon Kay’s shoulders.
I whooped when the decision to publish came, and I cried when the verdict of the Supreme Court versus newspapers ruled. I clapped my hands for Kay standing up and defending “not my father’s business. This is not my husband’s business. This is my business.” It was a great movie for historical purposes, and for the storyline, but what really struck me is how the press really works.
There was a line in the movie that suggested this feigned friendship between government and the press so that they could all smoke cigars and drink together at the same dinner parties. But that is not the case. They keep each other in check. The government is supposed to listen to the voice of the people in deciding how to run the country and the press is there to give voice to the people. It was awesome that even opposing newspapers could band together and stand up to the oppressing weight of the government to publish the truth, to publish what the people deserved to know. And whether that cost them their job, a trip to jail, or at the very least mockery and scorn, they did it, because it was their duty to the people.
I was very pleased that I was told to see this movie. It made me want to jump for joy and continue that much harder to put out a true-to-life newspaper, keeping in mind what the readers want to see or hear. This is what I want to do. I want to report truth, hard facts, I want the fights and victories that freedom of the press brings. I want to live by the pen and not by the sword. As Albus Dumbledore said in Harry Potter, “”Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”