'The Post'

John Thomas

There are times in one’s life when one is forced to make a decision. Even knowing that the decision will have far reaching negative or positive consequences, the decision still needs to be made. Well in advance of this, information must be collected and considered; who will be affected the most, is the information accurate, what will be the outcome and most importantly, is the decision right?  Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) has been placed in the unenviable position of making a decision on a colossal scale.

Graham’s grandfather purchased The Washington Post in the early 30s, passed the leadership to his son-in-law who, upon his death, left it to his wife Kay. In the early 70s, Kay had two momentous decisions to make: should the paper generate desperately needed income by offering shares on the New York Stock Exchange and should she allow the printing of secret documents “leaked” from the Pentagon? Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), her editor, is in favor of moving forward with both proposals: “sell and print.”

Her dilemma here: if she agrees to the public offering in shares of the newspaper and prints the copies of the “Pentagon Papers,” the paper could be shutdown by the Nixon administration. If she doesn’t print the documents, the interest in investing in her paper may wane to the point of the lending bankers backing out of the deal at the last moment. Should she move forward with both ideas or just one of them, if only one, which one?

Ben is of the opinion that publishing the “Pentagon Papers” is the right thing to do. He hopes that the publication of these documents will halt government cover-ups and the lies about the US involvement in the Viet Nam war they’ve been making over the previous 30 years. “If we don’t stop them [the government], who will?” he asks Kay at one of their private meetings. She’s not sure, but she’s thinking. She is also considering the future of The Post, the family connection to the company, the people who work there and the responsibility to the public that the media must cherish and honor.

“Do we face the possibility of serving a prison sentence for publishing the story or do we remain silent and allow things to remain the same?” It is the question that she, and only she, can and must answer. She decided. If she hadn’t made the choice she made, one wonders what might have been the outcome of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel, in Washington DC, during the last days of the Nixon administration?

Directed by Steven Spielberg, The Post is a “must see” movie running 125 minutes.



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