The Post

A Free Press serves the governed, not the governors.
Justice Hugo Black, United States Supreme Court, 1971

A coverup about Vietnam that spanned four presidents: Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson, is discovered by a Rand employee, Daniel Ellsberg. Now Nixon has inherited the mess and adds his vituperous view of the press to the mix. They call this massive collection "The Pentagon Papers."

Director Steven Spielberg ("Bridge of Spies"), working from a PG-13 script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer ("The West Wing"), continues his plan to illustrate key moments in American history. After an opening episode in Vietnam (I couldn't watch, nor did most of the others who have the misfortune to recall those dreadful times), with civilian Daniel Ellsberg embedded in a platoon. He comes back stateside highly motivated to discover how this nightmare came about. Herein lies the tale.

Part of Spielberg's enormous cast:
  • Meryl Streep ("Florence Foster Jenkins") Kay Graham inherited her beloved Washington Post from her husband, who had taken it over from her father. It is has been in her family all of her life. She has never held a "day job," nor did she ever expect to.
  • Tom Hanks ("Sully") Ben Bradlee is considered a loose cannon, but has been hired to add a bit of punch to a newspaper that has long been considered a "small town paper." 
  • Bob Odenkirk ("The Disaster Artist") Ben Bagdikian is a reporter with connections. He's the guy who made things happen and had to live with the results.
  • Matthew Rhys ("Death Comes to Pemberly") Rand employee Daniel Ellsberg feels that a prison sentence is a worthwhile trade-off for saving American lives.
  • Tracy Letts ("Lady Bird") Fritz Beebe is Ms. Graham's respected coach and advisor. She looks to him for help because she is so ill equipped to be in this position.
  • Bruce Greenwood ("Star Trek") Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara is the former Post employee who wants a complete study of America's involvement with Vietnam as an academic case history for posterity. The Rand Corporation gets the contract.
  • Sarah Paulson ("Feud") When Tony Bradlee describes Kay Graham's quandary to her husband, she provides a complete overview for a key issue in this film.
The two main issues surround 1) Freedom of the press. It shouldn't matter if it is the White House trying to stifle the newspapers. 2) Women in the workplace. It looks so familiar to see men talk over the women who try to be heard.

Those weren't the only signs of the times. I enjoyed the vintage automobiles, rotary telephones, fabrics, and those enormous full-sized newspapers!

This is a cast of seasoned pros, with a director and writers who know their business, so the issues are clearly stated. There is a third issue: the Post is becoming a publicly traded business. This was a big decision locally and was not one of national interest but it was happening simultaneously.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
This is just a taste...
* * * * * * * * * * * *