“The Post” had Potential, but Does Not Quite Deliver

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By Kevin Price, National News Editor for USADC.

In spite of a very high Rotten Tomatoes rating and one of the finest group of actors one could hire, “The Post” failed to deliver on many fronts.  Let me list just a few:

  • In spite of a significant budget of $50 million, it failed to provide realistic scenes on numerous occasions.  For example, the protest scenes about the Vietnam War look like something that could have been done as part of a school play.  The actors looked out of character, the costumes seemed under whelming, and it was otherwise an unimpressive experience.
  • I did not like the way they developed Katherine Graham’s character.  “The Post” story begins for her in 1971, yet she had been chairman since 1963.  You get the impression she took over the week before the “The Post” story began.  I would think the highly talented Graham had a fairly firm grip on her business in eight years, but instead she was treated like a complete neophyte. Instead of being a victory lap for the “#MeToo” movement, they made her into a poster child of the macho view of “female weakness.”  In the end, she did the courageous and right thing, but it almost appeared by accident.  They needed to talk about how her character developed over 8 years to give context, rather than treat her like she just showed up for the Pentagon Papers story (1971), utterly unprepared.
  • At almost 2 hours, the movie was too long, in my opinion.

There was plenty to like about the movie — Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee was certainly believable.  In fact, many of the actors had solid performances.

Also, I really appreciated the theme that was emphasized by both Graham and Bradlee that the media serves the governed and not the government.  I love the idea of the media being a check against government.   One gets the sense in the movie that this dissidence is a virtue in the media today.  In my opinion, the media has failed in this role.  They failed back in the time of The Pentagon Papers (even as they discussed the warm relationships between those who governed and those who covered them) both for their collusion with the government and their ideological bent. The media only seems to hold one party accountable — the Republicans — while largely comforting, promoting, and supporting the Democrats.  It is very overt.  I write this as one who loathes both parties.

This cooperation between the media and the Democrats has impacted negatively on many levels, and ironically on both parties.

  • Improper activities by the Democrats are largely ignored by the media and Republican activities are largely exaggerated. Therefore, people do not know who to believe.  The “underdog” instinct kicks in for many people seeing these stories, and they actually find themselves sympathizing with the GOP.
  • Since the media writes from primarily a progressive bias, there is little understanding of context and facts in a story by the general public.  This makes an indoctrinated rather than educated or informed public.
  • I think if the media was ferocious in its approach to both Democrats and Republicans, it would be well received by the public.  Although this is not necessarily good journalism, it is better than the current approach that makes the media look like an extension of the Democratic party.
  • It is old fashioned and does little for ratings or readership, but the best media is that which is heavily based on facts, pointing out strengths and weaknesses in all perspectives, and creating a well read and informed audience.  You cannot get that from a media that lacks those virtues themselves.

That is probably the thing that bothered me most about “The Post,” it seemed like a tribute to the media as the great defender of liberty.  It has not served that role in my lifetime.  I doubt it has for several lifetimes.  Although “The Post” was marketed as a non-fiction film, it actually seemed like a flimsy novel in the end.

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