"The way they lied," says the Ben Bradlee character in Steven Spielberg's preposterous new film, The Post, "those days have to be over. We have to be the check on their power. If we don't hold them accountable – my God, who will?"
This is the same Ben Bradlee, by the way, who retrieved the diary of his sister-in-law, Mary Pinchot Meyer, after she was murdered and burned the pages having to do her affair with Bradlee's pal, President John Kennedy. The murder took place less than a year after JFK's assassination and three weeks after the release of the Warren Commission report. Meyer's ex-husband was CIA. Bradlee collaborated with the CIA to destroy the evidence. Thanks in no small part to Bradlee's intervention, the murder was never solved. This is just one of the minor ironies that render the movie absurd.
A larger irony is that the movie should have been rightly called The Times, since it was the New York Times that ran all the risk in publishing the Pentagon Papers that contractor Daniel Ellsberg had pilfered, not the Washington Post. "It's as though Hollywood had made a movie about the [Times'] triumphant role in Watergate," said James Goodale, the Times' in-house attorney when the papers were published.
As is painfully obvious, Spielberg made the movie to rally the liberal troops against President Donald Trump and his perceived threat to the First Amendment. The silly, subversive part of it all is that Spielberg elevated the role of the Washington Post only because the Post had a female publisher and thus a juicy role for Meryl Streep. The Times reviewer, paying deference to feminist sensibilities, still dared to write the following: "It is an unfortunate irony that the makers of a film dedicated to the pursuit of truth took dramatic license with Mr. Sulzberger, who died in 2012, in their worthy elevation of Ms. Graham, who died in 2001." He refers here to the Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger and the Post publisher Katherine Graham. Only among allies in political correctness would so basic a corruption of the truth be considered "worthy."
The most significant of the ironies is that the Post and the rest of the major media have extended the same level of protection to Barack Obama that Ben Bradlee and his peers did to JFK, if not more. Their affection for the "truth" remains as situational as it ever was.
Project Veritas honcho James O'Keefe got a refresher course in the media's flexible ethics last week. In a series of videos, O'Keefe showed some nine different Twitter employees boasting of their "Big Brotherish" capabilities and their eagerness to turn that power against the president. Bragged the one senior Twitter technician, "We have full access to every single person's account, every single direct message, deleted direct messages, deleted tweets. I can tell you exactly who logged in from where, what username and password, when they changed their password." The "every single person," he explained, included the president.
The videos were sensational. They got extensive play on talk radio, conservative websites, Fox News, and a banner headline on Drudge in red. Yet despite the major media's expressed affection for the First Amendment, not a single major media outlet mentioned the videos, not even in a tweet.