[Marxism] Fwd: The Post; The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 19 08:03:57 MST 2017

Among the stack of DVD’s received from studio publicists last month was 
Stephen Spielberg’s “The Post” that is both an homage to a newspaper 
that has propagandized for every imperialist war as well as a 
surprisingly candid examination of how it became possible partly through 
the internecine social ties between the paper’s owner and the 
warmongering political establishment.

The film is based on the decision of the Washington Post to defy the 
government’s ban on publishing the Pentagon Papers in 1971 in the 
aftermath of the same action taken against the New York Times. To 
understand how paradoxical “The Post” is, it contains both a sympathetic 
portrayal of A.M. Rosenthal as well as ones sympathetic to his opposite 
numbers Daniel Ellsberg and Ben Bagdikian.

Although Ellsberg certainly doesn’t need any introduction to 
CounterPunch readers, Ben Bagdikian is one of the 20th century’s great 
media heroes. Not only was he instrumental in pushing the Post into 
defying the government, he was a tireless critic of the media 
establishment that tolerated Washington Post owner Katherine Graham 
socializing with Robert McNamara at the same time he was escalating the 
monstrous war against the Vietnamese. In 1983, he wrote a book titled 
“Media Monopoly” that was certainly an influence on Noam Chomsky and 
Edward Herman. Played to perfection by Bob Odenkirk, Ben Bagdikian is 
the film’s moral and political center even though he plays second fiddle 
to Tom Hanks who is cast as Ben Bradlee.


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