The Post and All the President’s Men and My Thoughts

Jackson Nielsen

Recently, in my blogging and commentary class we had the opportunity to take two weeks to watch two journalism films; each pertaining to the world of journalism. The first was the 2017 film The Post and the second being the 1976 All the President’s Men. Both movies tell the story of the Pentagon Papers and The Washington Post’s journey to uncover the truth about the Watergate Scandal. All the President’s Men, though made 41 years prior to The Post, is a sequel to the movie; picking up where the other movie ends. 

Initially, I had chosen The Post as my top choice to watch in class. The reason for this being that it was the most recent movie made and it had big name actors in it that I recognized and I had figured I would enjoy it the most. The Post tells the story of The Washington Post in their effort to gain access to the leaked Pentagon Papers. While this seemed to be the central conflict of the movie, it was also a coming of age story for Katherine Graham, who was forced to take over the publication after her husband committed suicide. At the time, women were not viewed as equal to men as they are in modern times so there was a lot that the character had to overcome in being in control of the paper. The story plays out as Graham appears to not be confident when talking to the male dominated partners but at the end, she makes a very difficult decision in deciding to publish the leaked documents even though it could have meant the end of The Washington Post and even jail time. Overall, I enjoyed this movie and the drama it contained. It gave me a good glimpse into how journalists operate for a big name newspaper. 

The following week, we watched All the President’s Men. At first, I wasn’t as enthused to watch this film; it wasn’t even in my top three to watch in class. But having watched through the entire film, I would relist it as my number one choice. Over the course of two class periods, I was immersed in the world of the 1970’s where the two main characters have to piece together a story of the break-in at the Watergate building. I really enjoyed watching the two reporters’ process to uncover the story and how they pieced together clues in order to find the right people to talk to. In the end, they finally get enough information and sources to piece together a story but of course those involved deny the accusations and the story seemingly falls flat. It was disappointing to see all of their hard work be seemingly for nothing but at least they got it out there and it could be built upon when more information arose. As I stated previously, I enjoyed this movie much more than The Post because it was fun watching the story be uncovered little by little and the process the journalists had to undergo in order to garner information.