Fourth Estate Under Siege
On "Good Night and Good Luck" (2005), "Spotlight" (2015), and "The Post" (2017)
New Books Network 2020
In the wake of Watergate, when Nixon flouted the Constitution and denigrated the press, Alan Pakula’s 1976 classic All the President’s Men made journalism sexy and heroic again (not surprising as the book it was based on was written by the journalists who broke the Watergate story). This episode looks at three movies that celebrate what might be called “heroic journalism” in response to the direct attacks of two administrations. George Clooney’s Good Night, And Good Luck (2005), Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight (2015) and Steven Spielberg’s The Post (2017) go a long way towards rehabilitating the fifth estate in light of post-911 failures.
Lia Paradis is a professor of history at Slippery Rock University. Brian Crim is a professor of history at the University of Lynchburg. For more on Lies Agreed Upon, go here.