“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free, no one ever will. If virtuous, it need not fear the fair operation of attack and defense. Nature has given to man no other means of sifting out the truth, either in religion, law, or politics.” – The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 24: 1 June-31 December 1792.
Besides wanting to be a cowboy when I was young, I wanted to be a newspaper reporter. At first, a sports writer, then I somewhere along the line wanted to review movies (no surprise there!), and from there it evolved into a news reporter and journalist. In films, the newsroom always looked fascinating to me. Hustling to get the story, beating the deadline, and competitors, the speedy typing, the editor making changes and finally seeing your story in print with your byline on top. That dream faded away like many others, but my love of films with journalistic themes remained. In cinema, many great movies have been made about journalism. Sam Fuller’s Park Row is one of the best, as is Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole. There are plenty of others including All the President’s Men, Spotlight, His Girl Friday, Sweet Smell of Success, Zodiac, Absence of Malice, Deadline U.S.A., Citizen Kane, and State of Play. There are plenty more that could be added to this list. Some of these films reflect journalism in a good light, sometimes even heroic ways (Park Row, All The President’s Men, Spotlight, State of Play) while others hold up a mirror to the darker opportunistic side of journalism (Ace in the Hole, Sweet Smell of Success). Continue reading
Based on former CBS news producer, Mary Mapes memoir, the film takes a look as the 60 Minutes II segment claiming that then President, George W. Bush, running for re-election in 2004 received special treatment back in the early 1970’s by passing over hundreds of other applicants to enlist in the Texas Air National Guard. This all happening while the Vietnam War was still in progress. Mapes is said to have received supporting documents from the files of George W. Bush’s then Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B Killian, then deceased. The files were delivered to Mapes by Bill Burkett, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Texas Army National Guard. When the showed aired, Dan Rather said the documents have been authenticated by various experts. Continue reading