This essay provides an extended review of Steven Spielberg’s film The Post, a dramatization of publisher Katherine Graham’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971. In the film, Graham is portrayed as standing up to the corporate side of the house in a gallant defense of the right to publish. By comparing and contrasting with other film portrayals of the newspaper business, and by recounting a pressmen’s strike that occurred not long after the moment in time of the film, the essay argues that the power of the press is not always about the First Amendment and the right to publish. It can also be about the exertion of class power, and the struggle that ensues.
At the Washington Post, Did the Guys from Corporate Win after All?
RICHARD WELLS is associate professor of labor studies at the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies, Empire State College/SUNY. He writes about labor in the media industry and the politics and practice of popular/labor education. He is now contemplating a study of the 1962–63 New York City newspaper strike and its impact on the political economy and culture of the news.
Richard Wells; At the Washington Post, Did the Guys from Corporate Win after All?. Labor 1 December 2018; 15 (4): 59–76. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7127262
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