Journalism and the Fight for Freedom

Does journalism matter? Isn’t it just a bunch of opinions? These are very modern and pertinent questions. They aren’t new, though. Americans have been asking these questions as long as journalism has existed. Looking into the past can add more light to current situations. History has a lot to say on the topic.

Scene from All the President’s Men.

Alan J. Pakula directed the 1976 film “All the President’s Men.” The film explores these same questions many are asking in modern society. It is based on the experiences of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for the Washington Post. Together they brought the Watergate conspiracy to light. They showed that then-president Richard Nixon had hired people to dig up dirt on his political opponents. He wanted to rig the election so that he would be reelected.

Bernstein and Woodward stumble onto the case. At first, they think they are simply writing about a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. They soon realize that something much bigger and stranger is going on.

The film follows the reporters’ struggle to find facts on Watergate. They encounter hostility everywhere they go. They have to risk their careers, their reputations and even their lives.

Ben Bradlee was the editor of the Washington Post at the time this took place. In one tense scene he explains to Bernstein and Woodward the importance of their story. “Not that there’s a lot riding on this,” he says. “Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy.”

The film shows how these two men were able to take down a huge government conspiracy ring. They showed how powerful telling the truth can be. In their reporting, they exposed some of the threats that attack fair elections. Many of these threats still exist today.

This sense of urgency is felt throughout the film. It shows how important it is to journalists to get the story right. This is especially valuable today. Journalists are facing more hate than ever before. Many have accused journalists of not caring about truth. The Washington Post’s response in this situation is great. Its staff members were committed to making sure their facts were correct. It’s a powerful reminder of the high ethical standards brave journalists follow.

The high stakes involved make the film captivating to watch. You’ll see Woodward and Bernstein as they follow every possible lead to find information. You’ll see them begging for information in bizarre meetings. You’ll see them going into dark parking garages to meet mysterious informants. You’ll see them piecing together clues. And you’ll see them discover a plot more sinister than they’d ever imagined. You’ll get to see a truly great moment in U.S. history.