The 1970s film “All the President’s Men” tells the true story of an international scandal and the reporters who uncovered it. The Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward investigated a burglary at the Democratic National Committee. What they found was shocking. President Richard Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President had been at the root of the operation. The Committee even bugged the office phones and stole important documents. The journalists faced many challenges, but they still chose to pursue the story and uncover the truth for the American public.
The executive editor of the newspaper, Ben Bradlee, also played an important role. He supported his reporters and believed in the story when nobody else did. In one famous quote from the movie he said, “Not that there’s a lot riding on this. Only the First Amendment and Freedom of the Press and maybe the future of our democracy.” By writing the story, the journalists exposed misinformation and injustice at the hands of those in power. They showed that journalists can and will hold people accountable for their actions. They also proved why protecting the press is important.
If the Post had not published this story, there’s no telling what would’ve happened. The people in power would have continued to abuse it until someone held them accountable. Misinformation would have continued to spread. The U.S. government would have failed to uphold the country’s values.
There are many lessons to be learned from this important moment in history. As journalists, we should make it our goal to expose injustice, give a voice to the voiceless and fight for what is right. We should not back down when we are silenced. We should pursue important stories, even when people doubt us.
Another important lesson for journalists is about accuracy. As journalists, it is our job to expose the truth. In order to keep people informed and uphold our reputation, we must seek out reliable sources and always fact check. In the movie, Bernstein and Woodward confirmed their information with multiple sources. This was a high profile case and if any misinformation had been shared by the press, it would present an enormous risk.
As consumers of news, we can also learn a lesson from what the Washington Post did. Not everyone in a position of power can be trusted. Not everything we are told is true. We must open our eyes to new possibilities and open our minds to new information.