NBC: New ‘Post’ Movie ‘Very Timely’ With ‘Our Press Under Siege’

In a fawning interview with the stars of The Post, on Thursday’s NBC Today, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie gushed over Hollywood’s latest love letter to the liberal media: “The movie is getting great reviews. And for something that took place 45 years ago, it feels like it could have been ripped right out of a newspaper today. Very timely.”  

Actress Meryl Streep, who plays longtime Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham in the film about the newspaper’s reporting on the Pentagon Papers in 1971, hailed director Steven Spielberg for seizing on the project: “He felt that the impetuous of the moment, that at this particular time we’re seeing that our press is under siege. And just even the notion of what the truth is and how much we really do depend on the First Amendment and the freedom and independence of the press.”
 

Following the obvious jab at the Trump administration, Streep lamented that the screenplay was written at a time when the Hollywood left expected a Hillary Clinton presidency:

The film, the script was actually written much before this. So it was written by Liz Hannah back when she thought that there would be the first female president. So it was a different – a different atmosphere. And it was more centered on the sort of gender issues in it.         

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Later in the segment, actor Tom Hanks, who plays the paper’s then-editor-in-chief Ben Bradley, eagerly drew parallels between the Nixon and Trump administrations:

This week in 1971 dealt with an administration that wanted to keep its secrets. They did not want their lies to become printed in the press and part of the record. We’re still very much dealing – they were dealing with the legacy of Vietnam, as of 1971, that went back prior to World War II. And it also deals with the fact that Kate Graham became Kate graham. A woman who had only been either the daughter or the wife of the people who were in power, becomes the person in power. So in a weird way, we kind of hit the 2018 trifecta by way of this movie.

Despite the effort to solely blame the Nixon administration for “their lies” about Vietnam, in a 2001 op/ed for The New York Times, Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg detailed the deceitful role that the Johnson administration played when it came to the war.

Wrapping up the exchange with the cast, Guthrie gave the film a glowing review: “Well, it definitely raises a lot of issues that are very timely and very relevant. Congratulations to all of you on The Post. As I said, for journalism geeks such as myself, it was very enjoyable. Appreciate it.”

NBC followed CBS’s lead in promoting the movie. On Wednesday’s CBS This Morning, correspondent Jan Crawford cheered how the film “reveals unsung heroes” and offers “a message that resonates today.” Back in December, Streep and Hanks appeared on the same broadcast to tout how it was “ripped right from today’s headlines” given “the siege on the free and independent press.”

The biased coverage of the film on Thursday’s Today show was brought to viewers by Comcast and Sleep Number.

Here are relevant excerpts of the January 4 segment:

8:46 AM ET

(…)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE:  The movie is getting great reviews. And for something that took place 45 years ago, it feels like it could have been ripped right out of a newspaper today. Very timely. Is that what drew you to it, Meryl?

MERYL STREEP: Well, I think that that is certainly what drew Steven Spielberg to it. He felt that the impetuous of the moment, that at this particular time we’re seeing that our press is under siege. And just even the notion of what the truth is and how much we really do depend on the First Amendment and the freedom and independence of the press. So, yeah, I think that sort of was something.

The film, the script was actually written much before this. So it was written by Liz Hannah back when she thought that there would be the first female president. So it was a different – a different atmosphere. And it was more centered on the sort of gender issues in it.

(…)

GUTHRIE: Bob, you play the reporter who gets a copy of the Pentagon Papers. And lest my friends at The New York Times be mad at me, it was a New York Times scoop, but The Washington Post, as the movie shows, had to play a little catch-up. And your character literally gets a copy of the Pentagon Papers in boxes.

BOB ODENKIRK: He gets two copies.

GUTHRIE: Two copies.

ODENKIRK: Because he made a little side deal with [Daniel] Ellsberg. Ellseberg demanded that he take two copies. One he gave to a senator, who read it into the congressional record a few weeks later to make sure that it went public.

STREEP: It’s the first time that a President tried to preemptively stop the presses. He got a judge to put an injunction on The New York Times after they had published for three days, this great reporting by Neil Sheehan at the Times. And when that injunction came down, and the Post found the source, found Ellsberg, and they had a choice to make. Whether or not to go against the court and Nixon, and they decided to go ahead.

TOM HANKS: This week in 1971 dealt with an administration that wanted to keep its secrets. They did not want their lies to become printed in the press and part of the record. We’re still very much dealing – they were dealing with the legacy of Vietnam, as of 1971, that went back prior to World War II. And it also deals with the fact that Kate Graham became Kate graham. A woman who had only been either the daughter or the wife of the people who were in power, becomes the person in power. So in a weird way, we kind of hit the 2018 trifecta by way of this movie.

GUTHRIE: You know, it’s a human story. Katherine Graham, who a lot of us think of as this lion of the media and this fierce and powerful woman, and what we see in your portrayal and in her memoir, is that it was kind of a dawning of confidence.

STREEP: Yeah, well, it sort of is located in a time that was very transitional in America. It was around the time that the first women appeared in broadcasting. It was a very big deal when Barbara Walters was on the Today show and broke in. And people were disgruntled, “A woman delivering the news?” It just didn’t seem right.

HANKS: The Savannah Guthrie of her day is the way we would say it.

GUTHRIE: That would be quite a – I think Barbara Walters was just the Barbara Walters of her day.

HANKS: That’s what I was told to say by the staff.

GUTHRIE: Exactly.

[LAUGHTER]

(…)

GUTHRIE: Well, it definitely raises a lot of issues that are very timely and very relevant. Congratulations to all of you on The Post. As I said, for journalism geeks such as myself, it was very enjoyable. Appreciate it.

HANKS: Well, thanks Barbara – I mean, Savannah.

[LAUGHTER]

(…)

This post originally appeared on NewsBusters

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