| 03.17.2018

Films against fake news — Films to help reignite your passion for the free press


Over the last year, I haven’t gone a day without reading or hearing the phrase “fake news.” I see it on Twitter. I hear it on the radio. And sometimes, I use it.

The phrase even became so big, the U.K.-based Collins Dictionary coined “fake news” as the word of the year.

It’s a funny, contradictory phrase. News is meant to be truthful, but it is also new — there is always room for error in anything new.

I won’t deny fake news exists. It exists in the form of the 21st century’s misguided and ill-advised shares, likes, clicks and gossip. Most notably, fake news exists in the form of 140-character Tweets straight out of the Oval Office.

News organizations haven’t had it easy over the past year. And, they shouldn’t. We should hold journalists to high and difficult standards. Journalists, both local and widely known, know they have chosen a demanding and often-thankless job. But, we know it’s worth it.

Although it was often a discouraging year to produce and consume news, blockbuster films about news have yet to disappear.

Sometimes the best option is to sit back, relax and watch the greats do what they are great at.

Here are the best journalism films to reignite America’ s love for the free press.

“All the President’s Men”

Unless you have been living under a rock, without a TV or without social media, you know exactly what went down the evening of June 17, 1972. The Watergate scandal took the nation by surprise, and the news media — specifically the Washington Post — was all over it. This coverage wasn’t easy. Cover ups, hushed lips and possible President Nixon involvement created a difficult story to pin down. But that didn’t keep reporters like Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein away from searching.

It didn’t take long for Hollywood to jump on the scandal and subsequent success of the two journalists to create an award-winning 1976 film.

“All the President’s Men” follows journalist underdogs Woodward (Robert Redford) and Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) through their arduous reporting process on the Watergate scandal.

If the click clacking sound of typewriters, the tight bell bottoms and the smoke-filled Washington Post newsroom doesn’t get you excited about triumphant and politics-altering news, then nothing will.


The title of this film says it all. The fact that it won Best Picture at the 2016 Oscars says it all.

Spotlight is exactly the kind of fist-clenching, edge-of-seat sitting film that “All the President’s Men” was so many years ago.

The film follows the Boston Globe Spotlight team of reporters as they uncover decades-old abuse secrets in the Catholic Church. Much of the film centers around interviewing hundreds of sources and the push and pull of printing a delicate, life-altering story.

The 2015 film, starring Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton, just to name a few, will put your faith back in reporters, if it was ever lost.

“The Post”

How do you make a strong, historically accurate biopic that will satisfy the masses in 2018? Ask Steven Spielberg to direct, hire Meryl Streep and throw in a dash of feminism.

Already widely successful, “The Post” hit theaters Jan. 12 and hasn’t slowed down since.

This film about The Washington Post comes in during the early 1970s, right before Watergate. This time, however, The Post covers the infamous Pentagon Papers — classified documents describing the United States’ shady involvement in Vietnam.

Katherine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, is the film’s shining star. Graham begins as a timid leader, but as the show progresses, the full-on stoicism and strength of one of journalism’s favorite publishers shines through.

I don’t often sit with 50 other people at the end of a movie while simultaneously clapping and crying, but this film did just that.

Hailey Stewart can be reached at arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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