I knew some of her story as the owner of the Washington Post. I knew it was during her tenure that the Pentagon Papers came out and also “Watergate”. I also knew why Steven Spielberg worked tirelessly to get this movie out as quickly as he could. Here we go again, history repeating itself with attacks on the press and our freedoms.

If ever there is a movie or story to be told, this is it. Besides Katharine being a “boss” in a man’s world, the movie showed the “great divide” of the sexes. The pandering and the twisted realities were a smack in the face. Throughout the movie however, there were lots of men working for Kay and her vision. It was only the “money men” on her board of directors that had their own agendas and could care less about publishing, period.

When push came to shove, however, Katharine’s mission was to stick to her Father’s ideals of a free press telling the truth, whether deeply buried or hidden on the surface. She was a warrior of her times and didn’t fully know it until the day she won the Pulitzer Prize, in 1998 for her memoir, Personal History. Even though much turmoil brewed around the paper, she always tried to do the right thing. She and her ideals were validated.

At the time of the Pentagon Papers release, Kay was under extreme pressure by her board of directors, the “money men,” to put the paper on the NY Stock Exchange and she had agreed. However, with the publication of the “papers a couple days later,” after the New York Times had been shut down by the courts over their earlier release, she made the decision to go to press anyway. Her investors pulled out and the rest is history. A few days later, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 that the release did not threaten US security, which resulted in a big win for freedom of the press. Once the story was out it couldn’t go back underground.

There was a scene in the movie when Katharine is walking down the steps of the Justice Building, after the Supreme Court decision, past women who saw in her their own brave selves. The admiration was all over their faces. They knew the importance of what she did. It may have been “Hollywood” but it was powerful for today’s times.

She retained control of her beloved paper. And shortly thereafter, and because of Kay’s brave stance to publish anyway, documents found their way, again, to their offices regarding Watergate. Nixon was vindictive and paranoid, much like the “new guy” in the Big House. This was Nixon’s undoing and disgrace. No one is above or beyond the laws of our lands. One more thing that was evident were “loyalties.” There isn’t such a thing in politics!

This is on topic but different. I believe in freedom of the press, even though in this day and age, it has brought new problems with social media’s divided news networks and manipulations of truth. Now, this is where you come in. Don’t just read the headlines. Read the stories, read the source of those stories. Dig deeper. This is what good journalists do, dig and dig deeper. And certainly, don’t believe everything you read or hear. This story is why we need to keep at the truths. And this is why we have the “Freedom of the Press” in our constitution as the very first amendment. Long live our freedoms!


The Post and Katharine Graham, 20th Century Warrior

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