Talk about self love. Washington Post journalists want you to know that they’re great and that you should see a new film promoting the paper’s publication of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. Over three days, The Post devoted 3,375 words and three articles to touting Steven Spielberg's The Post.
On Saturday, the print edition of The Post hyped, “Refrain at ‘The Post’ screening: ‘It couldn’t be more timely.” The online edition touted the politics: “At Washington screening for ‘The Post,’ Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg find parallels to Nixon era.”
Writer Emily Heil delighted in her paper being portrayed as full of heroes:
Still, the movie does portray newspapers as heroes that dare speak truth to power, offering the media some much-needed positive PR in an age where journalists are so often regarded with hostility. And so it seems apropos that of all the stars walking the carpet, the biggest one might have been there in spirit only. “That First Amendment is first for a number of reasons,” Hanks said, saying that both Nixon and Trump launched attacks on the freedom of the press.
In case you were worried, the film isn’t “explicitly partisan,” so long as you are “patriotic.”
Spielberg says that shouldn’t be interpreted as explicitly partisan, even though President Trump is waging a daily Twitter war against the mainstream media. “It’s a patriotic film,” Spielberg says. “I don’t think patriotism is partisan.”
Yet, that "partisan" point seems to be contradicted by The Post’s article about The Post on Sunday. Writer Ann Hornaday touted the reason liberal actress Meryl Streep is in it.
It’s impossible not to perceive “The Post” as anything but Streep’s rapid response to the president she excoriated so passionately from the stage in January. On Monday, she was nominated for another Golden Globe for her performance as Graham, guaranteeing that, should she win, this year’s acceptance speech will be a doozy.
On Monday, The Post was still cheering The Post. This time, it was “what Meryl Streep and ‘The Post’ can teach us about the power of being a female boss.” Media columnist Margaret Sullivan gushed:
I met Katharine Graham exactly once. It was at a white-tie dinner in Washington, a year or so before she died in 2001.
Four decades separated us in age. She had long since stepped down as publisher of The Washington Post, and I had recently been named editor of the Buffalo News — the first woman to hold that top newsroom job at my hometown paper.
She was, by then, an icon — and certainly an idol of mine. So I searched to find something to chat with her about, and managed to let her know that I admired her. Though I doubt that I used the words “courage” or “inspiration,” I wish I had.
Hornaday reviewed the movie for the paper early on December 7. Unsurprisingly, The Post liked The Post, giving itself four stars.
It’s a purposefully rousing homage to the ideals of journalistic independence, governmental accountability and gender equality that isn’t averse to underlining, italicizing and boldfacing why those principles are more important than ever.
Next time journalists complain about Donald Trump bragging too much, remember just how much The Washington Post loves itself.