The Post (film)

2017 film directed by Steven Spielberg

The Post is a 2017 film in which a cover-up spanning four U.S. Presidents pushes the country's first female newspaper publisher and her editor to join an unprecedented battle between press and government.

Directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Josh Singer and Liz Hannah.
Truth be told

Katharine Graham

  • Do you know what my husband said about the news? He called it the first rough draft of history.
  • Quality drives profitability.
  • [to Robert McNamara] I'm here asking your advice, Bob, not your permission.
  • When Phil died it was just - I was 45 years old and I had never held - I never had to hold a job in my life. But, I just, I loved the paper, you know. I do. I do so love the paper. I don't want it to be my fault. I don't want to be the one - I don't want to let Phil and my father and all of you kids and everybody down.
  • This company has been in my life for longer than most of the people working there have been alive. So, I don't need the lecture on legacy.
  • This is no longer my father's company. It's no longer my husband's company. It's my company.
  • My decision stands, and I'm going to bed.

Ben Bradlee

  • He says we can't, I say we can. There, you're caught up.
  • They'll be defending the first amendment. We'll tell them that the only way to protect the right to publish - is to publish.
  • No matter what happens tomorrow, we are not a little local paper anymore.

Tony Bradlee

  • But Kay. Kay is in a position she never thought she'd be in, a position I'm sure plenty of people don't think she should have. When you're told time and time again that you're not good enough, that your opinion doesn't matter as much. When they don't just look past you, when, to them, you're not even there, when that's been your reality for so long, it's hard not to let yourself think it's true. So to make this decision, to risk her fortune and the company that's been her entire life, well, I think that's brave.

Ben Bagdikian

  • I always wanted to be part of a small rebellion.

Daniel Ellsberg

  • Someone said this, at some point, about why we stayed when we knew we were losing. Ten percent was to help the South Vietnamese. Twenty percent was to hold back the Commies. Seventy percent was to avoid the humiliation of an American defeat. Seventy percent of those boys just to avoid being humiliated? That stuck with me.
  • I was struck, in fact, by President Johnson's reaction to these revelations as close to treason. Because it reflected to me the sense that what was damaging to the reputation of a particular administration, a particular individual, was in itself treason. Which is very close to saying, "I am the State".


  • Meg Greenfield: ...from the majority opinion: 'In the First Amendment the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors.'


Daniel Ellsberg: But it didn't take him long to figure out, well, for us to figure out if the public ever saw these papers they would turn against the war. Covert ops, guaranteed debt, rigged elections? It's all in there. Ike, Kennedy, Johnson... they violated the Geneva Convention. They lied to Congress and they lied to the public. They knew we couldn't win and still sent boys to die.
Ben Bagdikian: What about Nixon?
Daniel Ellsberg: He's just carrying on like all the others, too afraid to be the one who loses the war on his watch.

[behind closed doors]
Ben Bradlee: So, can I ask you a hypothetical question?
Katharine Graham: Oh, dear. I don't like hypothetical questions.
Ben Bradlee: Well, I don't think you're gonna like the real one, either.
Katharine Graham: Do you have the Papers?
Ben Bradlee: Not yet.

Anthony Essaye: Ben, look, we know your reporters are talented. But, The New York Times spent three months going over these documents. You've got, what? Seven hours now until the paper goes to press? Can you honestly tell me that that is enough time to make sure not a single military plan, not a single U.S. soldier, not a single American life will be put in harms way? That this will do no damage to the United States if you publish?
Ben Bradlee: Yes.
Roger Clark: And you're sure about that?
Ben Bradlee: No! That's why I've called you guys.

Roger Clark: What if we wait? What if we hold off on printing today. Instead we call the Attorney General and we tell them that we intend to print on Sunday. That way we give them and us time to figure out the legality of all of it, while the Court in New York decides the Times case.
Ben Bradlee: Are you suggesting we alert the Attorney General to the fact that we have these documents, that we're going to print, in a few days?
Roger Clark: Well, yes, that is the idea.
Ben Bagdikian: Yeah, well, outside of landing the Hindenburg in a lightning storm, that's about the shittiest idea I've ever heard.
Fritz Beebe: Oh boy!

Fritz Beebe: If the government wins and we're convicted, the Washington Post as we know it will cease to exist.
Ben Bradlee: Well, if we live in a world where the government could tell us what we can and cannot print, then the Washington Post as we know it has already ceased to exist.

Ben Bagdikian: They're going to lock you up, Dan.
Daniel Ellsberg: Wouldn't you go to prison to stop this war?
Ben Bagdikian: Theoretically, sure.
Daniel Ellsberg: You are gonna publish these documents?
Ben Bagdikian: Yeah.
Daniel Ellsberg: Even with the injunction.
Ben Bagdikian: Yes.
Daniel Ellsberg: Well, then. It's not so theoretical then, is it?

Robert McNamara: If you publish, you'll get the very worst of him, the Colsons and the Ehrlichmans and he'll crush you.
Katharine Graham: I know, he's just awful, but I...
Robert McNamara: [Interrupting and getting extremely angry] He's a... Nixon's a son of a bitch! He hates you, he hates Ben, he's wanted to ruin the paper for years and you will not get a second chance, Kay. The Richard Nixon I know will muster the full power of the presidency and if there's a way to destroy your paper, by God, he'll find it.

Ben Bradlee: Jack Kennedy. The night he was assassinated, Tony and I were down at the Naval Hospital so we would be there to meet Jackie when she landed. She was bringing Jack's body back on the plane from Dallas and she walked into the room. She was still wearing that pink suit, with Jack's blood all over it. She fell into Tony's arms and they held each other for quite a long time. And then Jackie looked at me and said, "None of this. None of what you see. None of what I say, is *ever* going to be in your newspaper, Ben." And that just about broke my heart. I never - never thought of Jack as a source. I thought of him as a friend. And that was my mistake. And it was something that Jack knew all along. We can't be both. We have to choose. And - that's the point. The days of us smoking cigars together on Pennsylvania Avenue were over. [pause] We have to be the check on their power. If we don't hold them accountable, then, my God, who will?
Katharine Graham: Well, I've never smoked a cigar. And I have no problem holding Lyndon or Jack or Bob or any of them accountable. We can't hold them accountable if we don't have a newspaper.

Katharine Graham: The Nixon White House is nothing if not vindictive. Just this morning they barred us from covering Trisha Nixon's wedding.
Fritz Beebe: Somehow, I doubt that will rise to the level of catastrophe.
Katharine Graham: [laughs] No. Probably not. Although, when Ben sets his mind to plunder, its not hard to imagine something more serious. Catastrophic events - do occur, you know.

Katharine Graham: Ben, that's not my role. You know that. I wouldn't presume to tell you how to write about him. Just as I wouldn't take it upon myself to tell him he should hand over a classified study, which would be a crime, by the way, just so he can serve as your source.
Ben Bradlee: Our source, Katherine.

Katharine Graham: Oh well, we don't always get it right. You know, we're not always perfect. But, I think if we just - keep on it, you know, that's the job, isn't it?
Ben Bradlee: Yes, it is.



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