Movies highlighting the importance of the news media - Here are 7 to watch

It was 50 years ago today that former President Richard M. Nixon refused to turn over his recording to the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee. In just over one year from that date, Nixon resigned from the presidency.

One of the compelling aspects of the scandal was how the Watergate break-in almost became a historical footnote. If not for the tenacity and commitment of the Washington Post to pursue the story, the public would have never learned of Nixon's criminal enterprise.

To honor the pursuit of a story, we have compiled a list of seven movies showing the importance of the news media. Each film is based on true stories and presented in no particular order.

Call Northside 777

This gem stars Jimmy Stewart and was released in 1948. It is based on a Chicago reporter who helped free a man wrongly convicted and incarcerated for 11 years. If you haven't seen this, you can watch it for free on YouTube.
    


Spotlight

Winner of the Oscar for Best Movie in 2015, this movie tells the true story of the Boston Herald's investigative unit Spotlight. The group blew the lid of the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandal and coverup. 


All the President's Men

Before the Watergate scandal gained national attention, two young reports at the Washington Post, Carl Bernstein, and Bob Woodward, kept the story alive. Their efforts directly led to the scandal that engulfed Richard Nixon's presidency. Perhaps the granddaddy of all movies about the media.




Kill the Messenger 

This is the intriguing story uncovered by San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb. Not only does it tell the story of how crack cocaine made its way into the United States, but it also shows the competitiveness and pettiness of the news media that is unflattering to behemoths like the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and New York Times. 




The Post

Before the Washington Post pursued Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal, they released the so-called Pentagon Papers. This movie outlines the story of the decision-making by the Wahington Posts' legendary publisher Katherine Graham to print the papers at the precise moment the company was going public.

Interestingly, the release of these documents by Daniel Ellsberg is directly related to the "third-rate" burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate complex.  

 


Good Night and Good Luck

The title of this movie comes from the sign-off of legendary and pioneering TV broadcast news journalist Edward R. Murrow. The movie details how Murrow's CBS News crew fought and won their battle against Senator Joseph McCarthy. 

Watch the movie for outdoor scenes - you will not see any. 



The Killing Fields 

While a true story, unlike the other movies on this list, it doesn't cover any groundbreaking investigation per se. Instead, it focuses on the dangers of news gathering and the huge personal costs that can accompany reporting.   



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