Following years of support of Obama’s media abuses, and celebrating a major media scandal on film, Robert Redford is suddenly worried about press integrity.
On the 45th anniversary of the release of “All The President’s Men,” actor/director/activist Robert Redford has expressed some deep concerns about the facts, in the age of Trump. In an op-ed column at the Washington Post – the setting of that iconic film – Redford addressed anxiety towards “The importance of a free and independent media in defending our democracy.”
In a bit of cerebral sloth, the actor draws ties to the infamous Watergate Scandal and the current Trump administration. He then proceeds into a call for a renewed vigor from the press in this country. This is a recent call-to-arms we have seen, where news outlets like WaPo have pledged increased news battalions to cover the Trump Presidency, and celebrities tout the importance of monitoring the truth. “Now, more than ever”, has become a farcical cliché, and serves as an oblivious admission that for eight years the media has been acting as either PR firm or lapdog.
Redford echoes this empty war cry, speaking from a position of supposed wisdom based on the fact that he pretended to be a journalist half a century ago. But here is all you need to see to laugh in his face (should his handlers ever allow a prole like you or me in his presence):
- When President Trump speaks of being in a “running war” with the media, calls them “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth” and tweets that they’re the “enemy of the American people,” his language takes the Nixon administration’s false accusations of “shoddy” and “shabby” journalism to new and dangerous heights. Sound and accurate journalism defends our democracy. It’s one of the most effective weapons we have to restrain the power-hungry. I always said that “All the President’s Men” was a violent movie. No shots were fired, but words were used as weapons
What Rob is upset with here is the despicable treatment of the media by the sitting President. But of course, for him to reach this state of pique, means that he has to pretend that the previous office holder did not have a hostile attitude towards the media. The examples of Obama media abuse began before he was President when reporters from papers which endorsed John McCain were dismissed from covering his campaign.
The Obama administration had a constant battle with controlling the content of the White House press pool reports. In one budget battle meeting Obama kicked the media out of the room. President Obama had his Justice Department target reporter James Rosen and his family. In one of the most risible occurrences, the President received a transparency in government award, in a closed-door meeting that was hidden from the press. Of course, the most egregious act against the media would have to be the phone records news event (the Obama Presidency was “scandal-free”, don’t forget) involving the Associated Press. The Obama administration obtained two months worth of office, cellular, and home phone records of reporters from the news organization.
NOTE: To aid Mr. Redford, and the outlet of record for his editorial, all of the above examples were taken from The Washington Post reports.
But all these factual details are just that – facts. Yes, I realize Mr. Redford claims that adherence to the facts is his goal in this editorial entreaty. However, his calls for renewed verité are undermined by one of his recent film portrayals. In 2015, Redford took on the role in the cinematic retelling of the now infamous “Killian documents controversy”, that ended the reporting career of journalist Dan Rather.
This would be the 60 minutes report, delivered on air by Rather, that purported to have documents proving President Bush was ushered into the Texas Air National Guard to keep him from going to the Vietnam War. The documents were quickly found to be fraudulent and led to the effective end of Rather’s career. Four other CBS News executives were dismissed, including producer Mary Mapes, who wrote a book that was defensive about the entire enterprise.
The Mapes book was adapted to a screenplay, and Redford appeared in this roundly ignored film as Dan Rather. In this defense of Rather and Mapes’ fabrications, it was hilariously titled “Truth”. Thus the actor’s dedication to this concept can, and should, be mocked thoroughly.