With the release of The Post directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, the story of the Pentagon Papers has rekindled public conversation about the importance of a free press. The film’s release couldn’t have come at a more relevant time. Its historical dramatization of how an administration tried to stop the Washington Post from printing parts of the report detailing US involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967 speaks to what we see happening now: a president openly attacking news outlets and making accusations of “fake news.”
While the film focuses on the Washington Post, the story doesn’t end there. In October 1971, Beacon Press released The Senator Mike Gravel edition of The Pentagon Papers after other publishers opted not to take on the task.
After viewing The Post, you might enjoy watching this 2007 UUA General Assembly panel discussion with Daniel Ellsberg, Rev. Dr. Robert West and Sen. Mike Gravel, moderated by Amy Goodman. They present a first-hand account of the Unitarian Universalist connection with the Pentagon Papers.