When president Donald Trump says things like the media is “the enemy of the American people,” Marty Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, responds by saying, “We’re not at war with the administration. We’re at work.” There has never been a better time to see the two best films made about journalism, which, like American government, is actually built “of the people, by the people, for the people,” to borrow from president Abraham Lincoln. Spotlight (USA, 2015, Open Road Films) brilliantly captures the daily difficulty and attention to detail of investigative journalism. It shines light on an imperfect industry of truth-seekers who spend too much time in the dark fumbling figuratively for light switches. Available on Amazon Video and iTunes.

All the President’s Men (USA, 1976, Warner Brothers) also sublimely shows how journalists can hold the powerful accountable: one interview, one story at a time. Both films should be mandatory viewing, for journalists, for the American people, for all of us. Available on HBO Go and YouTube.

  • Matthew T. Hall
  • Editorial and opinion director, the San Diego Union-Tribune

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