Monday, February 23, 2009

Movie Journalists Response

Hollywood and journalism have an odd relationship.

Hollywood has a fascination with the journalism career, but why? Perhaps it is the ability the journalist has to unravel falsehood and reveal the truth. Perhaps it is that the journalist presents an easy antogonist, someone that is instantly unlikable by the public.

Two different takes on a journalist span 40 years of film. The first is the character E.K. Hornebeck in the film "Inherit the Wind." In this film, the journalist recites the classic line, "it is the duty of the paper to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable." This one character is the epitomy of the journalism field. The character, while afflicting those in power in a small, extremist Christian community, is the antithesis of an annoying journalist with an overly cynic look on life. But the character also is shown for his bias against the leader, Matthew Harrison Brady, who happens to be anti-evolution teaching in schools. (The film is based on the Scopes Monkey Trial)

A second view is by Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes) in the film "Thank You for Smoking." Here, Holloway is shown as an ego driven reporter who is willing to do anything, including sleep with Aaron Eckhart's character, to get the big story, even if things are done, "off the record."

It seems that Hollywood, in these two roles at least, view journalism as a career that attracts those with low moral character and lack of ethics. It really seems that Hollywood has almost a disdain with the reporter. But, Hollywood also uses the reporter as the one that brings down those in power that are filled with corruption (like in "All the Presidents Men").

I think we tend to focus on the negative of our own personnas as we ignore the positive ones, and Hollywood merely shows that. Although it may appear journalists are portrayed in a bad light, I believe closer inference on all roles that involve journalists, will reveal that journalists are presented in a relatively equal light.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thoughts and choice of movies for comparison. Before reporters were unscrupulous in movies they profane, intrepid, hard-drinking and valiant. I long for those days to return.