The Post‘s Most Important Contribution Isn’t about Freedom of the Press

“Kate throws a great party, but she’s only here because her husband died.”

Arthur Parsons (Bradley Whitford) uses these words at the beginning of Steven Spielberg’s new film The Post to describe his boss, Katharine Graham. It’s true, of course, that Graham (Meryl Streep), owner and publisher of The Washington Post, only inherited her position after her husband’s death. Yet, Parsons’s perspective carries with it a deeper subtext. No one would think of murmuring this way about Katharine’s late husband, who only assumed his publisher duties because his father-in-law left the company to him. Or even Katharine’s father, who held the paper’s reins by virtue of having the money to buy it.

For Whitford’s character, and for the majority of the men surrounding Graham, the issue isn’t how she ended up as owner and publisher of The Washington Post, even though they often talk like it is. The true issue at stake is the deeply entrenched belief that there is no space for a dress in a room overflowing with suits.

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Author: Abby Perry

Abby has written for The Gospel Coalition, Christ and Pop Culture, Upwrite Magazine, and The Influence Network. She is the communications coordinator for a nonprofit organization and co-facilitates two community efforts—one promoting bridge-building racial reconciliation conversations and one supporting area foster and adoptive families. Abby graduated from Texas A&M University and currently attends Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her family live in College Station, Texas.