Peggy Noonoan on the totally predictable historical revisionism in the new Spielberg movie The Post:
President Nixon is portrayed as the villain of the story. And that is the opposite of the truth.
Nixon did not start the Vietnam War, he ended it. His administration was not even mentioned in the Pentagon Papers, which were finished before he took office.
When that dark, sad man tried to halt publication of the document, he was protecting not his own reputation but in effect those of others. Those others were his political adversaries—Lyndon Johnson and Ben Bradlee’s friend JFK—who the papers revealed had misled the public. If Nixon had been merely self-interested, he would have faked umbrage and done nothing to stop their publication. Even cleverer, he could have decried the leaking of government secrets while declaring and bowing to the public’s right to know.
Instead, he did what he thought was the right thing—went to court to prevent the publication of secrets that might harm America’s diplomatic standing while it attempted to extricate itself from a war…
Why does all this matter? Because we are losing history. It is not the fault of Hollywood, as they used to call it, but Hollywood is a contributor to it.
When people care enough about history to study and read it, it’s a small sin to lie and mislead in dramas. But when people get their history through entertainment, when they absorb the story of their times only through screens, then the tendency to fabricate is more damaging.