The 2014 film, Kill the Messenger, starring Jeremy Renner is based on a true story. Back in the 1990’s, a reporter in California, Gary Webb, exposed the fact that the CIA, under Ronald Reagan’s administration in the late 1980’s, became so morally disoriented that they directly caused the crack cocaine epidemic in California by selling billions of dollars worth on the streets in order to raise money to fight the communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua. The concern was that Central America would go the way of Cuba.
After Mr. Webb published his stories, the CIA got him blacklisted and he was unable to ever work as a reporter again. His own newspaper turned on him, publishing an Op-Ed casting doubt on the authenticity of his story. The Washington Post and other mainstream news also took their talking points from the CIA and smeared him.
Eventually, Mr. Webb’s name was cleared when the CIA admitted to it all and Director John Deutch resigned. However, it came too late. Mr. Webb committed suicide (some wonder whether he was assassinated).
This is an important film because our Freedom of the Press is the strongest form of government oversight that this country has. Without it, our government would be allowed to become too powerful and corrupt, as in Russia or China.
The film touched upon this but did not make it obvious. The reason that the Washington Post and other papers led the smear campaign against Mr. Webb is that their top editors were puppets of the White House and CIA. This is the real problem with the mainstream news in this country, and it has gotten worse since Mr. Webb’s reports.
Now, the presidents of the TV news have direct relatives working within the White House, for example. Virtually every story on the news about the executive branch is directly spoon fed to the media by the White House. The press conferences in the West Wing are all kabuki theater. The journalists allowed to travel on Air Force One or with the Secretary of State, are they not biased by that perk?
When Ed Snowden first leaked the details of the massive spying on American citizens being perpetrated by the NSA, we saw a very similar smear campaign as we saw in Kill the Messenger. All of the former spy directors were given air time to call Mr. Snowden a traitor, etc.
Kill the Messenger is a good film. It should be shown in high school classrooms.