Nov 14, 2018

The moment politics and journalism changed

Sony Pictures has put out a new preview of "The Front Runner," the film about the sex scandal that ended Gary Hart's political career. It has the re-enactment of the scene that changed politics and journalism forever, along with the actors discussing the film.

Here are the Miami Herald reporters confronting Hart (Hugh Jackman) at his townhouse in May 1987 after Donna Rice appeared to have spent the night there. (It's out nationally on Nov. 21.)

"Senator, I want to ask you some questions about the woman at your townhouse."

"Can you tell us how you know her?"

"You can't be serious. No one is staying at my home. There's no need for that."

"I am serious, sir."

Why it matters: It may be hard to believe — now that we've lived through Donald Trump and Bill Clinton's affairs — but a presidential candidate's personal life really used to be considered out of bounds. The agonizing you see among the Miami Herald reporters and editors shows the real dilemma journalism, and the country, faced as the rules of politics changed.

The bottom line: We know more now about our presidents and presidential candidates — but it's also getting harder to find lines that can't be crossed.

Go deeper: The Gary Hart story: How it happened (Miami Herald)

Go deeper