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Meryl Streep, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks on the set of The Post. Photo: Niko Tavernise / 20th Century Fox via AP

At last night's world premiere of "The Post," a movie about the Pentagon Papers case of 1971, the Washington audience burst into applause when Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, made her epic decision to challenge the Nixon White House on years of lies about Vietnam.

  • "Let's go. Let's do it. ... Let's publish."
  • The plot, via WashPost movie critic Ann Hornaday: "Although [Graham and editor Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks] enjoyed a warm working relationship, it would be thrown into a crucible in the summer of '71 with the publication of the Pentagon Papers after the New York Times, which first broke the story, had been ordered to cease doing so by a court injunction.
  • "That bravado that would send The Post into an epic legal and existential battle just as Graham was preparing to take her family's media company public — a deal that could easily be scuttled by her potential imprisonment and a Supreme Court fight, not to mention the vindictive administration of president Richard M. Nixon."

Steven Spielberg — director of the movie, in theaters Dec. 22 — appeared at the Newseum before the screening and said: "[T]his was a story that had to be made right now because it resonated right now."

  • Spielberg saluted the audience's generations of Washington Post royalty, including the current owner, Jeff Bezos: "Every week, the men and women of The Washington Post, Jeff, do you proud."
  • Spielberg added: "'The Post' is mainly about The Post, but, in truth, it has two institutional protagonists: The Washington Post and The New York Times. This is a story about competition, and it's also about cooperation. Everyone in your business wants the scoop, but in our story, as well as today, newspapers are working together to achieve their most important aim" — the pursuit of objective truth through hard work.
  • Others in the audience included Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein; Sally Quinn, Bradlee's wife, and their son, Quinn Bradlee; former Post publisher Don Graham and Lally Weymouth, both children of Katharine Graham; and Warren Buffett, longtime board member of the Washington Post Co.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
9 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.