The US left snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Vietnam.
The Lies of ‘The Crown’ and ‘The Post’, by Peggy Noonan.
The past week I watched the Netflix series “The Crown” and Steven Spielberg’s movie “The Post.” Each is enjoyable, yet fails in the same significant way.
There’s dramatic license, which is necessary or nothing’s fun, and historical truth, which is necessary or nothing’s understood. Ideally in any work they more or less coexist, however imperfectly. But in “The Crown” and “The Post” the balance is far off. A cheap historical mindlessness marks much of the first, and there’s a lie at the heart of the second. …
Now to “The Post.” …
What is bad is the lie at the movie’s heart. 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.
Being Nixon, of course, he had to crow, in a way that became public, that he was sticking it to those liberals in the press. His attempt to stop publication was wrong—the public did have a right to know. But he did what he thought was the responsible thing, and of course pays for it to this day. …
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.
The Orwellian left, via its Hollywood office, is covering, ducking, and weaving.