“Page One” Needs A Rewrite

By Bob Garrison

Playing at our premier art movie house is a new documentary titled “Page One: Inside the New York Times”. I wasn’t prepared for such a cathartic afternoon.

The film covers the brief time it took the employees of the New York Times to realize that the American newspaper business as we know it today is vanishing. It took the grotesque reveal of the WikiLeaks scandal to do it.

The problem with this picture is that the film only deals with the shock of the highly literate staff, pacing their cubicles, using the “F” word, and pulling out what little hair they have left on their heads.

The movie goes into detail about the fact that the Times is the mainstream of American news, the measure with which all other (lesser) papers mold their stories. And it’s true. WikiLeaks is the rude awakening of imminent change.

The problem with this unfinished film is that that’s all that happens.

OK, the internet is changing everything. About seven eighths into the film, I realized that that was the only thing the movie had to say. No hope of an answer. No whisper of an idea about what the newspaper could face (and possibly solve) their immediate problem.

I stumbled out of the theater, past a frozen audience with glazed eyes. I rushed home and put a cold compress on my forehead and went to bed. It’s a sad film and a very bad movie with a shocking message and no structure. Its lousy. The New York Times deserves something far better than this schmata. No whistle here.


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