Ever since the Fairness Doctrine became a thing of the past, individual stations have taken liberties with their freedom to lie.
With that freedom, broadcasters had only to entertain people, yet they could still call what they were saying, ‘News.’ Some stations really ran with it. Most people believe, like the Fairness Doctrine, that if you say you’re reporting the news, you should have to tell the truth; give facts. Opinion shows have their place, but if you’re saying that your story is accurate, then it should have to be. The Fairness Doctrine mandated that the holders of the broadcast licenses presenting issues being debated upon, generally of great importance to American citizens, to do so in an honest manner. That said, the doctrine didn’t mention that equal time had to be given to opposing views but that they at least be presented. They were to be fair, equitable, honest, and balanced. Most of all, they had to be balanced! The eighties didn’t want fair and balanced, so the doctrine was, quite unfortunately for you and I, eliminated in 1987. All of that leads us to the broadcasting of today. There’s big money in the news. There’s big money in a news station having the attention of political candidates and the ear of the white house, too. As you may have already noticed, it’s especially lucrative today. That leads us to the news of today, but lets still learn a bit more about how we got here.
Ever since the Fairness Doctrine became a thing of the past, individual ‘news’ stations have taken liberties with their newfound freedom to lie. With that freedom, these stations only had to entertain people, yet they could still state that what they were calling ‘News’ was just that. Some stations really ran with it. Most people believe, as the Fairness Doctrine clearly states, that if you say you’re reporting the news, you should have to tell the truth. Opinion shows have their place, but if you’re characterizing your story as truthful, then it should have to be. The Fairness Doctrine mandated that the holders of the broadcast licenses that were presenting issues of great importance to American citizens do so in an honest manner. That said, the doctrine didn’t say that equal time had to be given to opposing views but that they at least be presented. They were to be fair, equitable, honest, and balanced… most of all, balanced! The eighties didn’t want fair and balanced, so the doctrine was, quite unfortunately for all of us, eliminated in 1987, which leads us to the broadcasting of today. There’s big money in the news. There’s big money in a news station having the attention of political candidates and the ear of the white house, too. Examples of this are playing out before us every day.
‘Bombshell’ illustrates that but then digs much further into the goings-on at Fox News behind the scenes with Roger Ailes, the man who made Fox news the colossal success that it is. Keep in mind that this film is based on actual events when you watch the impressive and dedicated actor, John Lithgow (in a fat suit), expose who Ailes really was. Ailes was an insecure and creepy scoundrel. He had a brilliant mind for what makes a company successful. Still, he was a crude, dirty and vulgar man who stopped at nothing to get what he wanted from the company, as well. And I don’t necessarily mean in the business sense.
Before his death, a lawsuit was filed against, not Fox, but against Roger Ailes for what he did to female employees. He harassed them sexually and put the company at significant risk. You can’t deny that the man built an empire, but watching him get what he had coming to him because of his sexism was exciting to see. He demoted women if they dare have a segment on something for women over a certain age, so he clearly didn’t appreciate what women over a certain age had to offer. This was especially true when it came to Gretchen Carlson (Kidman), who eventually does something about it. The film kicks into high gear when she has had enough.
Then we have Margot Robbie, who plays a new female employee, Kayla Pospisil. Robbie made sure the entire audience would be on her side by playing this somewhat naive girl, very likable and charmingly sweet so that when Ailes makes his move, you want to pounce.
Another honorable mention goes to the woman Charlize Theron plays. Her part is that of Megyn Kelly, who was a frequent target of Donald Trump after she did her job during a debate in 2016. Trump wanted softball questions from her, but Kelly didn’t realize that treating him differently from the other candidates was the order of the day. After Trump goes on the attack, she’ll need security from his faithful followers who look at her as the enemy. Once his wrath is aimed in her direction, she fears not only for herself but for her children.
The script is written very well for a story played out in the headlines. Though there was a recent film covering most of this, ‘Bombshell’ manages to set itself apart from that movie and stand out. There’s a lot you’ll learn and some topics that you’ll be surprised to find out.
No matter where you fit into the grand scheme of things politically, the movie is appealing and provocative and one I’d gladly endorse. See this as soon as possible.
As I’ve mentioned, the cast is competent, and the experience between all of them brings this captivating story to life in a film you simply can’t miss. You may applaud the ending directly before the credits, where you learn of what Fox had to pay the victims of Ailes’ sexual harassment. They eventually paid an astounding 50 million to those victims. They also spent 65 million in severance to Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.
The women who risked their careers to speak up against Ailes were among the first ever to bring down a public figure of his stature. Then came the ‘Me Too’ movement.
Director: Jay Roach
Writer: Charles Randolph
Stars: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, John Lithgow, Malcolm McDowell, Connie Britton, Stephen Root, Mark Duplass and Allison Janney
Running Time: 1h 48m
Genres: Biography, Drama