Oh, how the winds have changed for the mainstream media. The press has always been somewhat revered, particularly in the United States, but also abroad. For two decades now, the mask is starting to come off the press as more malpractice comes to light. One newspaper, in particular, is angry that Hollywood has immortalized their mistakes in the movie Richard Jewell.
For those unfamiliar, Jewell was a security guard at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia who spotted a bomb and helped with the evacuation, saving hundreds. The FBI began treating him as a suspect and the local media caught wind. Before long, stories from city, state, and the national press began a smear campaign against him. He would later settle many lawsuits with various outlets.
Deadline reports that the newspaper The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the paper who first reported Jewell was a suspect, fired off a letter via their attorney to Warner Bros. and director Clint Eastwood over how the media outlet is portrayed in the movie.
“It is highly ironic that a film purporting to tell a tragic story of how the reputation of an FBI suspect was grievously tarnished appears bent on a path to severely tarnish the reputation of the AJC, a newspaper with a respected 150-year-old publishing legacy,” the letter whined. “The Richard Jewell film falsely portrays the AJC and its personnel as extraordinarily reckless, using unprofessional and highly inappropriate reporting methods, and engaging in constitutional malice by recklessly disregarding information inconsistent with its planned reporting.”
They continued, “This, too, is the height of irony, since all those involved in the film’s creation and dissemination and its false portrayal of the AJC are the ones who have acted recklessly and are engaging in constitutional malice.”
This is hysterical. The newspaper led the smear campaign against Richard Jewell, never apologized for it, and even (to this day) defend their editorial misconduct. Now they want to sue a movie company for portraying them in a negative light. This is the height of hypocrisy for the media.
Let’s be real. The newspaper did not just say, “Oh, Richard Jewell is a suspect.” Their staff wrote and the newspaper published articles accusing him of being a sociopath and even allowed a writer to do an editorial comparing Jewell to the serial killer and child murderer Wayne Williams. This was not reporting the news, this was a trial by media.
The AJC does not have a leg to stand on for being portrayed in a less than favorable light. They should thank their lucky stars that the Georgia Court of Appeals gave them a favorable (yet incorrect in my opinion) ruling in Jewell’s estate lawsuit against them and move on. Fox News is choosing to ignore movies that hit them like Bombshell or the miniseries The Loudest Voice and the AJC should follow this example. They made a mistake and they should swallow their pride.
Richard Jewell is currently in theaters.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie review for Dream/Killer and my latest StudioJake talking Star Wars. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.