Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1997, tells the story of the long and remarkable career of reporter and press critic George Seldes. Filmmaker Rick Goldsmith uses archival footage, still photos, and interviews with those who've known or have been influenced by Seldes (including Ralph Nader, Nat Hentoff, Victor Navasky, and Seldes' niece, actress Marian Seldes) to tell the story. Susan Sarandon provides the narration, while Ed Asner reads from Seldes' writings. Seldes himself provides a wealth of information and insight about his life for the film, made when the man was a remarkably lucid and energetic 98 years old. (The film wasn't completed and shown until 1996, a year after his death at the age of 104.) "There are powerful forces that don't want the facts," Seldes realized early on in his reporting career, and fought to expose the stories that needed to be told. Just after WWI, as a member of the Army press corps, he was nearly court-marshaled when he went to Berlin, against orders, and wrote about the suffering of the Germans. Throughout his career, he courted controversy by exposing the abuses of the Stalin regime, attacking Mussolini and predicting that fascism would lead to world war (at a time when others, including the New York Times, supported the fascist), and constantly decrying the influence of big money and big business on the American press. His own newsletter, In Fact, refused to accept advertising, and exposed the dangers of tobacco long before the mainstream media covered the story. The McCarthy era put an end to In Fact, but that didn't stop Seldes, who continued his writing. His appearance as a "witness" in Warren Beatty's Reds rekindled interest in his work.
critic, democracy, ethics, journalism, power, press, reporter