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Mitch Perry Report for 11.23.15 – “Spotlight” sparkles

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A good (and finally, chilly) Monday morning to you all.

Over the weekend I saw Spotlight, the superb new film that depicts The Boston Globe‘s investigation regarding allegations of sexual abuse by hundreds of clergy in the Boston archdiocese (Special props to actor Mark Ruffalo, sporting the best bowl haircut seen in a premium film in years). The time depicted is 2001, when there was a lot less blogging going on in journalism. The Globe’s reporting ultimately led to their winning a public service Pulitzer in 2003, and opened the floodgates into a story that the Catholic Church has been hiding forever.

The film is getting major critical reaction, and the audience I saw the film with on Saturday broke into spontaneous applause at the end. The best film about reporting since 1976′s All the President’s Men, some critics are claiming.

Perhaps. My favorites in the past decade and — half would go like this: The Insider (1999), Shattered Glass (2003), Zodiac (2007), and State of Play (2009), which also featured Rachel McAdams.

One film not on that list is Truth, starring Cate Blanchett as former 60 Minutes producer Mary Maples and Robert Redford as Dan Rather that came and went in theaters rather quickly last month.

I liked the film, but it’s one of the most depressing couple of hours you’ll spend in a theater this year, and it’s predicated on the fact that we in the audience all know that — unlike Spotlight — it’s not going to be a happy ending for the journalists depicted. Maples and Rather (and many others at CBS News) lost their jobs after their segment on “60 Minutes II” on George W. Bush using his pull to get into the National Guard instead of going to Vietnam — and then going AWOL for a chunk of what was supposed to be his service. The film doesn’t whitewash how poorly Maples and company did their job — and one of the “uh-oh” sequences in the movie is when the producers, clamoring to get their story on the air, agree to rush up the production of the piece. If nothing else, Spotlight is an argument for the old-fashioned type of investigative reporting where the reporters get time — lots of time — to get the story accurately. Truth is a bummer of a film experience, because it depicts a train wreck about to happen.

But Spotlight is must see viewing.

In other news.

Although the circumstances may be completely different, Jeb Bush‘s struggles in his bid for the Republican nomination for president are all too familiar with Floridians familiar with the presidential ambitions of previous governors like Bob Graham, Reubin Askew and Claude Kirk.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce wants to fight for your right to vote for a transit referendum next year in Hillsborough County.

And the Tampa Tiger Bay Club held a discussion on the gender pay gap on Friday.

Mitt Romney anyone? That’s who voters in New Hampshire still hunger for, apparently.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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