Spielberg is noted for presenting historical events as a human story. In ‘The Post’, the human side is the owner of the Washington Post, a novice widow. And she is presented with circumstances where she needs to take a call.
United States entered Vietnam for war in 1955 and a decade of bombings didn’t get them a win. So they set a committee to find the reason why. The findings were; “United States cannot win this war.” Despite knowing this, successive Presidents kept winning elections pledging to “end the war” but when in Office, kept pumping in more troops into Vietnam who died in large numbers.
In 1971, an “insider”, a “Snowden”, got hold of “The Pentagon Papers“, made xeroxes and sent it to all who dared to publish it. The first to do was The New York Times. This alerted the government of the leak and they came down heavily with “gag orders.”
The Washington Post as a competitor of The New York Times has to do something similar to stay in the game. But the board members advised against this, too scared to counter the government’s “gag orders.” These are the circumstances presented to the newbie owner who took a call to publish. When two major newspapers took this stand others followed. These acts unmasked the political hypocrisy and was instrumental in ending the war in 1975.