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I posted this as a comment in "Just stop it over the Walker story" but the movie was so damned good--and so relevant now (even more so than it was when the film came out in 1981) that I felt it worthy of its' own diary.

Frankly, as it's developed so far, the Walker/pregnancy story reminds me a lot of "Absence of Malice", an amazingly good Paul Newman/Sally Field drama about the newspaper industry.

The movie has been best described as "Sort of like All the President's Men turned inside out". Here's the IMDB link; the tagline for the film is "Suppose you picked up this morning's newspaper and your life was a front page headline...and everything they said was accurate...but none of it was true."

I'm ruining some key plot points here, but hell, the movie's over 30 years old:

Sally Field plays an eager but hopelessly naive reporter; Newman plays a grizzled importer whose father used to be in the mob. A union leader is killed and Newman is implicated for the murder.

His alibi is that he was out of town the day of the murder...driving a female friend to have an abortion. He refuses to give that as an alibi out of loyalty and respect for his friends' privacy (she's an extremely private person, works for a Catholic school and is deeply ashamed of sleeping with the guy who knocked her up).

The friend decides to confide the abortion to Field's character to try and clear Newman's name. Field, completely oblivious to the obvious emotional turmoil that this is causing, includes the abortion in the follow-up story instead of just stating that Newman was indeed out of town that day. Bear in mind that this was also in 1981, just 8 years after the Roe vs. Wade decision; abortion was considered far more taboo than it is today, which I realize is difficult to believe.

The friend, mortified by her private decision being made public, kills herself.

Check out one of the most coldly chilling scenes here (this is from early in the film, when Fields' original story implicating Newman's character is about to be published):

The point with the Walker story isn't, as sideboth notes, whether it's true or not; the point is that even if it is true, it's still wrong for a 3rd party (the ex-girlfriends' roommate) to be the one to go public with it, and it's still wrong for the press--as well as the rest of us--to spread the story under the circumstances.

In Absence of Malice, the woman herself was the one to reveal her private trauma, and it was still flat-out wrong of the paper to publish that info. In the Walker story, it wasn't even the pregnant woman herself, it was her former roommate who, for all we know, she hasn't talked to in 20 years.

As sideboth noted, even if the story is true, there are a dozen reasons why she might not want it to go public. And if it isn't true, this woman is going to still be run through the ringer for no reason whatsoever.

Originally posted to Brainwrap on Sun Jun 03, 2012 at 07:37 AM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Community Spotlight.

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