Uncle Bardie’s Movie of the Week: “I was just doing my job.”

Once a week on Monday, Uncle Bardie shares a movie with his Readers he gives a big two thumbs up. It will simply be a short excerpt or a trailer. Uncle Bardie might even throw in a reflection on the movie. If so, it will make an appearance below the video. This week’s movie is the 2016 Academy Award for Best Picture “Spotlight” (2015):

This could have been Nazi Germany, but it wasn’t. It was the United States of America. Like so many Germans in Hitler’s Germany, again and again we hear Americans say, “I was just doing my job.” This film is the true story that supports the Edmund Burke’s quote, “Evil prevails if good men do nothing.” In Catholic diocese after Catholic diocese around the world, good men did nothing to end the sexual abuse of children by priests. They only had excuses.

The stories began to leak out to the public in the 1980s. It took The Boston Globe investing the Boston Archdiocese’s complicit involvement in that great sin. There were those at the highest levels of the American church, the Bishops and Archbishops, who knew what was going on. They not only did nothing to stop it.  In fact, they often moved the guilty priest from parish to parish.

The Boston Globe’s Spotlight staff put in almost a year investigating the scandal. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of man hours went into the work. The Boston Globe is to be applauded for putting in the resources that it took to break the story. The unfortunate thing is that fewer newspapers and broadcast networks are doing something that used to be common, investigative reporting on a local, state or national level.

Your mayor or state legislator could be embezzling funds and it wouldn’t get reported. A bridge contractor might be using shotty materials to repair a bridge and it wouldn’t get reported. A local hospital might be using bad drugs to treat patients and there’s no one there to uncover the story and report it. Because those newspapers and television stations no longer have the resources. We’ll pay to hear the latest Khadashian story but we’re not interested in finding out about those stories that truly matter to us on a day-to-day.

What used to be a public responsibility on the part of the news media is now seen as a drain on resources. In a capitalist society, the business gets rid of it if it isn’t making a profit. To hell with the public good. Investigative journalism will go away if we don’t care enough to support it. And maybe that is what the Powers That Be want.

All this reminds me of something Jesus said. “And whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me. But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” (Matthew 18:5-6)