The trailer for Richard Jewell was released by Warner Bros. yesterday and it brought back a lot of memories for me. Having witnessed the Olympic Park bombing live on television during the 1996 Olympic Games, I saw how the media viciously turned on a single man. Marked him as a hero, only to tear him down to fit a media narrative that needed to pin blame on someone as opposed to watch the investigation play out.
For some context, during the Olympic Games of 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, Richard Jewell discovered a backpack filled with three pipe bombs. He managed to clear most of the area and saved countless lives. Yes, some people were hurt and killed, but he was initially hailed as a hero. As in many instances, the FBI started looking at Jewell as a potential suspect, but the media went on half-baked theories and leaked hearsay to turn him into the bomber himself.
Nearly a decade later, in 2005, he was officially exonerated after serial bomber Eric Rudolph was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to carrying out the bombing in 1996. The media never apologized or even mentioned that they got the story very wrong. Jewell eventually died in 2007 from heart failure due to complications from diabetes.
It will be safe to say, given director Clint Eastwood’s conservative leaning, it will be directed as a “fake news” narrative. Now, in all honesty, it is a “fake news” narrative. Something that we live with now. A hungry media that is looking to fill up a 24/7 news cycle, which relies on talking heads on “news” shows to give their opinion and make it seem like news.
The movie has some star power backing it and looks to be very interesting. The movie was greenlit earlier this year and completed shooting rather quickly to make its December 2019 release date. Richard Jewell is garnering some potential Oscar buzz, but given the recent track record of Clint Eastwood it remains to be seen if it truly resonates. One thing’s for sure, it will be popular among the “fake news” media crowd. But, honestly, it should be important for everyone, including a reflection of the news media. Richard Jewell opens on December 13, 2019.