The Spotlight is a superb flick about the work of the investigative team of the Boston Globe and its quest to unveil the sexual abuses perpetrated by more than 70 priests against children.
The casting is perfect, each and every actor delivering the part in a credible, human, and convincing way. But what strikes the most is the comparison with what happened, a decade later, in the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon.
While The Spotlight depicts a professional team, committed to finding the truth and then, and only then, revealing it to the public, with utter respect for the victims as well as the alleged perpetrators, after the bombing everyone thought to have the culprit in his/her pocket and that it was a great idea to share this information everywhere.
In an amateurish investigative spree, Reddit indicated in Sunil Tripathi the responsible for the bombing; when his name was made public, without any official confirmation whatsoever, his family received death threats, anonymous phone calls, the full package of intimidation/revenge from people who thought he was the one who planted the bomb.
Turned out, soon afterwards, that Sunil, reported missing in March 2013, committed suicide shortly after disappearing, and, therefore, was surely not responsible for any death, apart from his own. (his family has in the meantime produced a documentary about the whole story: http://www.helpusfindsuniltripathi.com; unfortunately not easy to find in the major distributions movies, but hopefully, will be sooner or later available on Netflix or similar.)
This is why I do not fully believe in citizen journalism; not because the individuals lack skills, or willingness, to investigate, and I am sure the redditors who posted after the Boston bombing were genuinely interested in finding the truth; it is more a matter of ethics, of putting something in black and white only when it is confirmed, and not by one, but multiple sources.
Unfortunately, it looks like this race for the “scoop”, for being the first one to break a news, regardless of its certainty, has taken over also in the most respectable newspapers, which often do not think twice before publishing unconfirmed news.
Therefore, kudos to the Spotlight team – the “real” one- for the thorough investigation they carried out, for protecting the victims until the last moment, for the care they put into the work they did.
And kudos to the movie which reminded all of us what being a conscious, dedicated journalist mean.