National Press Club

Who are the enemies of the press? Netflix documentary explores threats to press freedom from billionaires, Oct. 19

October 15, 2017 | By Kathy Kiely |

The First Amendment protects the press against government censorship, but could the biggest threat to press freedom come from private, monied interests?

That's the question posed by "Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press," a provocative documentary by director Brian Knappenberger that Netflix is bringing to the National Press Club at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.

The screening will be followed by a 30-minute panel discussion with some of the principals sponsored by the NPC Journalism Institute.

Tickets are $5 for Club members and $10 for non-members and can be purchased online.

The film tells the story of tech billionaire Peter Thiel's successful effort to run the controversial Gawker Media out of business by secretly bankrolling wrestler Hulk Hogan's libel suit. And it looks at the covert takeover of Las Vegas' leading newspaper by gambling magnate and GOP financier Sheldon Adelson.

Like, more recently, Rolling Stone, did Gawker undermine itself by taking too many journalistic risks? Is libel the new tool of the ultra-wealthy who want to withstand scrutiny? How can a financially weakened press defend itself against wealthy takeover artists?

The Panel

  • Brian Knappenberger, filmmaker
  • Margaret Sullivan, The Washington Post
  • Elizabeth Spiers, founder, The Insurrection and Gawker's founding editor
  • Moderator: Patricia Aufderheide, American University