Tom Hanks Narrates WaPo Super Bowl Ad Promoting Journalists’ ‘Larger Importance to Society’

Actor Tom Hanks attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards)
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards

Actor Tom Hanks is set to narrate a TV commercial during Sunday’s Super Bowl meant to combat fake news and burnish the reputation of journalists for the Washington Post, according to reports.

The 60-second ad for the newspaper will contain images of some of the nation’s biggest stories from World War II to the present day and will feature Hanks talking about how important journalists are as “gatherers of fact, as well as the profession’s larger importance to society,” the Post said in a Friday announcement.

“The Super Bowl is a remarkable moment to recognize the courage and commitment of journalists around the world that is so essential to our democracy,” Post publisher and CEO Fred Ryan said. “We decided to seize the opportunity to make this a milestone moment in our ongoing campaign.”

The spot will end with the paper’s recent slogan, “Democracy Dies in Darkness.”

Journalist Marie Colvin, who died covering the siege of Homs in Syria in 2012, will also be shown, as will radical Muslim activist Jamal Khashoggi who supplied a few opinion editorials to the paper before his death in Turkey last year.

The paper only recently jumped in to purchase the 60-second slot during the big game. The Post reportedly paid up to $5.25 million for the spot.

“This was a chance for a broader message about the role journalists play in our everyday lives and the risks they take to bring us the facts,” CEO Ryan concluded.
Hanks has long-been a supporter of the White House press corps. Hanks starred alongside Meryl Streep in director Steven Speilberg’s 2017 drama, The Post, about the paper’s 1971 fight against the U.S. government to publish the infamous Pentagon Papers.
Hanks told David Axelrod in a December 2017 interview on CNN’s The Axe Files that it “concerns” him how much President Donald Trump criticizes the press.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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