I just watched the trailer for Robert Redford’s latest film, “Truth,” due out October 16th. The film depicts the 2004 forged documents scandal that ended journalist Dan Rather’s career with CBS. Redford stars as the newsman.
The movie is based on the book “Truth and Duty: the President, the Press, and the Privilege of Power” by Mary Mapes, the former 60 Minutes producer who also lost her job over the fake National Guard memos.
Allow me to briefly summarize the shoddy journalistic practices employed at CBS, about which an entire book could be written, for the benefit of those too young to remember Rathergate. For starters, the scandal should really be called Mapesgate because Mapes was primarily responsible for the unethical behavior at CBS. She was absolutely obsessed with the idea that President Bush shirked his duty in the Texas Air National Guard, which she just knew to be true. How fortunate Mapes was to meet a man named Bill Burkett, who happened to provide her the proof she had always wanted.
Sadly, Burkett suffered from the world’s first confirmed case of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Besides having once had a nervous breakdown, he had also advanced other baseless accusations against Bush during the 2000 campaign as well as when he was governor of Texas. Burkett claimed to have documents revealing that young Lieutenant Bush had gone AWOL in 1972, though he kept changing his story as to where he got them. Mapes fell in love with the documents and rushed them to air, despite the fact the network’s own expert would not vouch for them.
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