“Truth” and other lies

The film Truth premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12. Starring Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes, the film retells the Rathergate scandal based on Mary Mapes’s memoir Truth and Duty. I must be one of the few people in the United States actually to have read the book.

Mapes is the hero of her memoir and the hero of the film. In Mapes’s telling, she is not the perpetrator of a scandalous hoax. Rather, she is a liberal martyr to the truth. If she’s a martyr at all, she’s a martyr a la Julius Rosenberg and Alger Hiss. In other words, she’s guilty as hell but she’s not confessing, ever, and now she has the best of Hollywood to lend her aid and comfort. The left does not give up promoting them, as we can see also in Kevin Williamson’s timely NR column “Codename: LIBERAL.”

Reviewers of Truth at its premiere seem to take the story told by the film at face value. That is a mistake. In the Weekly Standard article “Rather shameful,” out today, John and I tell the true Rathergate story based on the Thornburgh-Boccardi report, based on the memoirs by Rather and Mapes, and based on our own experience on September 9, 2004, and the days following. The article opens:

When CBS’s 60 Minutes Wednesday broadcast its lead story—reported by Dan Rather and produced by Mary Mapes—on the evening of September 8, 2004, it was given the anodyne title “For the Record,” as though it constituted little more than a disinterested historical footnote. In reality, the story was a bold fabrication about President George W. Bush’s long-ago service in the Texas National Guard, intended to damage him in his campaign for reelection against John Kerry.

Within hours of the broadcast, after CBS News posted online PDF copies of four memos highlighted in the segment, the story began to fall apart….

I hope you find the article of interest. Please check it out.

As a preview of coming attractions, I want to let you know that over the weekend we’ll take a deeper dive into the story with the assistance of Atlanta attorney Harry MacDougald (the pseudonymous “Buckhead”), who initiated the unraveling of the scandal behind the phony 60 Minutes Wednesday story on the evening of Septermber 8.