The Mapes miasma [Updated With Schadenfreude]

Variety has opened its pages to former CBS News producer Mary Mapes for an intransigent declaration of her righteousness in the Rathergate affair as portrayed in the film Truth (based on her memoir Truth and Duty). She writes:

“Truth” is an uncannily accurate film about what happened when Dan Rather and our team reported an absolutely true story about then-President George W. Bush’s hit-and-miss Vietnam-era military service. We aired an exclusive interview with a Texas politician who admitted he got Bush a coveted spot in a National Guard unit, along with evidence that Bush went missing from service for more than a year.

Our report also used documents that traced to Bush’s former commander. All of us knew from the start that these memos could not be “authenticated” — a legal, not a journalistic, term — because they were copies, not originals. We were able to confirm the signatures and thoroughly vet the documents’ content and details. A panel of attorneys could not declare that the documents were fake.

These paragraphs give a good sense of Mapes’s devotion to fraud and falsehood. Every sentence here is false or fraudulent; every word is calculated to mislead. The lady is a voluble liar. Mapes is the hero of her own story, but she is the perpetrator of the greatest journalistic fraud of our era. John and I take a look behind the curtain in the Weekly Standard article “Rather shameful” and the Star Tribune column “Lies upon lies.”

In her memoir Mapes says of the laughable cock-and-bull story told by Bill Burkett after the broadcast about the source of the fraudulent documents she used in the second part of the Rathergate segment: “I believed it was quite possible that Bill Burkett was finally telling the truth, the whole weird truth, and nothing but the truth.” By contrast, the movie portrays Mapes as rolling her eyes at Burkett’s story. Even the producers of Truth know that only a fool would buy what Burkett was peddling then. Only a knave would peddle it now.

JOHN adds: It should also be noted that the entire story was a lie, not just the documents. President Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service was honorable–in fact, excellent. The claim that Bush used some kind of influence to obtain a dangerous post as a fighter pilot is false, as Mapes knew when she produced her story. Bush actually volunteered for service in Vietnam, but was turned down. His evaluations by his superior officers, which are publicly available and which we posted back in 2004, were glowing.

Being reminded of the movie Truth prompted me to check on the extent of the financial disaster that the film represents. Box Office Mojo has compiled gross revenues and other data for all movies released during 2015. Don’t look for Truth on the first page, which includes films 1-100. Here it is, coming in at a pathetic #158:

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I haven’t been able to find out how much Truth cost to make and promote, but with a $2.5 million gross, it was a bomb of epic proportions. Even the universally reviled stinker Rock the Kasbah did better.

Will Sony Pictures learn a lesson from the Truth debacle? Probably not. As Michael Medved has documented repeatedly, Hollywood is always willing to lose money on left-wing projects. Speaking of which…

IMDb reveals that people who liked Truth also liked Trumbo. Of course they did!

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