First came that movie about the CIA lady, um, what’s her name, you know, the one that evil Dick Cheney or somebody tried to “out.” Yeah, what’s her name. Now along comes a film about crazy Dan “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” Rather and his hitherto obscure producer, Mary Mapes, at CBS News. Variety reports:
The upcoming movie, starring Cate Blanchett as producer Mary Mapes and Robert Redford as Dan Rather, is an unwelcome reminder of past mistakes for several people who lived through the saga of the 2004 “60 Minutes II” report on President George W. Bush’s time in the Texas Air National Guard. Some who are depicted in the controversial film, which is based on Mapes’ 2005 book “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power,” are critical of the conclusions drawn by the veteran investigative journalist.
“It’s astounding how little truth there is in ‘Truth,’” a CBS spokesman said in response to Variety’s inquiry. “There are, in fact, too many distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all. The film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom. That’s a disservice not just to the public but to journalists across the world who go out every day and do everything within their power, sometimes at great risk to themselves, to get the story right.”
CBS’ ire and the response from the “Truth” filmmakers and distributor Sony Pictures Classics crystallizes the central debate about the incident that has been re-ignited by the film. Was the problem behind the “60 Minutes II” report an issue of corporate interference with the pursuit of a sensitive story? Or was it journalistic mistakes that compromised the reputation of a trusted news outlet and its primary public face, namely Rather?
Or maybe — just maybe — it was the result of an out-of-control, frothing leftist “journalist” who was determined to try and change the course of a national election with obviously fraudulent documents. Courage.