We might expect a movie titled “Truth” to contain some.
As usual, it’s in the eye of the beholder, as was the case in 2006, when Dan Rather was ousted from CBS.
Screenwriter James Vanderbilt makes the transition to director to tell the story of Rather and “60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes, who sought to influence the 2004 election by airing a story about George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam era.
Mr. Rather and Ms. Mapes tried to portray Bush as a draft-dodger. The White House strongly objected and got an early leg up in public opinion by citing the liberal bias of Mr. Rather’s work.
Then CBS was forced to investigate and found it could not authenticate some of the documents used. (Forgery is such a nasty and loaded term.)
Ms. Mapes was soon forced out; Mr. Rather followed. He sued CBS and lost, but still accuses the network of caving to political and corporate pressure.
“Because [the gist of the story] was true, those who wanted to attack it had to find the weakest point, and they attacked the process,” he recently told The Hollywood Reporter.
Yeah, Dan, whatever. You might have survived were you were more like Sam Donaldson at ABC, a reporter first and a professional liberal second.
Most of you probably think Mr. Rather is retired at 83, but he still does a documentary program for AXS, a cable outfit almost nobody watches. His successor at CBS was Katie Couric.
Ms. Couric’s five-year tenure anchoring the evening news was such a train wreck that hardly anybody remembers Rather’s misstep. The boutique movie, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, likely won’t change that – even with Bob Redford playing the lead.