James Vanderbilt’s aptly titled movie, Truth, offers a brilliantly executed piece about 2004’s ill-fated George Bush expose, which led to the downfall of renowned news anchor Dan Rather and award-winning producer Mary Mapes.
At the time, the potentially explosive report — detailing how then presidential candidate Bush had received preferential treatment to avoid serving in Vietnam, among other military corruption allegations — received a barrage of forgery complaints which cost both Rather and Mapes their hard-earned reputations.
The movie, starring Robert Redford as Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mapes, was praised by Rather himself for its “total accuracy.” It gives viewers insight into the painstaking efforts put into the research and analysis of the controversial Bush documents, as well as the frustrations news shows go through just to give viewers the truth — or unfortunately, as the Rather-Mapes team puts it — to give their networks money, stock market shares and profit margins.
Overall, Truth remains careful not to take sides, and sticks to showing what the title itself intends to show — the truth. And though the scandal has long been forgotten, six documents claiming the non-existence of Bush’s military service have recently turned up, thus adding another dimension to what once was journalism’s biggest scandal at the time.
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