Accuracy in Media

dan rather on piers morgan

Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, who has spent much of the last 10 years trying to restore his reputation after leaving the network in disgrace, is getting a big boost from Hollywood with the upcoming release of “Truth,” a film based on Rather’s former producer Mary Mapes’ book, Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power.

Mapes, who was fired for her role in the disastrous September 2004 report about then-President George W. Bush’s Air National Guard service, has a large axe to grind—as does Rather—and as a result a lot of the truth is left out of the movie.

The report accused Bush of using political favoritism to obtain his spot as a pilot in the National Guard and then going AWOL, which could have been very damaging to Bush, who was running for reelection. But it was quickly debunked by conservative bloggers after they examined the documents used as the basis for the report and found that they were riddled with inconsistencies, and were probably forged in an attempt to smear Bush.

Despite the evidence that the documents were flawed, Mapes and Rather stood firmly behind the story, leaving CBS no choice but to fire Mapes and three other employees who were involved with the report and force Rather out of the anchor chair, which he had held for 24 years.

In a Times Talk discussion hosted by the New York Times, Rather admitted mistakes were made but stood behind the accuracy of the report:

Journalism is not a precise science. It’s sort of a crude art. If the test is, you don’t run a story until and unless you don’t make mistakes…then very little quality journalism of integrity will be filed. The fact that we made mistakes, and didn’t do it perfectly, shouldn’t obscure the fact that we reported the truth.

As for the movie, it portrays Rather and Mapes as victims of a large corporation, while leaving out many of the facts that led to his resignation and her dismissal, in an effort to rehabilitate them. But that shouldn’t be too surprising in left-leaning Hollywood, where liberals can do no wrong.

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