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‘Truth’ Tells a Story About Commitment



The movie “Truth” tells a story about commitment. By presenting the events that marked the television broadcasting company CBS in 2004. The film shows the courage of Mary Mapes, the producer who stood tall in spite of her opponents.

James Vanderbilt wrote and directed the political documentary/drama released in 2015, at the 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Based on the memoir of Mary Mapes, “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power,” the movie focused on the controversy of the Killian documents. The six papers contained information about the former U.S. President George W. Bush’s service in the Air National Guard, in the 1970s.

The movie shows the incident that marked the 2004 Presidential Election. In September, CBS presented four of the documents in a “60 Minutes II” broadcast. Mapes was the producer who worked with a team of journalists to prove that Bush benefited from some favoritism during his military service. The crew received documents and interviewed persons that had a connection with the Air National Guard in the 70s, to understand the events as they happened. However, due to a stressing deadline, Mapes decided to present the documents after some experts checked the papers to prove their authenticity. However, it seemed that they were not verified carefully.

Journalists, bloggers, and other media sources investigated the allegations made by the CBS team. After researching, they showed that the documents were not originals, but copies created on a computer using Microsoft Word. As a result of the controversy, CBS started an internal investigation and decided to take measures against the team involved. There were accusations that the team showed a lapse in judgment, and the television broadcasting company fired the journalists.

Despite the fact that the movie is a sad representation of how journalism is perceived and judged, “Truth” tells a story about commitment. Mapes stood by her material and protected her crew, taking all the responsibility for the controversy. She remained dignified and received the slaps from the review committee while holding her head up high. Mapes trusted the reporters that she selected for her team and their investigative research. She was proud of their work, in spite of the harsh results.

Cate Blanchett starred as the former CBS producer and, according to The Telegraph, she was “[in] the form of her life,” showing intelligence and steadiness. Also, Robert Redford had an essential role in the cast of “Truth.” He starred as Dan Rather, the news anchor for the CBS Evening News program. Rather was one of the most important pieces pushing Mapes’ investigation, such as helping her with ideas and encouraging her.

In fact, “Truth” has a Metascore of 68/100, based on 35 reviews. Moreover, on IMDb, the film has a grade of 6.8/10, while on Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a rating of 62 percent, as the critics believe that the movie’s incredible cast “and compelling message are often enough to overcome its occasionally didactic and facile dramatization of a nuanced real-life tale.”

The movie is tense and presents many details that express the team’s solidarity. “Truth,” tells a story about commitment and represents a lesson for all the journalists who are investigating an important subject. It speaks about the value of citing sources that can justify their statements. Also, Mapes is an example of loyalty and assumption of leadership, a type of journalist that inspires.

Opinion by Bianca-Ramona Dumitru
Edited by Jeanette Smith


Consortiumnews: The Dark Truth in the Movie ‘Truth’
IMDb: Truth
Roger Ebert: Reviews – Truth
Rotten Tomatoes: Truth
The Telegraph: Truth review: ‘Cate Blanchett is on the form of her life’
The Washington Post: Ousted CBS Producer Comes Out Swinging

Image Courtesy of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License