‘Truth’ and Drama in a News Room


IMDb stated the film “Truth,” starring Robert Redford, is a drama set in a newsroom. It follows the “60 Minutes” report in 2004 that investigated George W. Bush, who was president of the United States at the time. The report questioned Bush’s military record, causing a very large backlash of skepticism against TV news anchor Dan Rather and Producer Mary Mapes. The controversy also ultimately cost Rather and Mapes their careers in the media and journalism.

“Truth” was directed and written by James Vanderbilt. It was also based on the novel that was written by Mapes.

The film also stars actors Redford as Rather, Cate Blanchett as Mapes, Dennis Quaid as Lt. Colonel Roger Charles, and Bruce Greenwood as Andrew Heywood. Other cast members include Connor Burk as Robert Mapes, Phillip Quast as Ben Barnes, Zahra Newman as Dana Roberson, and Elisabeth Moss as Lucy Scott.

Mikkel Bondesen, Steven Silva, Antonia Barnard, James Backer, and Neil Tabatznik were the film’s executive producers. Mandy Walker was the director of photography and the music was composed by Brian Tyler.

Richard Francis-Bruce edited the film. John Papsidera and Nikki Barrett cast the film. The costumes were designed by Amanda Neale.

Tony Watt and Lloyd Finnemore produced the film’s special effects.  Alexandra Taussig, Joseph White, and Amy Green were the production managers of “Truth.”

The film’s budget was estimated to cost $9,600,000. It opened on the weekend of Oct. 16, 2015. The film managed to gross $66,232 on its opening weekend. “Truth,” which is about a drama in a newsroom, was filmed in 2014. It was also viewed in theaters from Nov. 8, 2015 to Feb. 7, 2016.

“The Los Angeles Times” also stated that Rather said his team reported a true story, then everyone who was connected to the story was fired. Furthermore, the veteran anchor also stated that although the process was not perfect, the story was true.

The controversial story that Rather published focused on two key points. The first part of his story stated that Bush used his family’s political influence to gain entry to the Texas Air National Guard. As a result, the former president could then avoid serving in the Vietnam War. The second issue involved the claim that for a year into his guard duty, Bush was unaccounted for in the Texas Air National Guard unit.

Rather also claimed that the corporation and the White House pressured him to reject the story. The film “Truth” centers on the imperfect process of the story.

“The New York Times” also claimed “Truth” to be a gripping and stunningly executed journalist thriller. The film also depicted the end of Rather’s career as an anchorman for CBS.

The episode of “60 Minutes II” aired on the evening of Sept. 8, 2004. The report also implied that President Bush used his family connections to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. The former president was able to avoid being drafted by joining the Texas Air National Guard.

Mapes failed to supply documentation that supported the claim Bush went missing during his Air National Guard duties. As a consequence, she was dismissed from her position at CBS. Rather was also forced to step down as the network’s lead anchorman.

The film defended Rather, Mapes, and her team’s actions by claiming they were persecuted for politically-motivated reasons. Moreover, the film also suggested that to win favor with Conservative Republicans, CBS pardoned the maltreatment of Rather and Mapes. Furthermore, CBS was also concerned that Bush would win the 2004 election during the controversy ignited by Rather and Mapes.

The story aired when Bush was slightly ahead of Democratic opponent John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential Election. Furthermore, many political pundits were also discrediting Kerry’s military record throughout the election.

“Truth,” which is a film about drama in a newsroom, centers on the actions of Rather and Mapes, who wrote “Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power,” and the premise of the movie. Furthermore, “Truth” also explores the producer’s aspect of the tale.

By John A. Federico
Edited by Leigh Haugh

IMDb: Truth (2015)
Los Angeles Times: The Envelope Dan Rather is sticking to the ‘Truth’ of his story about George W. Bush
The New York Times: Review: ‘Truth’ Treads a Perilous Political Tightrope
Featured Image Courtesy of Peabody Awards’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License