Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thanks For The Warning

It looks like there's going to be a film about Rathergate.  You remember that.  Back in 2004 CBS news producer Mary Mapes thought she found some documents from George W. Bush's National Guard CO that made Bush look particularly bad.  On September, a couple months before the Presidential election, the story was reported by Dan Rather as a major scoop. It backfired on the two when, hours after it aired, eagle-eyed people on the internet noted the documents, purportedly from 1973, looked exactly as if they'd been written on 2004-era Microsoft Word.  After a period of trying to defend the story, CBS established a review panel that concluded the documents had not been properly authenticated.  Mapes was let go and Rather's reputation ruined.

Now there is a good story in this. It's a tragedy about a talented but highly partisan news producer so blinded by her hatred of Bush that she exhumes a story she tried to flog in 2000 (a yawn about how W got preferential treatment during Vietnam thanks to family connections) and thinks she can get another bite at the apple in 2004, hopefully affecting his chances for reelection.  She's sees an opportunity when she receives just the sort of documents that can carry the piece.  Unfortunately, the documents couldn't be more clearly fraudulent if they were written in crayon.  Instead of exercising proper diligence, she decides not to investigate too closely and runs with it. Thus her downfall.

But that doesn't appear to be the movie we'll be getting.  Instead, it will be an adaptation of Mapes' memoir Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power.  To this day Mapes believes the documents are authentic and that, somehow, a right-wing cabal brought her down.  Rather, too, is in a state of Nixonian denial, saying no one knows for sure. The movie will star Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes.

So we'll get another twisted Hollywood version of recent history.  One that, I assume, will flop, as such films tend to do.  And no one will learn any lessons and everyone will be just a little more ignorant.

PS  Shamefully, some tried to defend the documents as "fake but accurate." I wonder if that's how they'll defend the film? Hey, I think we've got a title.

PPS  According to the linked piece, the film "will be produced by Mythology Entertainment." That's the only part that makes sense.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hatred? Is that what you call it when you don't like the story? Nice to see you are basically guaranteeing the Bush Jr. version.

CBS destroyed their credibility on this issue but that does not mean there was not a story here. Bush's weak denials in Decision Points suggest he really lucked out when CBS overreached (or were so induced)

4:10 AM, July 10, 2014  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Of course it's hatred. She wasn't a disinterested news gatherer--she was trying to get Bush, even with a news story that was old and pretty boring . If she cared about news, she'd hardly bother to go after it, but she'd certainly have not gone with it once she saw the story couldn't run on what she had. But instead she ruins her career, and then writes a book about it blaming Bush for everything that's ever been bad in the world. That's hatred.

8:57 AM, July 10, 2014  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

But she gets credit for ruining Rather's career as well.

8:14 AM, July 11, 2014  

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