Get ready for another attempt at historical revision of an event that no longer lives in memory. The Robert Redford movie about Dan Rather’s firing from CBS has landed with a dull thud. Or perhaps, the movie “Truth” will have some appeal for idealistic twenty-somethings who were ten years old at the time of the ‘key event’ of the movie.
Here’s the short of it: That icon of television journalism, Dan Rather, lost his job when he and his producer, Mary Mapes, decided to go ahead with the broadcast of some phony documents presented to them by an rabid anti-Bush politician. The forged documents quoted unidentified and still mysterious sources who maintained that George W. Bush got into the Texas Air National Guard with the help of this shady politician. (At least President Bush was in something military –unlike current GOP fictional hero Donald Trump who bought four deferments) The fictional sources mentioned, according to today’s Wall Street Journal, consisted of a mysterious ‘Lucy Ramirez’ (because there are thousands in the phone book) and a ‘dark-skinned stranger.’
The anti-Bush slimed documents were immediately recognized as forgeries, and CBS had no choice but to fire Dan Rather.
That was the reality but now Mary Mapes, Dan Rather, Robert Redford, and Cate Blanchett are together in this “Truth” Truther, hoping to make some money out of the public amnesia which is evident even in the current 2016 presidential race. American brains are so scrambled (I am an American) that it is now possible to revise, compile, and be believed by 50 percent of the population in a fictional account about what happened last week. What chance does truth have today regarding some event that happened in 2004?
Robert Redford will no doubt portray a heroic Dan Rather. Kate Blanchett will play a heroic Mary Mapes. There is a good chance that fifty percent of the population may accept this as historical truth. But there is an even better chance that the movie will bomb (reviews are already unfavorable) because it casts journalism into the phantasmagorical light of it is own solipsism.
There are still good reporters out there, but everyone recognizes they are drowned out by anti-historical clickbait ninnies. The latter are the rule; the former the exception. I will even acknowledge that the anti-Bush super-liberal Dan Rather did some good honest reporting during his long career. But the conspiracy to take down a president with forged documents was not a high moment in journalism. Just as this anti-Republican liberal-left screed advertising itself as a film is not a high moment in film.
My guess is that "Truth" will sink to depths even lower than those attained by our Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs. CBS even refuses to take film advertising for “Truth” and what better recommendation for a film is that?