I Got It at the Library: Truth

Dan Rather in the film Truth  looks like an older Robert Redford.  Truth is, it IS an older Robert Redford.


The film revolves around a segment on the TV news program 60 Minutes II in 2004 regarding then presidential candidate George W. Bush  and whether or not his service in the Texas Air National Guard affected his war record. (George W. Bush did not serve in Vietnam. The story presented on the air leaned heavily on a series of documents purporting to show that he may have received preferential treatment during his time in the U.S. military.) However, the emphasis  in the story (once it was aired) seemed less about George W. Bush’s military record and more about the veracity of the documents presented in the story. The failure to positively authenticate those documents eventually resulted in the “retirement” of newsman Dan Rather and the firing of his loyal assistant Mary Mapes (played here by Cate Blanchett). I suppose the film poses some serious questions about the state of investigative journalism – where and how do reporters get their sources? How accurate are they? Are they properly vetted? (the recent furor about a certain story in Rolling Stone would seem to prove the relevance of these issues) – but I couldn’t get past the casting of Mr. Redford as Mr. Rather. No  attempt is made to disguise Mr. Redford as Mr. Rather – not that a dye job and prosthetics would ever transform Dan Rather into an older version of Robert Redford,  as I assume director James Vanderbilt correctly realized.  It is ironic, though, that a film which seems to bemoan the fact that the focus of a story became less about what it was intended to suggest and more about the way it was prepared should appear (to this viewer) to be less about the issues presented and more about the casting. 

That’s Robert Redford on the left (fittingly) and Dan Rather on the right (just in case you were confused)

The film seems to present Mr. Rather as some kind of hero, understandable since it is based on a memoir by his still faithful assistant, Ms. Mapes (Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power). All of which means that, despite its title, we, as viewers may not be getting the full truth of the matter, after all is said and done. 



Author: rixbitz

media gadfly

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