The 'truth'? Rather '[un]truth'
By Mark Alexander
Leftist propagandists are ever relentless in their efforts to rewrite history. This week offers two notable examples of such revisionism.
On full display in the House Benghazi hearings last week, Hillary Clinton attempted to rewrite her shameful record of lies about how and why four Americans — Ambassador Christopher Stevens, his aide Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods — were murdered. This will no doubt include covering up her subsequent cover-up efforts.
But the weekend before that brought us another case study in leftist historical revisionism, this one using entertainment as the medium. A celebrated movie called "Truth" premiered on the big screens in New York and Los Angeles — a star-studded charade with Robert Redford as disgraced former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as Rather's equally shamed "60 Minutes" producer Mary Mapes. The film will be released in theaters around the nation later this month.
Coming nearly 40 years after his outstanding performance as Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, a genuine journalist, in the 1976 film about Watergate, "All the President's Men," Redford's lead role in this subterfuge appears to be a desperate effort to remain relevant among the current crop of Hollywood glitterati.
"Truth" endeavors to vindicate Rather and Mapes for their parts in a scandalous political hatchet job intended to impugn the character and integrity of George W. Bush, with a highly promoted 2004 "60 Minutes" exposé. In that report, Rather and Mapes accused our nation's commander in chief of dereliction of duty for repeatedly being AWOL during his military tenure flying supersonic F-102 fighter/interceptors with the Air National Guard 37 years earlier.
Rather and Mapes built their entire case against Bush on a couple of ridiculously fictitious military documents — documents that used proportional spacing and superscript characters that were unavailable on 1960s typewriters.
Fortunately, the Rather/Mapes ruse was quickly exposed by those who don't drink the mainstream media Kool-Aid, and this rightly led to Rather's and Mapes' professional demise. (Recall that Rather also attempted to torpedo George H.W. Bush during the 1988 presidential campaign.)
It's no small irony that this BIG Lie of a film is titled "Truth." That was the translated name of the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Indeed, "Pravda" was the party's primary instrument for political "dezinformatsia" from 1912 to 1991. This phony Redford/Blanchett disinformation flick would've made the old Soviet propagandists proud — but what should we expect from a movie produced by (I'm not making this up) Mythology Entertainment?
As you may recall, the original Rather/Mapes hit piece, called "For the Record," aired on September 8, 2004, at the height of the presidential election campaign between George W. Bush and John Kerry. Mapes had been in contact numerous times with Kerry's campaign, including a call to senior Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart just before their fallacious report aired.
At the time the Rather/Mapes fraud was uncovered, there were plenty of attempts to justify the veracity of the fabricated documents upon which the report was based. A New York Times headline laughably read, "Memos on Bush are fake but accurate, typist says." (As it turned out, they were both fake and INaccurate.)
Of course, there are also plenty of contemporary Leftist print propagandists promoting the Rather/Mapes rewrite.
Salon's Andrew O'Hehir wrote, "After the story became the focus of a furious Internet-based right-wing counterattack over the disputed authenticity of two documents, which were not essential to the overall case [emphasis added], Rather was forced to resign as anchor of the 'CBS Evening News' and Mapes was fired, along with several other executives and producers." But in the same report, O'Hehir wrote, "Those memos provided exactly the evidence Mapes needed to lock down the story..."
So, in another fine moment in ludicrous Leftmedia "journalism," O'Hehir asserts that the fabricated documents were not "essential to the overall case" against Bush, but they were "exactly the evidence Mapes needed to lock down the story"?
"For the Record," here's a Rather reality check.
According to CBS spokesperson Gil Schwartz, "It's astounding how little truth there is in 'Truth.' There are, in fact, too many distortions, evasions and baseless conspiracy theories to enumerate them all. The film tries to turn gross errors of journalism and judgment into acts of heroism and martyrdom. That's a disservice not just to the public but to journalists across the world who go out every day and do everything within their power, sometimes at great risk to themselves, to get the story right."
As if the above statement weren't scathing enough, CBS has also declined to accept any advertising promoting the film.
A Wall Street Journal headline noted that Rather is "still wrong after all these years." Journal editorial board member Dorothy Rabinowitz noted kindly, "As the exhaustive, and ultimately devastating independent review of the affair that would become known as 'Rathergate' showed, the segment had a way of ignoring facts that subverted its viewpoint. ... Despite its glamorization, this saga of a news investigation built on fabrications presented as important truth ... isn't likely to persuade anyone with any knowledge of this history."
Of course, the movie is designed to persuade precisely those people with no knowledge of the facts.
The New York Post hilariously opined that this "wacko Dan Rather movie" constitutes "The classic definition of chutzpah — the guy who murders his parents and then begs for mercy because he's an orphan."
In a thoroughly researched analysis of the original case versus the revisionist "Truth," Bloomberg's Megan McArdle wrote of the political blinders worn by Rather and Mapes: "At some point, you have to be able to see the obvious. Other people could, which is why CBS retracted the story, why Mapes and Rather were pushed out, and why the consensus among journalists — from conservative magazines to Mother Jones — is that the documents were faked."
McArdle concluded, "The journalists who deserve to have their stories told are the ones who dug into the provenance of these memos and exposed them for what they actually were. If you are going to make a movie, it should honor their fine work, not the errors that made it necessary."
Two weeks after their "fake but accurate" story aired, Dan Rather issued a national apology in his nightly broadcast: "The failure of CBS news to ... properly and fully scrutinize the documents and their source led to our airing the documents when we should not have done so. It was a mistake. CBS news deeply regrets it. Also I must say personally and directly, I'm sorry."
Maybe he was sorry, but after he was forced to resign in 2005 he sued CBS for wrongful dismissal — a lawsuit that was rightfully laughed out of court.
Now, according to Revisionist Rather, "We reported a story that was true, that was an uncomfortable truth for a lot of people. As a result of that I was asked to leave the anchor chair and eventually CBS News."
But the truth is, this fictitious film should be boycotted and laughed out of theaters.
In 2005, after Rather's resignation, veteran CBS anchor Walter Cronkite, who Rather replaced in 1981, candidly told CNN, "It surprised quite a few people at CBS and elsewhere ... that they tolerated his being there for so long."
In the final analysis, Rather and Mapes, and their Hollywood sycophants, can't handle the truth.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.