Listen to the review by David H. Anthony above, and read the transcript below.
Recent juxtapositions of “television” and “news” seem oxymoronic. What matter are ratings, audience numbers, market share, key metrics to assess and increase profitability of the enterprise.
Truth, a new docudrama revisiting a decisive transitional moment marking a shift of tv news from a principled profession to a corporate commodity, explores these issues.
Truth reconstructs events surrounding a 2004 story seeking to address questions concerning the military service record of then President George W. Bush. Centering on 60 Minutes producer Mary Mapes and veteran news anchor Dan Rather, Truth recreates the intense high stakes gamble their team took to research and relate to America a potential election year blockbuster.
For Truth this began the end of CBS News as a voice of conscience, sounding the death knell of truth speaking to power, in mass media and politics. As Mapes and staff try to track down leads casting doubt on pilot Bush’s air national guard tenure, “old man” Rather serves as on-camera point person.
Director James Vanderbilt’s screenplay, based on Mapes’ memoir, Truth and Duty: The Press, The President and the Privilege of Power, is fast-paced, edgy and engaging.
The story is the true star. Truth aspires to take on big ideas: The right of an informed citizenry to know; the responsibilities of journalists, and the risks facing investigators daring to question entrenched corporate and state power. Simply stated, it is David vs. Goliath. This is summed up in Dan Rather’s clear closing comment, a coda for Truth and all that urgently remains to be done: “Courage.”