What Does Dan Rather Think Of 'Truth'? The Newscaster Throws His Support Behind The New Film
In Truth, Robert Redford takes on the role of esteemed journalist Dan Rather during a not-so-esteemed moment in his career: when Rather filed a report for 60 Minutes in 2004 that was found to be based on, in part, doctored evidence. The scandal that rocked the journalism world, commonly referred to as "Memogate," occurred after Rather and his producer, Mary Mapes, ran a story that questioned President George W. Bush's military service and theorized that Bush's family connections allowed him to stay out of the Vietnam War. After it was discovered that military documents used in the report were likely forged, the story fell apart. Mapes was forced to leave 60 Minutes, and Rather left CBS two years later. Truth is based on Mapes' 2005 memoirs, in which she stood by the report, but her former co-worker was also involved in the making of the film, so if you're curious about what Dan Rather thinks about Truth , that's your answer: he supports it, and he said as much at the film's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
"Naturally I was pleased, and pleasantly surprised. This film is very accurate. A film called Truth should be accurate," Rather told The Hollywood Reporter while at the festival.
Rather, who, like Mapes, has stood by his 2004 report on Bush's military record, also praised the film for its truthful portrayal of the journalistic profession, saying during a Truth Q&A, "This is the best film I've seen on the big screen that takes you inside the craft of journalism, and demonstrates how it works, as opposed to how people feel journalism works."
For Rather, Truth isn't necessarily a fictionalization of a time in his life, but a film about the growing influence of politics and outside forces on journalism. "The combination of political operatives, lobbyists working in concert with the White House and powerful political groups overwhelmed the truth. Because it was true, those who wanted to attack it had to find the weakest point, and they attacked the (newsmaking) process," Rather said at the festival.
Rather has continued to support the film as it prepares for theatrical release. Both he and Mapes recently attended a screening of Truth at New York's Museum of Modern Art, alongside their on-screen counterparts, Redford and Cate Blanchett. On the red carpet of that screening, Redford revealed that he called Rather before shooting on Truth began, and the journalist had only one piece of advice for the actor: "It's about loyalty. Loyalty between me and Mary. Loyalty to my bosses."
Of course, just as Rather has vouched for the authenticity of Truth, CBS has been quick to dismiss any claim of veracity. "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," CBS said in a statement. (Bustle reached out to Sony Pictures Classics for comment, but hasn't heard back at this time.)
CBS is clearly not thrilled with the version of events in Truth, and likely that their most recent reporting scandal has now been made the subject of a feature film. Yet regardless of the comments from his former TV home, Rather has remained supportive of the network even as he does press to promote Truth.
"CBS may have correspondents and anchors who are better at it than I've ever been. But they haven't had anybody who worked harder and cared more about the people and the place that CBS is — its history, its traditions — than I did. And still do," Rather told The Hollywood Reporter .
When Truth opens in theaters on Oct. 16, the public will get to decide for themselves if they feel the movie does right by its subjects.