Dan Rather is a newsman. The term might seem quaint in 2015, if not altogether anachronistic, but Rather climbed the ladder at CBS with bulldog determination, chasing the news to dangerous locations around the globe and hounding powerful world leaders for the truth when the scent of scandal drifted on to the front pages and the 6 o’clock news.
But in 2004, as President George W. Bush was running for re-election and the Iraq War was at its peak, Rather, producer Mary Mapes, and his CBS team at 60 Minutes II found themselves on the defensive. The news show had accused Bush of dodging combat in the Vietnam War with a cushy National Guard slot that he then failed to fulfill. But their evidence was quickly called into question, and CBS was forced to retract and apologize in what became known as Rathergate.
That’s the story of Truth, an adaptation of Mapes’ memoir that premieres this weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival. Cate Blanchett plays Mapes, and Robert Redford stars as the esteemed newsman. Redford doesn’t bother with an impression of the TV anchor; he settles for the gravitas that he himself brings to every character, and not a little of his role from All the President’s Men. In this exclusive clip, Rather is the toast of CBS, celebrated at a black-tie affair by his network boss (Bruce Greenwood). But even when he has a drink in his hand, his mind is still on the story — specifically the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal he and Mapes were feverishly working in Spring 2004.
Written and directed by first-time filmmaker James Vanderbilt (Zodiac), Truth also stars Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, and Elisabeth Moss. “[The movie] is less about whether or not Bush served his time in the National Guard, and more about truth in investigative journalism with the internet and the 24-hours news cycle,” says Moss, who plays a journalism professor working with the CBS team. “How a lot of journalists aren’t investigating the facts as much as they should because they’re trying to get ahead of the news story.”
Truth opens in theaters on Oct. 16.
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