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Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power | [Mary Mapes]

Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power

It was a great story. A true story. The kind of story any news producer would love to report, nail down, and get on the air. And that's just what Mary Mapes and her producing and reporting team did in September 2004 when Dan Rather anchored their report on President George W. Bush's dereliction of his National Guard duty for CBS News.
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Publisher's Summary

It was a great story. A true story. The kind of story any news producer would love to report, nail down, and get on the air. And that's just what Mary Mapes and her producing and reporting team did in September 2004 when Dan Rather anchored their report on President George W. Bush's dereliction of his National Guard duty for CBS News. The firestorm that followed their broadcast trashed Mapes' well-respected career, caused Rather to resign from his anchor chair a year early, and led to an unprecedented "internal inquiry" into the story, chaired by former Reagan Attorney General Richard Thornburgh.

Truth and Duty is Mapes' account of the often-surreal, always-harrowing fallout she experienced for raising questions about a powerful sitting president. It goes back to examine Bush's political roots as governor of Texas and answers questions about the solidity of the documents at the heart of the National Guard story as well as where they came from. Her audiobook takes readers not just into the newsroom where coverage decisions are made, but out into the field where the real reporting is done. Truth and Duty is peopled with a colorful and vigorous cast of characters, from Karl Rove to Sumner Redstone, Bill Burkett to Dan Rather, and moves from small-town rural Texas to the deserts of Afghanistan, from hurricane season in Florida to CBS corporate headquarters Black Rock in New York City.

Truth and Duty is a riveting account of how the public's right to know, or even to ask questions, is being attacked by an alliance of politicians, news organizations, bloggers, and corporate America. It connects the dots between the emergence of a kind of digital McCarthyism, a corporation under fire from the federal government, and the decision about what kinds of stories a news network can cover (human interest: yes; political intrigue: no).

©2005 Mary Mapes; (P)2005 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

What Members Say

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  •  
    Theodore Waterbury, VT, United States 11-21-05
    Theodore Waterbury, VT, United States 11-21-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Neither true nor dutiful"

    Mary Mapes seems to assume we all share her oddly elastic approach to truth.

    In case you never saw a typewriter, the output is visibly different from proportional typefaces in MicroSoft Word.

    Mapes pretends that even the CBS experts report that the Word document was an obvious forgery was no reason to doubt a partisan story.

    If she had not been coordinating the "story" with the Kerry campaign - as confirmed by their press spokesman - and if there was not a coordinated DNC TV ad, we might see an absence of actual malice (scienter), just grotesque bias run amok.

    In case you were wondering, President Bush had just over 2 years of points from active duty for training as a pilot - he could have honorably resigned from the Guard at any time. Al Gore was quite right in 2000 to reject this utterly groundless story.

    But then there came Mapes and Rather.

    24 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Charlotte, NC, United States 08-18-12
    Eileen Charlotte, NC, United States 08-18-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Sometimes the truth DOES set you free..."

    Reading the reviews on Audible, I am convinced that either some listeners heard an entirely different book or they listened to this with such preconceived opinions that there is no way they can hear the facts.

    CBS was targeted by the right for reporting information the right didn't want the public to know. Mary Mapes and Dan Rather paid the price, while their bosses at CBS knuckled under and either moved up or took the money and ran. Shame on them.

    Mapes had no way of knowing that people she talked with to verify information would also knuckle under and lie when the story was broadcast. I guess she learned the hard way that power talks and principles walk. She does admit in the book to placing faith in memos that couldn't be 100% verified because they were copies. That error in judgment opened the door to wild and wildly untrue attacks. The diversion caused by these attacks on the memos successfully diverted people from the REAL story that was supported by fact after fact and witness after witness- George W Bush didn't fulfill his obligation and lied about it.

    Mapes tells a compelling story of the truth, the cover-up, the exposure of the truth and the price she and a handful of others paid. Her account of life inside the storm and the fallout is absorbing. Dan Rather's book "Rather Outspoken: My Life in the News" makes an excellent companion read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura New York, NY, United States 11-02-10
    Laura New York, NY, United States 11-02-10 Member Since 2006
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    "Highly recommended"

    This was my first audiobook and after having read tens of other ones, this book still remains as one of my favorites. The author does an excellent job in telling the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hal Miami, FL, United States 11-27-05
    Hal Miami, FL, United States 11-27-05 Member Since 2005
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    "Bush's Guard time"

    The basic story is well-known: Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard to keep from going to Vietnam. Lots of people did; I was a draft-dodger myself, and many other people who are now in Washington, were too. I don't consider that disgraceful behavior, just sensible self-preservation. But it is is disgraceful to not admit that--to pretend you were a hero, when you were just a chicken, like me. The rich have always had their privileges--and still do. Some things never change.

    I just listened to Truth and Duty by Mary Mapes, the gal at CBS News who got shot down over her coverage of this story. I discovered this book by accident on audible.com. It should be better-known, but it will probably end up being just be another voice in the wilderness.

    This story shows once again the power of the Right over the Media. The news team used four documents that were, and still are, a mystery. They were supposedly written by Bush's commanding officer, who is now dead. They cannot be disproved or proved either way, because the documents were copies of documents--sometimes several times over. But the news team, and their experts, convinced themselves that the documents were real--and used them that way. This was an incredibly stupid mistake. But nobody, including the White House, ever disputed their contents, they just questioned where they came from--and no one really knew.

    CBS made a mistake by going into this mess--a big mistake, and once they realized that, they backed water furiously; they had done the unforgivable, and they ran for cover. Mapes was blamed for everything, and driven into the wilderness. The high-level, high-paid executives who were actually responsible became invisible. They never understood the story to begin with and never wanted to--after all, they were only executives.

    It's the Titanic story all over again; only in this case, the captain didn't go down with the ship--but Mary Mapes and Dan Rather did.

    13 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 11-25-05
    Linda Bethlehem, PA, USA 11-25-05
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    "Finally someone speaks out"

    Mapes writes what we have secretly suspected - that the news and nothing but the news is NOT what we are offered by the networks.

    The story isn't about the truth or verification of information detrimental to the President, but rather how Mapes and friends were hounded by the powers behind the Whitehouse. It's about how we, as Americans, are becoming afraid of asking questions.

    I gave this only 3 stars because it's abridged - I was hoping to use the audio along with the hardback, but too much was left out. I urge anyone who wants to know what really goes on to read the entire book.

    10 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenneth APO, AE, USA 11-30-05
    Kenneth APO, AE, USA 11-30-05
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    "A story of faulty, biased reporting"

    Author Mapes proves what we already know: It is really easy to lead someone in a direction they want to go. Even now, Mapes is in total denial over how the story played out, with her own carcass rotating slowly over the flames instead of her intended victim. This story is laced with a 'poor me', 'they are out to get me' attitude, which soon wears thin. The rest of the world has long since moved on, it is past time that Mary did so as well.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
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