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

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9780312351953: 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. 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 book 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).

An answer to Bernard Goldberg and the thunder from the right, TRUTH AND DUTY is always fast, sometimes furious, and often unexpectedly funny about the collapse of one of America's great institutions.

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From the Back Cover:

"Mary Mapes succeeds in telling her story fearlessly, humorously and compellingly."―The Dallas Morning News


A riveting play-by-play of a reporter getting and defending a story that recalls All the President's Men, Truth and Duty puts readers in the center of the "60 Minutes II" story on George W. Bush's shirking of his National Guard duty. The firestorm that followed that broadcast―a conflagration that was carefully sparked by the right and fanned by bloggers―trashed Mapes' well-respected twenty-five year producing career, caused newsman Dan Rather to resign from his anchor chair early and led to an unprecedented "internal inquiry" into the story...chaired by former Reagan attorney general Richard Thornburgh.

"...trenchant..."―Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Truth and Duty examines Bush's political roots as governor of Texas, delves into what is known about his National Guard duty―or lack of service―and sheds light on the solidity of the documents that backed up the National Guard story, even including images of the actual documents in an appendix to the book. It is peopled with a colorful cast of characters―from Karl Rove to Sumner Redstone―and moves from small-town Texas to Black Rock―CBS corporate headquarters―in New York City.

"...unflinching..."―Vanity Fair

Truth and Duty connects the dots between a corporation under fire from the federal government and the decision about what kinds of stories a news network may cover. It draws a line from reporting in the trenches to the gutting of the great American tradition of a independent media and asks whether it's possible to break important stories on a powerful sitting president.

"...illuminating..."―The Buffalo News

www.truthandduty.com

About the Author:

For twenty-five years, Mary Mapes has been an award-winning television news producer and reporter--the last fifteen of them for CBS News, primarily for The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather and 60 Minutes II. In 2004, her last year at CBS, in addition to the George W. Bush National Guard story, she broke the stories of the existence of Strom Thurmond's unacknowledged bi-racial daughter, Essie Mae Washington, and the Abu Ghraib prison tortures, for which she won a Peabody Award in 2005. She began her career at KIRO-TV in Seattle, Washington in 1979. She lives in Dallas, Texas.

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